Snapper With Brown Rice, Avocado, and Cheese Recipe

Snapper With Brown Rice, Avocado, and Cheese Recipe

Seared red snapper served on top of rice and beans with cheese and avocado [Photographs: Yasmin Fahr]

Spiced snapper is seared and served on top of brown rice mixed with black beans and tomatillos. Creamy avocado and queso fresco finish of the dish for a healthy and hearty meal that's ready in under an hour.

Note: I placed the cheese on top after cooking, but if you really want to melt it, mix it in with the tomatillos and beans. Also, make sure to serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Why this recipe works:

  • Searing the fish ensures crispy skin, while it finishes steaming at the end to stay hot and moist.
  • Tomatillos add a crunchy texture and tart flavor to the dish.
  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skin-on red snapper filets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 tomatillos, husked and quartered
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced queso fresco
  • 2 limes, sliced, for serving


  1. 1.

    Mix 1 teaspoon of cumin, cayenne and 1 teaspoon of coriander together with salt and pepper. Pat fish dry and season on all sides.

  2. 2.

    Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the fish, skin-side down. Cook until the skin is crisp and browned, about 3 minutes (work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding). Flip the fish, cook until the spices are sealed into the fish and a small layer of white has formed on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  3. 3.

    Add onions and Serrano pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice and cook until coated in fat and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and scrape up the brown bits on the pan. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Season with salt.Cover and cook until the rice is almost cooked through, about 35 minutes (about 5 minutes less than the package instructions). Stir in the black beans and tomatillos, then place the fish, skin-side up, on top (it’s okay if they overlap a bit). Cover and cook until the fish has cooked through, about 4 minutes more.

  4. 4.

    Remove and serve with the avocado, queso fresco and limes on the side.