When I was in Belize a couple of years ago, we stayed in a house overlooking the ocean. When we came back from sight seeing one day we saw a local woman fishing at the end of our deck. After we introduced ourselves, she told us she was trying to catch snappers and that dusk was the best time for them to bite. She ended up catching five fish, and gave one to us. With the limited ingredients we had in the house, we developed this spice rub of fennel seeds, paprika, and garlic powder. Fennel seed has a delicate flavor; light and sweet and is a great compliment to fish. Paprika has a full, sweet pepper flavor without the heat and the garlic powder when roasted adds a mellow, nutty flavor where regular garlic may be too sharp.
I love cooking whole fish, there is something festive about baking a fish to eat and share. I also love eating the skin, it’s a great contrast to the flakiness of the snapper. I have made this dish many times since Belize and is always delicious. Snapper is easy to find in grocery stores. Typically snapper is either from New Zealand or Mexico and is pink. You can easily substitute snapper with cod or talapia. You can also use fillets of fish instead of a whole one if you don’t want to deal with removing the fish bones.