You’re out on the town for a luxurious dinner date, and after perusing the menu you settle on the whole roast white fish, because that is something you could never make at home, right? Wrong! Many people are intimidated by working with a whole fish, but the reality is, roasting or grilling the fish whole is possibly the easiest method. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to an impressive (and healthy!) restaurant style meal at home.
There are a few key factors to look for when shopping for fish. When when choosing a whole fish, the eyes should always be clear, under side of gills bright red or pink in color, and flesh firm and springy to the touch- never mushy. Fresh fish should never smell ‘fishy’ or off-putting, it should have a briny scent like the sea. For this recipe, we are looking for a smallish meaty white fish like Branzino (European Sea Bass), snapper, or sea bream. When in doubt, ask the fish monger (the guy / lady behind the fish counter who knows all), for what the best recommendation would be.
To make for easy preparation, it is really important to request that the fish be scaled (scales are inedible, and go everywhere!), and eviscerated (fancy word for ‘gutted’). They will also trim away any sharp fins, and remove the head and tip of the tail, if you prefer.
When you get your cleaned fish home, be sure to rinse the whole fish under cool water and pat it dry inside and out with a paper towel before seasoning and cooking. The serving size for this recipe is one ¾ lb – 1 lb. fish per person.
Whole Roasted Branzino with Blood Orange and Chives
- 2, ¾-1lb whole Branzino, or other similar white fish, cleaned and scales removed
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 blood orange, sliced
- 1 bunch whole fresh chives
- 1 clove garlic, sliced paper thin
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the kosher salt, paprika, and a heft pinch of ground black pepper into a small prep bowl, and mix together with a fork.
2. Rinse the fish under cool water, and pat completely dry with a paper towel. Lay the fish onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil all over the outside of the fish, and inside the body cavites. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the fish, both inside and outside. Gently place a few slices of orange inside the cavities of the fish, along with the garlic and 8-10 fresh chive sprigs each.
3. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven on a centered rack. Roast for 16 minutes, gently flipping the fish over halfway through cooking (8 minutes each side). If desired, finish cooking the fish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to crisp the skin. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with any remaining slices of blood orange, and freshly chopped chives.
Shiso Fresh is chef Jessica Roy of Shiso Kitchen in Boston, contributing editor of ‘Your Personal Chef’ for The Lowell Sun where you can find these and more recipes weekly. Follow along on Social Media via @ShisoFresh and @ShisoKitchen