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Red Snapper Livornese

Fragrant and flavorful with olives, capers and a light tomato sauce, Red Snapper Livornese is a seafood lover’s dream and may even make a few converts.

Red Snapper Livornese

A wonderfully pungent dish from Livorno on the western coast of Tuscany, Red Snapper Livornese, was a mainstay on my Father’s menu and one of the first recipes I ever posted to The Italian Chef over 15 years ago. This past weekend I saw some nice Red Snapper filets at the fish market which made me crave Livornese and I thought it was time to revisit this classic recipe. Also, I never was particularly fond of the photo on the post so this was a good opportunity to take some new pictures to share with you (I would like to think I have gotten better at taking food pictures over the years).

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas Eve Dinner? Probably, but Red Snapper Livornese is the main course for my Christmas Eve fish dinner every year. We spend Christmas Eve with my wife, Sandy’s family. They are Portuguese and their tradition is to have octopus, something I can’t eat due to allergies. So, my first Christmas Eve dinner at my mother in-laws, I made a platter of Red Snapper Livornese to serve alongside the octopus. It was a big hit, and is now expected of me and we have been enjoying this hybrid Portuguese/Italian Christmas Eve fish dinner ever since.

This dish could also be one component in a traditional Feast of The Seven Fishes blowout, if you want some more ideas to go along with it, please check out my cousin Sal’s Christmas Eve Dinner menu [3].

red snapper livornese

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Red Snapper Livornese

Red Snapper Livornese Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 12 gaetta olives or oil cured black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 4 Red Snapper fillets
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan large enough to hold the snapper fillets, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the olives and capers and continue cooking until onion is translucent 3-5 minutes.
  3. Lay the red snapper fillets skin side down in the pan, and add the marinara sauce and white wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake in the oven until fish is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer fish to serving plates, spoon sauce over fish and serve.