A Mediterranean Branzino, referred to as a “European Sea Bass” was a wonderful choice for a first time whole fish recipe. Very mild and flakey, it was perfect. I am always up for cooking something new and a whole fish was at the top of my list of wanting to try and celebrating the Chinese New Year gave me the perfect opportunity. A whole fish is an important part of the Chinese New Year menu. It symbolizes wholeness, balance and ensures a good start and finish to the new year. Why I had waited so long to try my hand at a whole fish is beyond me. It was so simple and delicious. I paired it with a quick stir fry of vegetables, served it on a platter where a friend and I just dug in. It was simply amazing!
1 whole fish, scaled and gutted (your fish monger will do this for you)
1 small fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 handful of fresh dill
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil, sprinkle inside fish with salt and pepper.
Place fennel slices and fresh dill inside the fish and close.
Salt and pepper both outsides, place in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes depending upon the thickness of your fish.
Serve with rice or a platter of stir fried vegetables.
Note: We pulled back the skin of the fish and scraped off the meat always being careful of the bones.
Stir Fried Vegetables:
In a wok, I heated one tablespoon of olive oil, added a clove of crushed garlic, a thinly sliced yellow bell pepper, and a handful of small whole cremini mushrooms cooking until they were soft, adding more olive oil when needed. It took about 5 to 7 minutes. I tossed in a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper, a scant teaspoon of turmeric and dinner was ready