09 Jun2010


Bookmark this recipe if you love eating fish. This is one of the best fish recipes I have made in the past year. A day before we headed out to the beach, several balikbayan boxes arrived from Sister containing a month or more worth of leisure reading with dozens and dozens of issues of various food magazines, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Forbes, etc. Also included in the BBB’s were a couple of cookbooks, one of them, “Aquavit” I brought to the beach. Marcus Samuelsson is an Ethiopian born chef, who grew up in Sweden from the age of three. Aquavit is a highly acclaimed New York restaurant. Many of the recipes in the cookbook sound great, but they are difficult to execute in the Philippines due to the limited availability of some key ingredients. However, one recipe seemed readily adaptable, and I had many of the ingredients on that particular beach trip, so I was hopeful I would find the right kind of fish… On the first try, this yielded an amazing WINNER, a solid 9/10 on the Marketman scale… a keeper of a recipe!


The original recipe entitled “Roasted Red Snapper with Dill Sauce” photographed as a visual stunner, yet the recipe seemed simple enough to do. The credits definitely go to Mr. Samuelsson, though I have to say I changed nearly half the ingredients as I had to make do with what we had in our limited larder. Instead of red snapper, I substituted several small red lapu-lapu. Rather than a more involved dill sauce, I simply made a dip of mayonnaise with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, chopped dill, and some of the slow-roasted garlic, salt and pepper which turned out to be a delicious foil for the baked fish. The rest of the recipe is described below.


Buy very fresh fish, either lapu-lapu (grouper) or maya-maya (snapper). Choose the roughly 500 gram size if you want a whole fish per individual serving. This plates up rather impressively. Clean the guts of the fish through its mouth, do not make an incision in the stomach area. Remove scales and tips of fins. Wash well and dry with paper towels. Season the fish stomach cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff some thinly sliced lemon rounds and dill into the stomach cavity.


Cut two slits on a diagonal on each side of each fish. Stuff this slit with lemon slices, dill and bay leaves. Season the outside of the fish with salt and pepper. Randomness is part of the fun, this isn’t a stuck up kind of dish. :)


Take two whole bulbs of garlic and slice off the “top” of the bulb, slightly exposing the cloves of garlic within. Peel and chop several (say 8-10) local red onions or shallots. Heat up a fish pan, add some olive oil, add the garlic cut side down and let this sizzle for a minute or two. Add the chopped shallots and keep pan over medium high heat. Add the fish to the pan, moving aside the garlic as necessary (turn it over so that the root end is now touching the pan). I put the shallots in for too long before adding the fish, so my shallots burned a bit, the only misstep in process. After about 3 minutes, carefully flip the fish(es) over and press down with a spatula. Turn the garlic bulbs over. Add some siling mahaba, leeks, lemongrass, whole peeled shallots, some roasted red peppers if you have them and let this saute for a minute or two more.


Stick this all into a pre-heated 400F oven for some 14-18 minutes (shorter for the 500g) sized fish. Take the pan out of the oven add about 3 tablespoons of butter and maybe a little lemon juice and move the fish to individual serving plates. Add some of the vegetables and spoon some of the sauce onto the fish.


The plate was FRAGRANT. So incredibly appetizing. I never thought aroma could beat out visual appeal, but in this case the nose was singing. The meat was perfectly cooked, delicate but firm. You had to push aside some of the aromatics and bits of dill, but overall this was just a spectacular dish. Mrs. MM and I finished one fish each and had a bit of the third even! Mash some of the softened, sweetened garlic and add it to the dill sauce and all of this just seemed so much better than the sum of the ingredients. Excellent.




  1. kittel says:

    wow..thats all i can say..i have to bookmark this..but, im not so sure where i could get lapu-lapu this fresh in bacolod..would any other kind of fish work aside from lapu-lapu or maya-maya?

    Jun 9, 2010 | 11:56 am


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  3. Teresa says:

    MM, this is really looking so good! Surely a musty try in the kitchen, sooner than later.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 11:58 am

  4. Elmo says:

    Wow! Looks good MM! Do you think I can do this on a cast iron pan?

    Jun 9, 2010 | 12:00 pm

  5. Gay says:

    This is an inspiring dish, MM. I’m going to give this a try!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 1:05 pm

  6. Fred says:

    look at that clean, handsome oven. that looks like it cooks a miracle everytime. Love lapu lapu, fresh caught and broiled with just rock salt. Ill try this recipe if i get my hands on some fresh lapu lapu. thanks mm!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  7. Lex says:

    Looks great and worth a try. Pity that Marcus Samuelsson is no longer with Aquavit.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 1:13 pm

  8. Lex says:

    Another typo “dry with paper towels” instead of “try with paper towels” :-)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 1:19 pm

  9. tamale8888 says:

    Now I know what to hit the market for and cook next week! Thanks, MM!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 1:25 pm

  10. Dee says:

    Wow, looks really good! MM, if I remember correctly – the wife of the owner (or chef?) of Aquavit is a Filipina :)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 2:21 pm

  11. whackerZ says:

    Below is a link to a PDF copy of the cookbook Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson


    MM, if this is not allowed then please delete this post with my apologies.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 2:27 pm

  12. jquint says:

    If you watch Top Chef Masters, Marcus is currently in the top three going into the finale. His food does look good.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 2:33 pm

  13. chiqui says:

    i will try this

    Jun 9, 2010 | 3:11 pm

  14. millet says:

    wow, must try this real soon! i bet this dish alone is worth the freight and handling costs of the BBB :-)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 3:16 pm

  15. Lex says:

    Whackerz, the link does not lead anywhere except to the site of rapidshare.com

    Jun 9, 2010 | 3:18 pm

  16. Anne says:

    @Lex, I was able to download the book thru Whackerz’ link. You just have to click the “Free User” to start. Cheers!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 3:39 pm

  17. joyce says:

    i can just imagine how fragrant that is with the dill and lemon,yumm. will keep this in reference when i get the chance to buy really fresh snapper

    Jun 9, 2010 | 3:59 pm

  18. sc says:

    ohhhhh- sooo yummy! :)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 4:22 pm

  19. Lex says:

    Thanks Anne, I got it!!!!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 5:31 pm

  20. Mary Kim says:

    I want that for dinner!^ ^

    Jun 9, 2010 | 7:56 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    Lex, thanks for that, typo and several others have been edited.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 8:29 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Fred, that oven is in pristine condition. The one in Manila, used nearly 4x a week, is a disaster… :)

    Jun 9, 2010 | 8:30 pm

  23. Lemons and Anchovies (Jean) says:

    What beautiful colors! This certainly beats the grilled whole snapper I made a few nights ago.

    Jun 9, 2010 | 10:55 pm

  24. NidaFe Ortego says:

    “the nose was singing” is so poetically convincing: this is definitely a must try!

    Jun 9, 2010 | 11:08 pm

  25. Lilibeth says:

    Yes, Marketman, I will definitely bookmark this recipe because I love eating fish. It tastes good and healthy too!

    Jun 10, 2010 | 1:40 am

  26. joey says:

    Bookmarked! We are always looking for new fish recipes and C is a big lapu-lapu fan. My fish pan doesn’t go into the oven though because it’s still a cheapy version ;) Will look for another pan that will do…or just transfer! Thanks for this recipe! Looks like a stunner indeed!

    Jun 10, 2010 | 9:45 am

  27. Ley says:

    Yey, must try!

    Jun 10, 2010 | 10:14 am

  28. Mom-Friday says:

    Recipe saved. Will definitely try this!

    Jun 10, 2010 | 4:06 pm

  29. corrine says:

    That’s a gorgeous dish! Thanks. Where can I buy a fish pan like that? :)

    Jun 10, 2010 | 7:49 pm

  30. Marketfan says:

    corrine, try making MM truly mad and you might get that fish pan as an award..ha ha ..just kidding and couldn’t resist..

    MM, what ingredients in the original recipe did you omit and what substitutes were used for them?

    Jun 10, 2010 | 9:12 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    Marketfan, I am traveling now so I can’t get to the cookbook, but I took lots of liberties with the dill sauce. Also for the main dish I substituted lapu-lapu for snapper. And there were a few other aromatics I didn’t have. corrine, copper fish pans from most good kitchen stores like Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, etc. More reasonable fishpans at most large household goods departments of department stores.

    Jun 11, 2010 | 2:46 am

  32. gus hansen says:

    Finally tried this. Followed the recipe except–i used a regular toaster! So I had to use a non-stick pan first before transferring everything to a toaster pan. Worked great! The fish was moist and perfectly cooked. Wowed the girlfriend! :) Will definitely do again.

    Oct 9, 2010 | 8:07 pm

  33. ray says:

    this is just amazing. didn’t realize that theres other variation that you can do wilth Lapu-lapu aside from steam, fried, escabeche. thanks for the tip.

    Feb 19, 2011 | 10:44 am


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