Cooking whole fish

Ingredients

1 whole fish, about 1.5 kg cleaned weight
100 ml olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
½ lemon, in wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
½ bird’s eye chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
100 ml white wine
½ punnet grape tomatoes
125 ml water
12 black mussels, de-bearded and shells scrubbed
¼ cup torn fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.
                    
2. first, ensure all the scales have been removed from the fish. Wipe dry inside and out with paper towel. Rub with a little of the oil and fill the cavity with the herbs and lemon wedges, then seal shut with several tooth picks.

3. score the skin with a sharp knife making 45 incisions along the thickest part of the fish (not the tail end)this allows the heat to penetrate the skin and the fish to cook more evenly.

4. heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté or frying pan over lowmedium heat, and fry the garlic and chilli without colouring. add the fish and white wine.

5. cook for a further minute, add the tomatoes, water and mussels. Place in the oven for approximately 1520 minutes.

6. remove from the oven and carefully lift the fish on to a serving platter, add the parsley to the pan, stir well and pour the sauce over the fish.

HINTS AND TIPS:

* You will needcutting board, cook’s knife, large sauté pan or frying pan, spatula, wooden spoon and cup and liquid measures.

* This is just one recipe for cooking whole fishit can be grilled, steamed, baked or poachedbut the recipe is a good basic start.

* Ingredients can be added or left out of the recipe, depending on taste. The mussels in this recipe are optional; however, they not only add an additional protein source, but will also create great flavour in the
sauce itself.

* It is a growing trend in good restaurants to use a meat probe (thermometer) when cooking fish and other meats to ensure that the item is cooked perfectly every time. Even though many years of experience will tell you when it is ready, a meat probe is still flavoured when dealing with the ever-increasing expense of fish and other meats and the desire to not waste it by overcooking. For most fish, an internal temperature of 4555ºC is ideal.

* The most important tip to consider with this recipe is the freshness and quality of the fish. See Fish in Really Useful Information.

* A very common practice for cooking whole fish is wrapping it in foil with a bunch of aromatic herbs and vegetables. The fish is either baked in the oven or cooked on a barbecue grill plate.

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