Family Tree: Maori Snapper shares the Lutjanidae family with Red Emperor, Goldband Snapper, Rosy Snapper and Mangrove Jack. These fish are also commonly referred to as Maori Bream, Maori Sea Bream or Maori Seaperch. These are typically a solitary fish, and are occasionally seen over outer-reef slopes.
Appearance: Maori Snapper are readily identified by the prominent pattern of narrow wavy bright blue lines that decorate the face, head and cheeks like the tattooing on the face of a traditional Maori warrior. Reaching a length of 730 mm the large adults also fight like a warrior and are very popular as a first-rate table fish.
On the Table: The fillets on this highly prized fish, which are a yellowish creamy colour, almost like butter, become a pearly white when cooked. The flesh is firm and flavoursome, and compares favourably to the extremely valued Coral Trout.
Economically priced, Maori Snapper is definitely a fish worth trying. They are a versatile fish with a low oil content. Their flavour and texture when gently pan-fried with butter and topped with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is hard to beat. They are also ideal for the BBQ, grilling or steaming, or if you want to be a little bit adventurous, try Maori Snapper raw with soy sauce and Wasabi; perfect sushi and sashimi.
To check if your fillet of Maori Snapper is cooked, simply insert a fork into the thickest portion of the fillet. The fork should slide in smoothly with no resistance.