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Old 07-21-2017, 01:57 AM   #1
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Cooking a whole fish

I'm feeling adventurous. I've never had a whole fish cooked (head, tail, skin, etc.). I'd like to try to do this in my kitchen sometime. I'm comfy with gutting and prepping the fish. Maybe a little shaky on scaling, but that's what YouTube is for.
I think my preferred methods will be the oven or my grill.

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions for types of fish and cooking methods for cooking a whole fish. I'm very curious to hear what you all have to say.

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Old 07-21-2017, 03:51 AM   #2
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@ Inchrisin,

I am uncertain of your location and daily catch season however, here is a basic way in which I prepare most of my whole fish varieties ( oven ) ..

After your fish monger or you clean prepare the fish for cooking and rinsing and patting dry:

Pre heat your oven ..

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
I use Evoo / either Tarragona, Spanish or Italian and gently rub into the outer part of the fish ..
2 Cloves minced garlic
Perhaps you would like to add: Some jumbo prawns
Fresh parsley minced or fresh dill and fronds minced ..
White wine
1 red ripened tomato minced which gives the sauce a lovely color and texture
1 Shallot and 1 leek minced
*** I add the prawns when the fish is almost ready ( so they do not over bake or over cook in oven ) ..

Cook the fish for approx 15 - 25 minutes depending on the type and size of the fish you are preparing, can be less or more time ..

Sole takes alot less time than a monkfish for example.


Grilling is another option. Do same except do not add the tomato or wine and pre heat your grill and broil grill for approx 10 mins + for a tiny fish and obviously 20 - 30 minutes + perhaps for a large fish -- again depending on fish type and size.

If you had more details, it would be easier to give you better advice.

Have a nice weekend.
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Old 07-21-2017, 05:52 AM   #3
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First of all, how big is the fish you wish to cook - you need to know the weight. Then, what sort of fish is it? Strong flavours - with all due respect to Sagittarius, some large fish need subtle flavoring (whole sea bass, whole salmon, turbot, fresh cod, salt cod, etc, so you have to do your homework, and decide which result you're looking for). According to the type of fish, the flavouring you decide on, brush the fish with either melted butter or a mild olive oil (cold pressed), and according to where you come from (i.e. Eastern Mediterean or other) prepare your flavourings. You can then cook the fish either in an oven or over charcoal. But don't forget the local flavors, the environment and the company invited to share the fish.

The best large fish I ever tasted was at a beach restaurant at Anzio, and it was a huge sea bass. There was enough for 12 people, and the seasoning was minimal as it had been caught not more than an hour before, and cooked over charcoal. The company was congenial, the day was hot, and after lunch we all splashed into the sea and afterwards we drank ropey white wine - but the day was magical. Now THAT, to me, is one way of cooking a large fish!


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Old 07-21-2017, 06:59 AM   #4
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I remember Mom baking a whole large walleye up at the lake many years ago. She stuffed it with lemon slices and butter, then baked. Dad turned up his nose at it, his method was to fry the fillets, and he'd never heard of baked. It was nice and moist, tasty.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:31 AM   #5
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In my area, we have a lot of Caribbean influence. Many cultures fry whole fish, especially "red" snapper. I'm not a fan and I would never consider preparing a 20# black grouper in this fashion. Way too much for two.
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Old 07-21-2017, 07:38 AM   #6
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I've done this a number of times with trout, but that's been the extent of my experience. We don't see a lot of whole fish in the markets around here.
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:26 AM   #7
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To me, a large fish is one that weighs in at 2Kg. I would still keep the flavourings subtle, and, by preference, either oven bake, steam or barbecue, depending the fish, sometimes with a crust and sometimes, as mentioned, barbecued. I would want a fish that makes a statement, as it were, but I would never put tomatoes on it, as I would want the pièce de resistance to have delicate flavouring so that the flavour of the fish shone through.

Now, this is a comment on Sagittaris's way of doing it. I don't want fish wars, and I have to say that I respect his/her ways of doing things, but this is a culinary forum in which we all may have a say, with proper respect one to another. My contribution is made bearing this in mind.

P.S. my first ever job, and one I did for years, was as a Diplomat with the British Embassy in Rome, and I learned a thing or two about peace.


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Old 07-21-2017, 11:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
I remember Mom baking a whole large walleye up at the lake many years ago. She stuffed it with lemon slices and butter, then baked. Dad turned up his nose at it, his method was to fry the fillets, and he'd never heard of baked. It was nice and moist, tasty.
First off, ask your fish monger to make sure it has had the scales removed. He should also gut it for you. Dawgs mom had the right idea. Lemon slices, a sprig or two of Thyme, or Basil. Salt and pepper. You don't want to use any heavy strong seasonings that will overpower the taste of the fish.

If your fishmonger doesn't have a whole fish, you may have to place an order a day earlier. Ask him what the local daily catch usually is. He may also have some printed recipes for you. It never hurts to ask.

Cooking it over coals will require special equipment. Unless you wrap it in oiled foil. To place it right on the grill, is only asking for disaster. It will stick to the grill. I would suggest baking it in the oven like Dawgs mom did. or you can do it this way.

If you want to do a presentation, You could put a slice of lemon in each slice cut on the fish. And if you have any lemon left over, stuff it in the mouth.

The most important thing is to remember, you want the flavoring inside the fish. Not all on the skin. Most people do not like fish skin.
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Old 07-22-2017, 02:57 AM   #9
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Thank you for posting the Video ..


Very lovely of course depending on the type of fish you are going to bake in the oven.
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Old 07-22-2017, 08:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inchrisin View Post
I'm feeling adventurous. I've never had a whole fish cooked (head, tail, skin, etc.). I'd like to try to do this in my kitchen sometime. I'm comfy with gutting and prepping the fish. Maybe a little shaky on scaling, but that's what YouTube is for.
I think my preferred methods will be the oven or my grill.

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions for types of fish and cooking methods for cooking a whole fish. I'm very curious to hear what you all have to say.
My Great Grandmother"s method (also Eliza Acton's and Jane Grigson's methods) adapted for the 20th/21st century, by my mother, for cooking a whole salmon to serve cold.- Fish kettle required (your fish monger may be able to lend you one if you don't have one of your own).

Ask fishmonger to remove the entrailes and to cut out the inner gills or you can do this yourself. Removing the gills prevents the bitter tase that fish cooked whole sometimes has)

Fill the cavity with slics of lemon (with skin on), dill or parsley, season with salt and pepper (or anyother stuffing that you fancy). Wrap the fish in buttered foil, greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Place in pan. just cover with water, cover with lid and place on stove, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for one minute (trust me!). remove from the heat and leave at back of stove for several hours until the liquid is just slightly warm when you touch it (use your common sense here). Fish should flake nicely. (If not reseal package and leave a little longer.) Remove fish, unwrap & take out the lemon, herbs, etc., and place on a serving platter. Skin if you wish and dress as you like - "scales" of sliced cucumber are easy and decorative.

Eat.

In fact, you can adapt this for any size of fish - eg fillets, steaks or part of a whole fish. Just choose a pan which is just big enough for your piece of fish.

Works every time.

Enjoy
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:29 PM   #11
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I've done this a number of times with trout, but that's been the extent of my experience. We don't see a lot of whole fish in the markets around here.
Sadly true. Steve is absolutely right. I love fresh fish. No such luck in MN. Trout happens to be a very good fish. But I want something more adventurous. Of course my wife might kick me out of the house, she hates fish.
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:19 PM   #12
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Speaking of fish. I'm thinking it would be nice to serve with some sauce. Not tartar. Something nice, original. Any ideas? Suggestion?
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:01 PM   #13
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@ Charlie D,


Off the top of my thinking Cap, there are thousands of sauces that would be lovely and sublime for fish, however, it depends on the type of fish too ..



1) Mornay ( Butter Sauce )
2) White Wine
3) Apple Cider (Sparkling) or a Cava ..
4) With Trout: Alsacian Choucroute with saukerkraut ..
5) Salmon: Perhaps a Citrus & Balsamic Vinegar ..
6) Salmon with a Teriyaki ..
7 ) Cod or Grouper ( Thick Firm ) Chunks: you may wish to dredge in almond, hazelnut or pistachio crumbs and sauté in some Extra virgin olive oil .. ( A dish in Napoli, called Frecole ).
8 ) Another wonderful dish is a fish stew: 3 Different types of fish, tomato, White wine, fresh parsley, fish stock / broth, garlic, extra virgin olive oil
(Called: Cacciucco) ..

I have the Paul Bocuse Institute Book on the classic Mother Sauces ..

Le Cordón Bleu book series are wonderful too there is one on sauces ..

Hope this has helped ..

Have a wonderful day ..
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:39 PM   #14
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Thank you. Will have to read this again. So tired today can't comprehend what I'm reading
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:15 PM   #15
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Thank you. Will have to read this again. So tired today can't comprehend what I'm reading
Get some rest Charlie. I can't have my favorite Russian Cossack wearing himself to exhausting.
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Old 07-28-2017, 06:28 AM   #16
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For a large white fish you may like the sound of the following suggestions:

1 tsp melted butter
1/2 tsp flour
1/2 pint sour cream
a little fish stock
s&p and 1/2 lemon squozen


Sauce 2:

1dessert spoon of flour
1 oz butter
1/2 pint fish stock
1 dessertspoonful capers
chopped parsley to taste
grated nutmeg
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1/2 lemon.

sauce 3:

2 onions
2 carrots
oli for frying
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/4 wine vinegar
fish stock
2 peppercorns
1 clove
1 bayleaf

From a rather interesting handwritten cookery book written around 1914
I bought at a jumble sale years and years ago.


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Old 07-28-2017, 06:33 AM   #17
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Re my post: the original recipe n. 3 says 'sieved tomatoes', but I find puree easier.

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Old 07-31-2017, 07:45 PM   #18
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Get some rest Charlie. I can't have my favorite Russian Cossack wearing himself to exhausting.
Thank you. You know, I was so tired, I barely made it home that night. Summers are crazy for me.


Thank you for the recipes all who posted.
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:25 PM   #19
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One of my favorite things to do with trout is to stuff the body cavity with very thinly sliced fennel and sweet onion, a bunch of fresh thyme, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and evoo.

I tie them off as best as possible (with some of the stuffing protruding out, put them on an aluminum foiled tray and "bake" them on the grill, covered in a piece of foil at first, then finished open.

Trout have small bones, so cooking it this was enables you to pick the meat from the bones as it falls away.
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Old 12-22-2017, 02:05 PM   #20
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Since I can’t start new thread for some reason, I’m posting here. Similar question.
Bought couple of small sea bass, about 12 inches each. Whole. What would be a good, but simple way to cook it? Running pretty late today, but need for dinner. Thank you.
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