The skinny is that Jon caught a beautiful 3+ pound 16 ⅜” Lesser Amberjack fish the other night and I had to figure out how to cook it with only a few ingredients we had in the fridge. Searching for recipes online came up with images that didn’t look appealing to me, so scratched them all and I went with my instincts and prepared something I would order when traveling in Italy.
We’re going to go over the simple ingredients, the nitty gritty prep for gutting and cleaning the fish, and the super easy baking instructions on serving the perfect local aquatic vertebrate meal to those you love.
Ready guys? Here we go!
Recipe for “Whole Baked Fish With NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes”
The tools you will need:
Plastic or glass cutting board
Second cutting board (can be plastic, glass or wood)
Small, very sharp knife
Plastic garbage bag
What ingredients you will need:
3-4 lb Whole Amberjack, or similar fish. The fresher the better!!!
½ Spanish onion (you can substitute with a white onion or a couple medium-sized shallots)
2 ripe lemons (I personally like the smaller, thinner-skinned citrus as they tend to be more flavorful in cooking)
¼ cup (or a small hand full) of fresh oregano leaves
½-1 pint NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes (I love tomatoes and believe in using these these red beauties liberally when cooking!)
Preheat the oven by turning it on to 425F. I’ll wait while you do that…
OK, next is cleaning and gutting the fish. I know, it sounds gross and it is a little bit, but don’t worry, this will be quick and easy. (For those truly squeamish, just purchase a fish from your local market and they will come pre-gutted for your convenience.)
- Place the fish in a clean sink, turn the water on cold and wash the fish under the running water. What you want to do here is get off the slime from both sides and any bodily fluids coming out of it’s mouth or other orifices simply with your hands while rising with the fresh, cold, water.
- Next, set the fish on a plastic or glass cutting board (avoid using a wood cutting board as the fish smell will be hard to get out) and very carefully take your small knife and insert it into the anus near the tail. Don’t insert knife too deep into the fish as you don’t want to puncture the entrails, but just insert deep enough to penetrate the meat to have access to the abdominal cavity. Draw the knife toward the head, slicing up to the base of the gills.
- Put the fish back in the sink, with your fingers spread the abdominal cavity open so you can see the entrails, reach in and pull them out, and toss them in your garbage bag.
- Now rinse the inside and outside of the fish with lots of fresh, cold water and set the cleaned fish on the cutting board.
You’re done cleaning the fish! Good job! No need to remove the scales, head, tail, or fins for this recipe as we’re keeping this authentic and easy here 🙂
Now that that’s done, grab your other cutting board and cut your onion into ¼” thick strips, the ripe lemons into ¼” slices (should be 11-12 pieces), NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes in ½, and separate your fresh oregano from the stems (I leave the really small leaves on the stems).
Tear two pieces of aluminum foil to be a few inches longer than the fish. Lay one piece of foil out on the counter top. Put the onions down on the foil, then place 7-8 of the lemon slices on top of the onions in the shape of your fish, now sprinkle your oregano on top of the lemons (save a few leaves for the end). Like this:
Place your fish down on top of the fresh ingredients, set the remaining lemon slices and oregano leaves on top of the fish, then add those beautiful little Glorys Tomatoes over the top of everything. It should look like this:
Put your second piece of foil over the top and seal by folding each of the four sides together. Place in baking dish and put in preheated oven at 425F for 45 minutes.
Finish and Serve:
During this 45 minutes make any of your favorite side dishes to accompany it. I made whole grain brown rice and bruschetta, but pasta, steamed vegetables, garlic bread, and many more dishes would be great! Let me know if you try this recipe out in the comments below.