I don’t like to fish, the slimy bait, the fishing line that always seems to get tangled, and the painful waiting. Did I mention the waiting? There is also the fact that if I actually caught a fish and I would have to gut the poor thing. I believe my issue with fishing stems back to early childhood, when I was taken fishing for the first time up to a beautiful area in Northern California called Lake Shasta. My father got me all set up with the fishing pole, instructions on the reel and then he put some bacon on the hook for the bait. I didn’t realize fish liked bacon…anyway, as I was waiting for some poor fish to take the bait, a sudden jerk caught my attention and the tip of my pole bent over so far it almost touched the water. As I was screaming, not sure exactly what to do next, help arrived and we reeled in my prized catch, a snapping turtle. I guess fish aren’t the only ones that like bacon. For the next two days I kept that turtle in a caged in area using large branches from nearby pine trees. I felt a bond with that turtle and knew that certainly this was my new pet. Sadly, I was the only one disillusioned by this idea. On the day of our departure, we had to release Myrtle back into the wild, it was a tearful parting. So maybe that is the beginning of my deep psychological reason for not liking to fish. But I’m thinking it’s still the waiting thing.
Aside from my issues of actually going “fishing” I do like fish. But in all honesty, it has taken me awhile to figure out ways to cook fish in ways that #1 don’t stink up the house and #2 see #1.
This recipe for whole roasted fish is simple, delicious and doesn’t stink up the house. The presentation is also something pretty special, there will be much applause when you bring this to the table. -s
Whole Roasted Fish with Herbs
1 (2 1/2-pound) fish, such as snapper or bass, scaled, gutted and gills removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 lemon slices
2 fresh bay leaves
1 bundle assorted fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, marjoram and parsley, plus some extra to lay the fish on while baking
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/2-inch deep on each side of the fish. Salt and olive oil the fish generously.
Season the inside of the fish with salt and olive oil. Place 4 lemon slices, the bay leaves, a bundle of the mixed herbs and 2 of the garlic cloves inside the body cavity.
Line a sheet tray with parchment and arrange the remaining assorted herbs, lemon slices and garlic on the top and bottom of the fish. Secure with cooking twine. Place the fish in the center of the sheet tray.
Fold the aluminum foil up around the sides of the fish to create a sort of baking dish. Add the white wine and place in the preheated oven and roast until the fish is just cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Recipe Adapted from Anne Burrell