Roasted Whole Fish

Roasted Whole Fish

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Continuing with the them of Cucina Pigra (lazy cooking) I have another outstanding recipe for those of you who, like me, would like to eat something delicious without spending much time on the preparation. For fish there are at least a couple of options. You can get a fish steak of some sort and grill it. This is ridiculously easy if you have a gas grill. Just fire the thing up to preheat and use a wire brush to clean off the remainder of the last cooking session and you’re set to go. This doesn’t work nearly as well if either you don’t have a gas grill or you want something different from one of those firm fleshed grilling fish like swordfish. A great alternative is a whole fish. Again it is really easy. For those of you that have an aversion to a fish complete with head, tail and fins I can only say “get over it”. What? Did you think that those fish steaks didn’t come from an animal? The advantage of the whole fish is that all of those components that you don’t eat, head, fins, skin and bones contribute to the flavor of the part that you do eat while cooking it. And of course, it’s a lot easier.

So as you can see the ingredients are, as usual, minimal. There’s a fish which without it’s innards provides a nice pocket to fill with other things. You can use a lot of different stuff but for this mediterranean type I’m going with lemon, garlic, olive oil and rosemary plus, of course, salt and pepper. Lest I forget, preheat the oven to 450. Oil the fish inside and out with extra virgin oil – nothing fancy, supermarket stuff will do. Sprinkle some salt and pepper everywhere that the oil went. Slice a lemon into reasonably thin slices and put that along with some rosemary in the fish cavity. Put the whole thing on an unoiled baking sheet.

I use one that is non-stick which makes the cleanup a little easier but it’s not necessary. Now plop the fish on the sheet and stick it in the oven. I used a branzino (hey it’s an italian blog) but striped bass or lots of other fish would work equally well. My one pound fish was perfectly done in 15 minutes. I started with twelve and checked it and put it back in for another three. When checking just use a fork near the backbone to see if the flesh is no longer translucent; that’s when it’s done.

I don’t like the skin unless it’s crispy so I just peel it off with a fork. It’s really easy to do. Then the meat just kind of pops off of the bones and onto a plate. The exposed skeleton just lifts right out (cut through it near the tail) and now you get the other side of the fish. The skin on the bottom will stick to the pan and makes the process easier. If you didn’t use non-stick then just soak it in water for a little while and the cleanup is easy. Sprinkle a little olive oil (the better stuff if you have it), salt and pepper and dig in.  Since I was going to have a hot oven anyway I took the opportunity to roast some potatoes to go with it. I steamed some asparagus while the fish cooked. A true Cucina Pigra dish and indeed the whole meal!  Does anyone out there have some lazy cooking dishes that pass the test of easy preparation and great taste? Leave a comment and let us (me and my readers) know.

2 Responses to “Roasted Whole Fish”

  1. Jamie P. Says:

    Grazi mille! This looks delizioso! Would the grappa come before or after? 🙂

  2. Joe Says:

    Ma certamente la grappa segue il pesce. Raccomandarei il vermentino con il pesce.

    But certainly the grappa follows the fish. I would recommend vermentino with the fish.


    BTW, Jamie – I added a video to the FIAT post.

Leave a Reply