South Beach Inspiration-Pan Seared Whole Snapper with Watermelon Feta Salad

He was laying it on thick. The guilt trip didn't work.
He was laying it on thick. The guilt trip didn’t work.

I have been clicking my heels together for the past few days chanting, “There’s no place like South Beach. There’s no place like South Beach.” But, alas, I’m remain in the snowy, slushy remnants of the mid-Atlantic. This past weekend was spent in Miami for a dear friend’s bachelorette fiesta, and all I can think about is the bright blue sky, sizzling temps and sandy beaches. Since my trusty ruby reds have failed me I figured I’d bring the flavors of sun and summer to last night’s dinner table.

While in SoBe, the majority of our meals were fish, veggie and fruit focused (minus one late-night Cuban food excursion) and we savored every second of it! I love cooking a whole fish. It is EASY and economical, but I find people become intimidated and squeamish. I can understand if its round, sad eyes freak you out and have you second guessing your decision. Just have the fish guy chop off its head. Follow the simple steps below and you can’t go wrong. The watermelon feta salad is my all time FAVORITE summery side. The sweet, salty flavors with a touch of citrusy lime and peppery greens are to die for. If this meal doesn’t have you sashaying around the house like your strutting down Collins Ave. on spring break, you have no soul my friend.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…


Serves 2 hungry folks


  • 1 1/2 lb. red snapper, gutted and scaled
  • 1 lime, half thinly sliced and half juiced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil


  • 1 individual sized watermelon, sometimes called Belle or Betsey watermelons
  • 4 oz feta
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1 small bunch watercress (can sub. arugula or omit completely)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Watermelon Salad Ingredients
Watermelon Salad Ingredients: Mint, Lime, Feta, Watermelon, Watercress


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Rinse fish, pat dry with paper towels. Cut 3-4 slits on each side. Sprinkle juice from 1/2 lime then S&P all over and inside the fish. Insert lime slices and red onion into slits and belly cavity. Marinate for 15 minutes.

    Sliced, stuffed and ready for the pan.
    Sliced, stuffed and ready for the pan.
  3. While the snapper is marinating, cube watermelon and feta. Rinse and dry watercress and mint. Combine watermelon, feta, watercress and mint with lime juice and pepper.

    My dear watermelon feta salad.
    My dear watermelon feta salad.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the corn starch over each side of the fish.
  5. Sear snapper on one side until the fish can easily be flipped without ripping off its skin, about 5 minutes. Flip fish and put the pan into the preheated oven until the snapper is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. I love serving the fish right out of the cast iron skillet with extra lime wedges for a rustic yet impressive look.

    Served with a northern Spanish white from Ganeta Txakolina vineyards.
    Served with a northern Spanish white from Ganeta Txakolina vineyards.

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