Last week we had a goal to save money by not going grocery shopping for new items, but to use up what was already in our house. This was obviously a challenge designed just for me since I have been teaching myself to cook over the last two years and the grocery store is my “Happy Place“. During this week’s challenge, however, I do admit to purchasing those few potted herb plants mentioned in my last post at a farmers market. Eh, technical glitch, whatever. Let’s keep moving on, shall we?
Well on Monday we wanted fresh meat so after work we decided to go night fishing off a point near a local marina. 5 minutes in my pole breaks grrrrrrr. I spray on an extra layer of Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent (don’t lecture me on the home made natural crap – it doesn’t deter the bugs here for 2 seconds) and settle in with a 1/2 pole and frozen shrimp hooked on as bait. It’s been years since I went fishing with my dad as a kid, and some things like tying a knot with fishing line and coming to peace while listening to waves lap up against the shore slowly came back.
Jon’s over yonder experimenting with different weights and leader lines, and pretty soon he reels in a beautiful 3+ pound 16 ⅜” Lesser Ambrejack fish. Of course his “MacGyver” mad skills figured out what the fish will bite! I name the fish “Dinner” and we eventually head home.
Now, I’ve never cooked a whole fish myself, but when traveling abroad it’s the only way I order it. Not only so that I taste the full flavor of the local fish, it’s also the best way to test the chef’s skills and the most authentic way to experience the true nature of culinary culture and conversation. I mean, when you don’t speak the language and the waiter doesn’t speak yours, trying to describe and understand WHAT fish you are getting and how it’s prepared is a fun way to engage and learn on your journey. It almost always makes for a great travel story as well!
Which reminds me of the priest in Cinque Terre I shared a three-hour-meal with… a tale for another day perhaps.
When we get home I go over the few fresh ingredients we have left in the fridge and hit up Google and Pinterest on approximate baking times for a whole fish. Both sites had a whole range of answers and recipes that didn’t look appealing to me, so scratched them all and I went with my instincts and prepared something I would order in Italy.
I’ve decided to share with you the recipe made up on the spot that night. 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!
Catch Part 2 of this blog post “Whole Baked Amberjack Fish with NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes” for the full recipe.