Pacific red snapper (Lutjanus peru) has a common Spanish name called Huachinango del Pacifico or simply huachinango. It is the member of Lutjanidae family or snapper which can be found mostly in pargos, Mexico. In fact, there are around 67 species in the genus Lutjanus which 9 of them used to be in the Pacific while the rest can be spotted at Atlantic Ocean and the Mexican waters.
Characteristic of Pacific red snapper
Snapper is a very popular fish that often being sold commercially as a whole or fillet. It is mature when they are reach length around 39 inches, however common adult size can reach 60 inches, although some of them can also reach up to 100 inches. This fish feed on plants and other animals such as squid and shrimp.
There are many varieties of snapper with Pacific red snapper as one of the most popular seafood to be consumed by many people. They generally has sweet and a bit mild nutty flavor with deep red to pink skin and firm white flesh. They texture is very moist and juicy so they can responds well to almost many cooking method. Although the most popular form to cook red snapper is by grilling, baking, and frying them.
Pacific red snapper characteristic can be seen from their oval bodies with reddish silvery appearance. The fish have pointed anal fin with large protractile mouth and 3 spines plus 8 rays. And above their lateral line, you can spot that they have some oblique scale. In addition, the Juvenile one has dark spot right under the dorsal fin rear. You can find the Pacific snappers close to the caves or over rocky bottoms with the depth about up to 300 feet.
Watch out, the many fish often called as red snapper but in fact they are not. Many people often mistakenly called or labeled the rock fish as red snapper. It is because the rock fish is legal to be called as red snapper in particular areas including California, Oregon, and Washington. But, you need to know that there is no real red snapper in the United State West Coast. And the true red snapper is can only be found in the waters of Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.
Pacific red snapper on sale
The Pacific red snapper on sale with high price, it is because they are in high market demand. They are also considered as important export import commodity. However, just like we already mentioned before, many other fish is often marketed as red snapper but they are not the real thing. That’s why when you want to order or buy red snapper, you need to check for the sources and it is better to buy the snapper with the skin still on or attached thus you can easily check their characteristic and differentiate the real snapper with the one which is not.
The red snapper is also important game fish due to many people fishing them. They are best to be caught with live bait and it is better to catch them using natural bait instead of artificial bait. You can use herring or even squid as the red snapper baits. Furthermore, it is better to catch them during spring or summer seasons when the water is calm and the stock of red snapper is in abundant amount. So it is a high chance for you to get good quality of red snapper.
How to buy Pacific red snapper?
The Pacific red snapper can be purchased directly from the fishermen or on the boats especially if you want to order for fresh snapper. You can also buy a whole fresh snapper from local fishers to be cut into fillets later at home. Another place worth to try when buying snapper is the local fishmonger. Usually they get the red snapper directly from the fishers and there is good chance to get fresh snapper. Although you also still need to check the freshness of the snapper because they might sell old snapper that previously frozen.
When the fishers caught red snapper, the fish will be quickly frozen to lock the freshness. After that, they are being delivered to wholesalers or retailers. So, it might need about several days before the fish really arrive on those places and it is mean the fish you will get on the fishmonger is not always the freshest fish straight out of the ocean. If you really want to have the freshest fish then visit the fishers.
Check all these criteria before you buy Pacific red snapper fish:
- Check for the overall appearance of the red snapper including their eyes and fins. The eyes should appear bright and not sunken with fresh attached fins.
- Check for the scales and the skin, they should appear bright and the color is not dull. The red snapper has deep red to pink skin with a bit silvery shades.
- Check for the firmness of the flesh by touch and press the texture. If the flesh bounced back when you press it down then they are certainty still in good condition.
- Smell the snapper fish and it needs to have smell like the fresh ocean. Avoid buying it if you smell weird odor.
More importantly, you need to ask about the sustainability of the fishing method when the fishers catch them. It is important for the fishmonger to know where they are sourced the fish from. And when you buy Pacific red snapper online, you also need to ask about the sustainability.
When you visit the local fishmonger, you can purchase a whole red snapper and ask them to fillet the fish if you cannot prepare and clean the fish as fillets on your own. It is better to find the first source to buy snapper than buying from grocery stores because you cannot guarantee the freshness of the red snapper fish and whether they are truly the Pacific red snapper or the market just labeled other fish as snapper. Be careful when buying red snapper and always get the fish from trusted red snapper supplier.