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Red Snapper with Island Sauce - Pescado con Mojo Isleño


Red Snapper with Island Sauce - Pescado con Mojo Isleño

Red Snapper with Island Sauce - Pescado con Mojo Isleño

Hector Rodriguez
When you travel to the islands, you may encounter this classic dish in one form or another, as seafood is quite abundant in the area. Traditionally, the fish of choice is red snapper, but any good flaky white fish will work in this recipe. Also, it’s customary to fry a whole cleaned fish with the head still attached. However, for convenience, I like to use fish fillets mainly to avoid picking out bones while eating this delicacy and some people might be squeamish about the fish head.

Cook’s Notes:
* If you don’t have adobo seasoning, use salt and pepper or your favorite seafood seasoning.
* In place of red snapper try yellow tail snapper, Atlantic croaker, black sea bass, branzino, flounder, rainbow smelt, tilapia, rainbow trout, weakfish (sea trout), or whiting.
* Instead of frying the fish try a healthier method such as grilling on a cedar plank or baking.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


  • For the Island Sauce (Mojo Isleño)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 12 Spanish olives
  • 2 ounce jar of pimento slices
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion (peeled and cut into strips)
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper (cleaned, seeded, and cut into strips)
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the Fish
  • 1 pound Red snapper fillets
  • Adobo seasoning to taste
  • Oil for frying


  1. Combine olive oil, water, capers, olives, pimento slices, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, onion slices, bell pepper slices, garlic, salt, and bay leaf in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the island sauce to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium low. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, rinse the red snapper filets and then pat dry.
  4. Season the fish with adobo seasoning to taste.
  5. Place enough oil in a frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan to 1 inch. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Pan-fry the fish until done – 4 to 5 minutes per side. The flesh will turn opaque and flake easily and the internal temperature should be 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Remove the fish from the pan and place on serving a serving plate. Then ladle the island sauce over the top of the fish.
Serve with your favorite rice dish and tostones. Slices of avocado are nice, too.

Red snapper is a reef fish commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico, the southeastern Atlantic, and the Caribbean. Commercially and recreationally speaking, red snapper is a highly valued fish for food consumption. Because of it's popularity, red snapper is over fished and on the Seafood Watch List. If you’re concerned about sustainability, choose an alternative fish listed above in the Cook’s Notes.

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