Instead of starting with a recipe and then shopping with a list of ingredients, here’s a thrilling way to cook: You buy what’s freshest and then go home and figure out what to do with it. Try it. If you start to learn what to do with your unexpected purchase without looking up a recipe, your food will taste better — and you’ll live forever, because your food will always be fresh. You usually just need a little basic knowledge, some confidence, and a few ingredients you probably already have.
With this page, you can add fish to your list of foods you know how to handle without thinking. The recipe is really more than a recipe. It’s a simple, timeless lesson in the way fish responds to heat. It also happens to be a good way to get dinner on the table in about nine minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly brush an area a little bigger than the piece of fish with half of the softened butter. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper, holding your hand about 5 inches away to focus the seasonings. Liberally brush the top with the rest of the softened butter and season with some of the tandoori spice.
Place the fish buttered-side up on the buttered baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, until the fish just starts to flake. While the fish is cooking, stir together the remaining tandoori spice, the olive oil, and lemon juice. Transfer the snapper fillet to a plate and drizzle the tandoori oil over and around the fish.