Life can get pretty busy at times and during the week I can often feel uninspired about food. We will often have the same thing most nights of the week, whether it is salad and chicken or soup. Occasionally we will buy some pieces of fish from Costco or Wholefoods and bake them in the oven. Nothing fancy, nothing terribly exciting.

I decided a few nights ago that I was going to shake things up… just a little. We would still have salad but instead of the pieces of fish we buy I thought we could buy a whole fish and stuff it… Just to go crazy!

We ended up buying a whole fish, I can’t remember what kind, from our local Asian supermarket. They have a great range of fresh seafood and meat and really cheap compared to the big supermarkets too. When I say whole, it had been scaled and gutted and for some reason the tail fins had also been removed.

I decided just to stuff it with things I already had around the house. So after seasoning the inside and outside of the fish with salt and pepper I stuffed it. Inside I put 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 3 thin slices of ginger, 4 thai chillies sliced in half length ways. Lastly I just drizzled the fish all over with some olive oil to stop the skin sticking.

I decided I would wrap it up completely in foil and hope it would steam through. So I made sure it was tightly sealed, wrapped up like a present before I put it in the oven.

Into a 400F degree oven it went for 30 minutes and I held my breath. This was the first time I had ever cooked fish like this. Even though I have watched both friends and family do this hundreds of times before it was so scary for me. While I was holding my breath I threw together a simple salad to have on the side… Just lettuce, cucumber and tomato.

When the fish came out it certainly smelt great. Unfortunately the olive oil didn’t work and it stuck to the foil and we lost a lot of the skin that way. J. and I sat down at the table with the fish between us and though… let’s just eat straight off the bones. The important thing I guess is that J. really liked it, in fact he ate most of it. I was a bit disappointed, the flavors hadn’t really gone into the fish so much and it seemed a bit bland to me. It was cooked well and not dry at all. The meat came away from the bones easily which is a great sign.

For my first try at whole fish I don’t think it was too bad. I do think next time I need to use a recipe rather than just make it up as I go. I also think I should cut diagonally through the outside of the fish on both sides a couple of times for faster cooking. We did this but only after it had been in the oven for 20 minutes because I had forgotten. A weeknight meal gone crazy (for us anyway), will have to try again next time I am feeling adventurous. It is back to uninspired weeknight meals for now…

Oh by the way, the salad was tasty also.

  1. Karen says:

    Good for you trying a whole fish. If I’m worried about food sticking I use nonstick foil…it is terrific.

  2. Preveena says:

    In kerala we make a version of steamed fish called ‘meen pollichathu’ with a lovely fragant masala. Try that recipe if you like indian spices.

  3. Great to hear you are experimenting. The more you do, the easier it will get. I love to cook fish this way. Cooking a fish inside its skin will keep the juices in, but also the flavors out. So it’s a good idea to add some salt and lemon or lime juice while you are eating. Or good extra virgin olive oil, as is done along the Italian coasts. It also helps to buy a flavorful fish such as sea bass. The skin doesn’t crunch up if you cook in foil, so I never eat it anyway. You could also choose to cook fish fillets in foil. The fish will take on more of the other flavors, but it will be less succulent (especially if the filleting has been done more than a few hours before cooking).
    This is my favorite recipe for fish fillet in foil:
    Good luck and keep experimenting!

  4. vyvacious says:

    At least your fish was cooked well! You seem to have a knack for that so I think the whole seasoning thing will come easily to you now 🙂 I always love me some smoked paprika and maybe in your case some ponzu or soy sauce based marinade since what you stuffed your fish with seems to be hinting towards an Asian-style cuisine.

  5. zanzanaglob says:

    Don’t be afraid, you have started in the right way with the fish, go on! 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to hear of your fish, I use partchment to prevent sticking. Look for my fish dish for the holidays on odetochefguy….keep playing with your food

  7. Gary Lum says:

    Looks good. I love cooking fish whole, especially in a wok with a little oil, ginger, garlic, shallots and sesame oil and then served with some soy sauce on a bed of rice. #GoodTimes 🙂

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