Go Back
Poisson Gros Sel, a red snapper cooked in a court-bouillon with coarse salt, is a typical Haitian dish that is quite easy to make. Grab the recipe now. | tchakayiti.com

Haitian poisson gros sel (rock salt red snapper) cooked two ways

The traditional poisson gross el recipe calls for a more elaborate marinade than the one I used. I chose to go that route for the sake of simplicity. I wanted to retain the natural taste of the fish without overpowering it. Also, please note that the grilled version, the wine and the caramelized shallots are my own twist on this Haitian staple.

Cuisine Haitian
Keyword caribbean cuisine, caribbean food, haitian food, seafood
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes


For the marinade

  • Red Snapper
  • Rock Salt
  • Lime juice
  • Sliced lime
  • 1 piment bouc

For the court-bouillon

  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • pickled shallots
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 bunch of chopped parsley
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • black pepper to taste

For the caramelized shallots

  • Sliced shallot
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 splash of red wine
  • 1-2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 chopped garlic heads
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Clean and scale the fish
  2. Rinse with water
  3. Cut slashes (about 3) in the fish to allow the seasoning to penetrate
  4. In a mortar and pestle, mash the piment bouc with the salt, add some lime juice
  5. Coat the fish with that mixture making sure to add more lime juice as needed. Remember to coat inside the fish as well
  6. Put some lime slices inside and outside the fish
  7. Let the fish marinate for at least three (3) hours, turning it frequently and drizzling it with the seasoning liquid from time to time

For the traditional poisson gros sel

  1. Remove the lime slices from the marinated fish
  2. Place the fish in a shallow pot
  3. Add a tablespoon of oil and cover with water
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes
  5. Remove the fish from the liquid and prepare the court-bouillon

For the court-bouillon

  1. Use the water that cooked the fish
  2. Add the wine, some of the onions, bell pepper, parsley, thyme and a whole piment bouc
  3. Simmer and reduce
  4. Once your court-bouillon is ready, add the remaining chopped onions, bell pepper, parsley and pickled shallots. You don’t want to cook them down at this point as you want to leave them fresh

For the caramelized shallots

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet
  2. Add the garlic, shallots and sugar and cook until the shallots turn brown

  3. At this point, add the red wine
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let caramelize
  5. Set aside

For the grilled poisson gros sel

  1. Remove the lime slices from the marinated fish
  2. Coat a cast iron grill with oil and heat it up
  3. Once the cast iron grill is hot, put the whole fish and grill it on both sides for about five (5) minutes each until fully cooked
  4. Top the fish with the caramelized shallots

For serving

  1. Pour the court-bouillon atop both the traditional poisson gros sel and the grilled one

  2. Serve hot