Whole Jerk Fish

Tiffany Derry

Tiffany Derry Concepts, Dallas

While jerk chicken holds a special place in Tiffany Derry’s heart, she turns to this recipe when craving something a little different. Derry advises treating this dish like an edible choose-your-own-adventure story: start with a whole fish (you’ll get more flavor from the bones than just working with fillets), skip the traditional dried herbs for fresh (they’ll season quickly without overpowering the fish), and from there, the world is your oyster (or rather, your redfish or snapper, in this case). As Derry says, “The beautiful thing about jerk recipes is that every household will have a different version.”


For the fish:

  • 1 (3-pound) redfish or red snapper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Jerk marinade:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup packed basil 
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 limes, one juiced, one cut into wedges
  • 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
  • A few sprigs of mint 
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon allspice 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • Olive oil to taste


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Score the fish down to the bone so that the jerk seasoning will flavor all the way through. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper.

Make the jerk marinade: in a mortar and pestle or food processor, combine all of the marinade ingredients except for the olive oil. Pulse a few times to make a paste. Rub the jerk marinade all over the fish. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not marinade for over 1 hour.

Make the whole jerk fish: in a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, lay the fish on its side and cook until lightly charred and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges and a drizzle of olive oil.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.


4 servings