It’s that time of year that all my friends back home in Tampa are out on the boat reeling in some good eats! I’m home sick right now so I thought this post was appropriate. Whole roasted fish also reminds me of my mom and how she would deep fry a whole fish and set it in the middle of the table and we would all pick at it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because that’s the Filipino way! My mouth is watering thinking about it!
The first time I made this I forgot to as the fish monger at the grocery store to clean and scale it for me so when I got home I was mortified I had to do it all myself for the first time. I screamed for Scott to help me but I knew I had to learn on my own sometime. Baptism by fire! It is not fun trying to scale a fish. I used the back of a spoon or the back of a knife and working from the tail to the head I ran the back of the knife up the fish and scales went flying! You want to apply medium pressure while you’re doing this. Not too hard because you don’t want to damage the flesh. When you run your hand over the fish you’ll be able to feel if you missed any scales. Nothing is worse than eating scales. Don’t forget to remove the gills and insides too. That would be the second worse thing you can do. I definitely recommend doing this on your own at least once! You’ll appreciate your food even more!
Here’s what you’ll need once you’ve gotten your act together:
1-2 whole fish cleaned and scales removed (I used Thai snapper, but you can you any whole white fish you prefer like grouper, bass, whatever you like)
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon thinly sliced
1 shallot thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
8 or more sprigs of fresh thyme, remove thyme leaves from sprigs
1/4 cup of thinly sliced fennel bulb
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the fish on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut three large slits on both sides of the fish. Season the fish on both sides with olive oil and salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix all the herbs, garlic and shallots together. Stuff the 3 slits on both sides of the fish with the mixture along with one sliced lemon per slit. Squeeze any remaining lemon juice on top of the fish.
Roast the fish for 20 minutes until flesh looks opaque and the fish is nice and flaky when touched with a fork. Remove from oven. You can serve the fish whole or remove the flesh from the back bone using a knife. I served mine whole and we picked at it along side with my Eddie V’s Crab Fried Rice.