Western Mains – Baked Red Snapper

Western - Baked Red Snapper 001 edited re-sized

My motto has always been to cook and eat healthy. Chicken and Fish come straight to mind. I realise that other than fish fingers or fish and chips, many people are not keen on fish at all. Besides being unfamiliar with the looks of a whole fish or the taste of fish, many are very concerned about fish bones.

I believe that our family’s taste buds can be primed early by more exposure to different styles of fish dishes. Steamed fish is less appealing than fried fish to many palates, unless you are living where fresh fish is easily available. Baking the fish somehow does the trick!

With this recipe, you serve not only a healthy delicious protein cooked in much less time than roasting a meat dish but there’s the added bonus of a side dish of tasty vegetables.

Don’t let your insecurity about how to select quality seafood keep you from cooking fish. You may find a fishmonger who is unhappy about you handling, poking and smelling their fish or seafood. Build up your confidence by watching Becky Selengut as she gives an excellent explanation in her video clip posted in http://youtu.be/D5zdLHWkCXw

Some comments about Ingredients

  • Fresh Red Snapper. Available from both wet and supermarkets. The fishmonger will scale and clean it. Purchase a large one to serve 4 people. It should weigh about 500 to 600 gms after it has been cleaned and gutted.
  • Capsicums. Any colour or a combination of colours may be used. Red and yellow capsicums are sweeter than the green ones.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. The bottle in the photo is one off a supermarket shelf, not from a gourmet store. There are so many brands and types of balsamic vinegar. The price range is great as well and like wine, an aged balsamic means a higher price tag.
  • Dill (fresh or dried), chopped Italian or English parlsey. Use one of these.

Preparation

 

STEP 1. Fresh Red Snapper should be scaled, gutted and cleaned. Pat dry with paper towels. Make some diagonal slits of both sides of fish.

STEP 2. Place the seasoning for fish in a small dish and in a large bowl, combine the vegetables and seasoning which are to be placed to create a bed for the seasoned fish in the roasting pan.

COOKING

STEP 3. Put some seasoned lemon slices into cavity of fish and some into the slits of the fish.

STEP 4. Lightly grease the roasting pan. Pour the seasoned bed of vegetables from the large bowl into pan. Spread them out to form a bed on which the prepared fish will rest. Add 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth. Place Fish on top of vegetables. Drizzle 1 to 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil . Bake uncovered for about 20 to 25 mins.

Hint. How to tell if your whole fish is cooked? Once the pupils turn white and pop up high above the rest of the fish head, the fish is cooked. 

STEP 5. Lift cooked fish and vegetables onto a large serving platter. Pour whatever pan juices are left in the pan over the whole fish. Then, crack some freshly ground pepper over fish and serve immediately. Fish is best served hot as it smells great and it is still moist when eaten.

RECIPE

Serves 4 people accompanied with a bowl of tossed green salad and some crusty bread.

Oven Temperature  is 210C (hot air) or 230C ( normal)

Time: 20 to 23 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 red snapper (500 to 600 gms after it has been gutted and cleaned)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning for Fish

  • 1/2 of a whole lemon, sliced and then halved
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp seas salt
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Few dashes of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Bed of Vegetables and Seasoning

  •  4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 of a whole large onion, peeled and thinly wedged
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped English parsley
  • 1 large capsicum ( any colour, remove core and seed. Cut into batons)
  • 2 celery sticks, veins removed and sliced into thin batons
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Few dashes of freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Fresh Red Snapper should be scaled, gutted and cleaned. Pat dry with paper towels. Make some diagonal slits into the thicker part of fish on both sides. This helps the fish to cook more evenly and distributes seasoning.

2. Place the seasoning for fish in a small dish and in a large bowl, combine the vegetables and seasoning which are to be placed to create a bed for the seasoned fish in the roasting pan.

3. Put some seasoned lemon slices into cavity of fish and some into the slits of the fish.

4. Lightly grease the roasting pan. Pour the seasoned bed of vegetables from the large bowl into pan. Spread them out to form a bed on which the prepared fish will rest. Add 1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth. Place Fish on top of vegetables. Drizzle 1 to 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil . Bake uncovered for about 20 to 25 mins.

5. Lift cooked fish and vegetables onto a large serving platter. Pour whatever pan juices are left in the pan over the whole fish. Then, crack some freshly ground pepper over fish and serve immediately. Fish is best served hot.

Serving Suggestions

This baked whole fish goes well with mashed potatoes or toasted artisan breads and an olive oil dip.

Soup? 

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Click here)

Dessert?

1. Ginger poached pears will make an excellent make-ahead dessert. (Click here).

2. Crepes (Click here)

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