Vinnie was over in a flash when I told him I was cooking a whole snapper. Outfitted in his amazing Manurewa Returned Serviceman’s Fishing Club woolens, his first step was to shoot for the eye and devour it.

I dug out and delighted in the cheek flesh then followed suit on the other eye and found it hard to swallow, backing out on the experience unceremoniously.  This is something to work on.

Not surprisingly the ingredients and parts of the prep are similar to poulet basquaise. In this instance the capsicum, onion, wine, stock sauce is simmered up on the stovetop in the roasting pan itself, before the prepped fish and parboiled potatoes are added. Browning and simmering veges on the stovetop is a massive hassle and I cant see why this wouldn’t be done in a saucepan seperately.

Knowing how well the liberal dose of cayenne goes into the poulet basquaise I slipped it in here too. Vinnie – who has cooked a hell of a lot more fish than I – cautioned on this point as it can soak through and become a predominant flavour. Noted, but then there’s a quantity of chilli in Charleston Gumbo and it really makes it. Further to this argument I’m going to plug the ‘Larb Snapper’ from Mekong Nua in Kingsland. Probably the best fish Ive ever had. So hot! So hot I melted like a popsicle in summer and the staff sent out cold moist towels to relieve the suffering. Anyway the dash of cayenne was just right in this instance. It was present in the sauce, and over the surface of the fish, but didn’t take over.

Also just right was the amount of liquid, the done-ness and deliciousness of the potatoes, and the crispyness of the fish. Some of the best (cooked) fish Ive ever had.