whole baked snapper

whole baked snapper~ aka what to do when you get a whole fish

When my hubby first started fishing, neither of us had a clue what to do with a whole fish. So, we did what everyone else would have done: Go to You Tube. It’s there that I learned how to “clean” aka gut n scale a fish. We even bought a fish scaler, which, for the record was terrible.. sure it got the scales off- but they flew off everywhere. For me, the best way to scale a fish is to wrap the tail in a cloth and grasp the tail in one hand, and a knife in the other scrape down the side of the fish at a 45 degree angle. (I did it in the front yard, by the way.)

Now, a little background information: Five years ago, my husband hated fish. He loves to fish, but hated any type of fish, including shellfish.  I know, weird. 😉

So… he finally tried Yellowfin tuna and loved it. He tried Mahi tacos and loved it.

But, he was still always grossed out by any sort of cooking of a whole fish.He’d say, “Man, I don’t know how people can eat a whole fish like that.”

Until his Bahamas trip. I’m not sure what happened, all he said was it was life- changing and he requested a whole roasted fish for dinner for the following night. I was pretty doubtful he’d want to eat it once he saw the fish looking at him on the platter, so I made “a back up” of spaghetti pie. Which ended up untouched.

As I stated before, I “cleaned the fish” which is really easy.

1) Using kitchen shears, cut off the fins from the fish (leave the tail intact)

2) wrap the tail in a cloth and scrape a sharp knife along the surface of the fish to remove the scales.

3) slice into the belly of the fish from head to tail and remove the innards. (there really isn’t too much in there)

4) rinse well under cold water, and check for remaining scales

There you go that’s it. So, now you have this:

Now, I rubbed mine with lime juice and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. (Fish species  is a yellow-eye snapper)

Now, cut several scores in the skin on each side. And, dice up some aromatics. I used fresh dill, onions, garlic… mmm

Stuff each score with a bit of softened butter and the herb mixture.

I sliced up some orange bell pepper and placed some inside and surrounding the fish. I would have also done green pepper and yellow onion, but I was out & the last thing I felt like doing was going to the store.

Bake the fish at 350 for 20-25 minutes for a 1.5 pound fish. You’ll know it’s done when the fish feels firm and the flesh is opaque and flakes.

The result? The flesh separates from the bone like a dream… and, this is what was left after myself, my daughter and hubby feasted:

To me, it looks like the carcass from a fish on a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Remember those?

With this recipe a lot of boundaries were broken, and a lot of new ties were made- not only did my husband have a chance to connect with new and old friends, but he was able to visit a place he’s always wanted to go. He had an experience that brought him closer to what really matters in life and, he broadened his culinary views.  Although I missed him very much while he was away… I am thrilled that he took this trip.

I apologize that there’s not an actual recipe to print.  It’s kind of hard, since all fish are different to give an exact measurement of ingredients. But, I’m confidant you’ll be able to “eyeball” it. 😉

He also brought back some other delicacies of the sea… conch, lobster, tuna…silky snapper.

More to come on those soon.



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