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Recipe Corner: “Snappy” North Carolina Red Snapper with Avocado Salsa

This seasonal summer recipe was created by WakeMed executive chef Adam C. Smith and takes advantage of one of our coast’s most plentiful and heart healthy fishes. Flavored with cayenne
pepper, the heat of the “snappy” dish can be easily adjusted by adding more or less cayenne.

View a printable version of this recipe.


Seasoning Rub for Snapper:

  • 3 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Avocado Salsa:

  • 2 medium size ripe avocados, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon rough chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Gently mix the ingredients for the avocado salsa together in a small mixing bowl, set in the refrigerator to chill while cooking the snapper.
  2. Mix all of the seasoning rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Season the snapper by putting the rub on both sides.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot (but not smoking).
  5. Place snapper fillets, skin side down, in skillet, pressing on fish with a spatula for 1 minute to prevent curling. Cook until golden brown, typically about 5 minutes.
  6. Flip, and cook until opaque throughout,for two to three minutes more.
  7. Serve with a small scoop of salsa on top. Enjoy!

About Adam Smith, Executive Chef, WakeMed

Chef Adam officially joined the WakeMed team as Executive Chef on January 14, 2019. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC and is a single dad to three wonderful children: 5-year-old twin girls, Carlie and Mckenzie, and 8-year-old son, Cameron. When Chef Adam isn’t cooking, he enjoys fishing, yard work, and building things.