Think, Eat, Be Healthy

Jerk Fish-A Simple Recipe

Jerk fish

Jerk fish is an extremely easy one pan recipe for the oven or grill that is both delicious and healthy.

About this simple jerk fish recipe

Jerk fish can be made with either whole fish or fish filets or steaks. This is an extremely easy recipe with minimal preparation and clean-up required. The final results are spectacular.

I like to use whatever local whole fish are available when I am at the fish store or market. Whole fish, with the skin still on, are easiest to keep moist and tender while full of flavor. Filets or steaks will work if that is what you can get or are most comfortable with, just be careful not to overcook until dry.

This is a gluten-free and grain-free recipe. Whole fish are suitable for healthy whole food diets. In addition to the omega-3 fatty acids, complete protein and other nutrients from the fish, the jerk spice adds a hefty dose of potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds to this recipe.

jerk spice

Making the jerk spice fresh in a mortar and pestle will infuse the fish with more flavor than using a pre-made spice mix from the store.

Ingredients for jerk fish

Whole fish or fish filets for servings needed                                           2-3 tablespoons jerk spice, preferably freshly made

1 lemon, juice and fruit                                                                      1/2 small red onion, 1/2-3/4-inch pieces

olive oil, to lightly coat fish inside and out

whole fish

Look for clear eyes, firm flesh and clean odor when choosing whole fish.


1. Make the jerk spice

2. Lightly rub or spray the entire fish, inside and out, with olive oil

3. Rub the jerk spice evenly and heavily, inside and out, over the entire fish

4. Squeeze lemon juice over the outside of the fish

5. Stuff the body cavity of the fish with the onion and cut up lemon

6. Oven roast at 350-degrees of grill until the fish just flakes easily and cleanly at the thickest part of the backbone.

7. Remove the fish from the heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

yellowtail snapper

This yellowtail snapper has been rubbed with jerk spice and is ready to stuff and to go into the oven.

Notes on jerk fish

Whole fish should be scaled before seasoning or cooking. Most stores that sell whole fish do this before displaying them. Cooking fish with the scales still on can cause a lot of frustration and mess when serving and eating them.

Inserting a fork or spatula into the junction of the ribs and spine and carefully loosening and sliding the flesh downwards off the ribs, then upwards towards the dorsal fin is the best way to serve whole fish. There will usually still be some pin bones in the flesh that will need to be picked out. Flip the fish over and repeat the same process for the other side.

Whole fish are much easier to serve when cooked properly. Over-cooked fish will be more difficult to remove from the ribs, spine and fins. Overcooking will also make it harder to get larger serving-size pieces off the jerk fish.

Put the bones, head, tail and fins from the fish into a pot with some vegetables scraps and water to make a fish stock. Leftover fish can be converted into a fish-burger or croquette for another meal or used in a soup or chowder.

like-share blog insert 1