Spiced roasted snapper wings with ranch dressing

3:10 pm on 22 December 2017
Spiced roasted snapper wings with ranch dressing

Spiced roasted snapper wings with ranch dressing Photo: Josh Griggs

Spiced roasted snapper wings with ranch dressing

Technically these guys are probably ‘snapper throats’, but with a couple of their fins still attached, we have always called them ‘wings’. Hand on heart they contain the tastiest and sweetest flesh of practically any fish species. As is often the case it’s all about being close to the bone. It’s a messy job eating these delicious morsels; there are no small bones to contend with, just beautiful little nooks and crannies to extract these edible treasures from. A little tip . . . it pays to thoroughly scale the whole fish first before removing the fillets then the throats (wings) as it’s a real pain to scale the individual throats. You should do this anyway, as it’s way easier to fillet a fish that has been scaled, and snapper tastes so much better cooked with the skin on!

The spice mix will make enough for 1–1.5 kg of wings in total, so just make it up and use a liberal amount, depending on how many wings you have. Store any leftover spice mix in an airtight container.

3 tablespoons roasted, ground cumin seeds

1½ tablespoons sweet smoked paprika

3 tablespoons sumac

snapper wings (however many you’ve got!)

finely grated lemon zest

olive oil

flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

ranch dressing, to serve

lemon wedges, to serve


Place the cumin seeds, paprika and sumac in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside until required.

Heat up your barbecue, or preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Take the snapper wings and, with a sharp knife, split them down the centre to create what I call two wings. It you have some kitchen shears handy, cut off and discard any large fins.

Place the wings in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest, douse in some olive oil, then add liberal amounts of the spice mix followed by some sea salt and pepper. Use your hands to rub the ingredients together until fully incorporated.

Either cook on the barbecue or place in a roasting dish and cook for 15–20 minutes in the oven. Serve with the ranch dressing for dipping, lemon wedges and plenty of kitchen paper or napkins for wiping up!

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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