I was once afraid of cooking whole fish. How do I know when it's done? How do I get the fillet off the bone? Am I going to choke on a pinbone? After I overcame my fears, I realised whole fish are more affordable, flavourful and juicy. You do still need to beware of pinbones, though.
1 whole cleaned snapper (1.5kg-2.5kg)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
⅓ cup chopped parsley
⅓ cup chopped coriander
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
½ jalapeno or long green chilli, deseeded (optional)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional).
2. Place the fish on a baking tray, cut 3 deep parallel cuts into each side of the fish and season with salt while you make the herb sauce.
3. In a small food processor or blender combine the garlic, parsley, coriander, ginger, chilli (if using), olive oil, juice of 1 lime and a pinch of salt and blend until well-combined without large chunks.
4. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the herb paste and spread the rest all over the snapper.
5. Cut half of the remaining lime into slices and place them into the cavity of the fish.
6. Bake for 25-35 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the thickest piece of the fillet is warm to the touch.
7. Allow the fish to rest for 5-10 minutes, then use a spatula to lift the flesh off the bone, discarding the bones as you come across them, especially the pinbones. Once you've removed the top fillet, pull the back bone and head directly from the fillet and discard.
8. Season the fillets with a little extra salt, and serve with the remaining herb sauce and extra lime wedges.