Baked Triggerfish [Lemon, Butter & Asparagus]

Oven-roasted triggerfish fillets cooked in butter and served alongside lemon and asparagus. This underrated fish dinner provides an incredible mouthful of fresh seafood.

Baked Triggerfish

Triggerfish is a type of fish that you can grill, pan-fry or oven bake. Triggerfish are often called grey triggerfish because they have a light gray color on the top and white underneath. They’re also known as queen triggerfish because they’re larger than other types of triggerfish.

If you want to cook up some delicious seafood for dinner tonight, try out this recipe for oven-baked triggerfish with asparagus and lemon butter sauce. It’s easy to make and tastes great!

oven baked triggerfish capers lemon asparagus

What is Triggerfish?

Triggerfish is a fish that has over 40 different species, with the largest growing to as much as 3.3 feet long, which is the stone triggerfish. It also has teeth, which makes it a bit of a “snappy” catch. Triggerfish are often compared to white crab because they have a similar sweet taste. It also has a strong fishy and fatty flavor.


Triggerfish – when making triggerfish, you will need to have fresh triggerfish. You have a couple of options. One of them is to go to your local fishmonger or supermarket to get it. Your other option is to go fishing and catch the fish yourself. You just need to know where to go fishing. In the States, you may have some luck in Floridian waters.

You can also get it in Caribbean waters, Southern Angola, Cape Verde, and the east coast. You can also find it in Canada and Massachusetts, amongst other places around the globe. It’s mainly a saltwater fish, so you will need to look for such water bodies if you want any chance at catching triggerfish. Initially, it comes from the Atlantic ocean and also from the Mediterranean.

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Triggerfish Substitutes

You may not always find triggerfish in butcheries or supermarkets. It can be tricky to locate. As such, it is essential to know what you can use in its place. It helps to start with sufficient knowledge of what the triggerfish brings in terms of texture and taste. This way, you get to make the right substitution.

To make a good substitution, keep in mind the weight and size of the fish being used in the recipe. Other types of white fish are a great way to get around not having triggerfish. You can use tilapia, cod, haddock, and sea bass in place of triggerfish.

Herb & Garnish Ideas

Triggerfish go along with different herbs and garnishes. The way that you choose to cook it is a big determining factor. Triggerfish goes well with parsley, mainly because parsley is great at making room for other ingredients to shine in a dish. You can also pair triggerfish with asparagus. Other herbs that go well with triggerfish are marjoram, basil, dill, and oregano. You may also use chives, both in the dish and also as garnishing.

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Side Dish Ideas

There are a couple of ways that you can serve triggerfish.
You can serve triggerfish with a fresh garden salad. You can also serve it with lemon dill orzo pasta. You can also have it with sauteed kale greens or with green beans and cherry tomatoes.

How to Clean Triggerfish

Cleaning fish generally requires some skill. Triggerfish is no different. If anything, it is notoriously harder to clean. The skin and scales are callous, almost leather. Using a very sharp knife, find you are in and pierce. This is usually located just above the back fin. Slice down the fish, going round it. There’s a sweet spot that has fewer scales and softer skin. Pierce through the skin, making sure that you ride the bones. When you hit the spine, ride over it and then push the knife through to the back.

Wedge the knife in and slice down the fish, going round it. Turn your knife around when you get to the gills, with the blade now facing the opposite direction. Then cut around them so that the filet doesn’t include the cheek meat or the head. You can use a pair of kitchen shears for this. They will help you get in under the skin and successfully remove the skin.

How to Fillet Triggerfish

To fillet a triggerfish, start with a clean fish and open the sides, just like when you clean the fish. Then move on by locating your way in, which is often by the gill plate. Push back the gill and prepare to slice diagonally. Drive through and cut through the fish. Ordinarily, a filet blade should do the trick. But not in this case. Use a boning blade instead. Slide it into the fish, blade side towards the eye. Then cut up and over the shoulder.

Next, flip the fish over and do the same thing on the other side. Place the knife just at the end of where the fillet knife stopped, go over the bone, twist the knife, cut upward, and pull. You may need to hole the fish down because the skin is so tough, and it may not take kindly to being cut like that.

Now that the head and body are somewhat separated, you can slide your fillet knife in from the side, going over the bones, over the backbone, down to the tail, and out the backside. Turn the fish over and do the same before you altogether remove the file from the body. Leaving the skin on is perfect, especially if you will want to be grilling the fish. The skin acts similarly to tin foil.

oven baked triggerfish capers lemon asparagus 5
oven baked triggerfish capers lemon asparagus

Baked Triggerfish

Oven-roasted triggerfish fillets cooked in butter and served alongside lemon and asparagus. This underrated fish dinner provides an incredible mouthful of fresh seafood.
4.87 from 15 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 4 fillets triggerfish
  • 2 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp parsley roughly chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp capers optional

Side Dish

  • 20 spears asparagus


  • Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
  • Line baking tray with aluminum foil. Place triggerish fillets on foil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter and add lemon juice and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Coat triggerish fillets in butter mixture. Add lemon slices and capers on top, and tent in foil.
  • Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, until fish is flakey.


Is Triggerfish Safe to Eat?

Edibility depends on the species of triggerfish. Grey triggerish is edible, while titan triggerish may be toxic.

Is Triggerfish High in Mercury?

While some varieties of saltwater fish can be high in mercury, triggerfish is not.

Is It Better to Fry or Bake White Fish?

Baking fish helps you preserve more vitamins and nutrients found in fish, so naturally, this is the better choice.