Pan Fried Red Snapper in Garlic Sauce Recipe (Chillo al Ajillo)

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Thamar Van Est Modified: March 23, 2022
Pan Fried Red Snapper in Garlic Sauce Recipe (Chillo al Ajillo)

How To Make Pan Fried Red Snapper in Garlic Sauce (Chillo al Ajillo)

This simple rendition of a Puerto Rican dish makes a pan fried red snapper rubbed with citrus-garlic marinade and served with zesty garlic-vinegar sauce.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 7 minutes
Marinate Time: 20 minutes
Total: 42 minutes



For Marinade:

  • 4clovesgarlic,crushed
  • ¾tspsalt
  • ½tspblack pepper,ground
  • ½tsporegano,dried
  • 1tspolive oil,extra virgin
  • 4red snapper fillets,skin on
  • 1lime juice

For Garlic Sauce:

  • ¼cupolive oil,extra virgin
  • 3tbspunsalted butter
  • 4clovesgarlic,crushed
  • 1tbspwhite vinegar
  • 2tsplime juice,freshly squeezed from about half a lime
  • ½tspsalt
  • pinchblack pepper,ground
  • 1tbspcilantro,chopped, optional

For Fish:

  • ½cupall purpose flour,sifted, for dredging
  • 2cupsvegetable oil,for frying


Garlic Sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil, butter, and garlic together over medium heat. When the mixture begins to simmer, add the vinegar and lime juice to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the salt and pepper to the sauce and remove it from the stove. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro before transferring the sauce to a serving bowl.


  1. Score the skin of the red snapper with ¼-inch diagonal cuts.

  2. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, mash or pulse the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil until they form a paste.

  3. Squeeze a thin layer of lime juice onto both sides of each red snapper fillet. Divide the garlic paste equally among the fillets, then spread it onto both sides of each fillet. Allow the fish to marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

  4. In a 14-inch, tall-sided skillet or pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

  5. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour. Shake off any excess flour so all that remains is a light dusting.

  6. Once the oil begins to ripple in the pan, or when it reaches 365 degrees F, gently slide two snapper fillets into the hot oil, skin side down.

  7. Fry the fillets for 3 minutes before carefully flipping to the other side. Fry for an additional 4 minutes, or until the flesh turns opaque. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining fillets.

  8. Once the fillets have been fried, transfer them to a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Store the fried fish in a warm oven, set to 170 degrees F, while frying the remaining pieces.

  9. Serve snapper while hot with the garlic sauce on the side or spooned on top of the fish.


  • Calories: 1487.89kcal
  • Fat: 138.43g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.46g
  • Trans Fat: 1.21g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 94.11g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 22.11g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.15g
  • Fiber: 1.06g
  • Sugar: 0.36g
  • Protein: 47.03g
  • Cholesterol: 103.56mg
  • Sodium: 869.83mg
  • Calcium: 97.28mg
  • Potassium: 992.15mg
  • Iron: 1.52mg
  • Vitamin A: 144.25µg
  • Vitamin C: 9.50mg
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