I’ve recently started visiting my local OK so not so local Whole Foods Market OK so I’ve really only been twice. It’s 45 minutes away but from where I live most things are 30+ minutes away. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about Whole Foods; one of my friends calls it Whole paycheck so I was pretty hesitant to check it out. A few weeks ago we were cooking a World Wide Wednesday meal from Croatia and they have a local cheese that; us being cheese lovers really wanted to try; it is called Paski Sir aka as Pag Cheese which was tooted as being the best cheese in Croatia. I googled where to get it it and guess who had it in stock; yup off to Whole Foods I went. I headed directly to the cheese section and started looking for Pag cheese, the guy behind the counter was extremely knowledgeable and not only knew what my scribbled note said he said oh wait I have a fig spread also from Croatia that would go very nicely with my Pag cheese. I was very impressed.
So on my second trip to Whole Foods; I took my daughter for her first visit and we walked by the meat and fish counters. I see why my girlfriend calls it whole paycheck, so many things to choose from. I have always; well not “always” wanted to try cooking a whole fish and why not a Red Snapper; it is a wonderful flaky white fish and I don’t see it a lot at my usual market; I wish we had a local fish market. Me never having prepared a whole fish before; this was going to be way out of my comfort zone. At least I thought it would be, yeah it kind of was but I prevailed. While I was pretty nervous and wanted to do the snapper justice, I had the butcher clean and scale the fish for me. I got them home; I bought 2 to feed the 4 of us; Abbi remembered her Anne Burrell cookbook had a red snapper recipe here we go.
If you are a little adventurous I recommend giving this a try. It was fairly easy, great flavor and a little bit of a show stopper.
3 or 4 large potatoes Yukon gold works well; I used some the ones I had in my garden, sliced 1/8 inch thick I used my mandolin.
6 cloves garlic (4 finely chopped; 2 smashed)
1 bunch fresh oregano (half finely chopped; half as whole sprigs)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, slivered
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 3 -pound red snapper or bass, scaled, gutted and gills removed (have the butcher do this for you)
1 lemon, sliced
3 fresh bay leaves
1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, chopped garlic, chopped oregano, olives and red pepper; drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt. Spread out in your roasting pan that is large enough to hold the fish. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Set aside to prep the fish.
Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/2 inch deep on each side of the fish. Season the outside and inside with olive oil and salt. Place the lemon slices, bay leaves, whole oregano sprigs, parsley and the remaining smashed garlic inside the body cavity of the fish.
Pour the wine over the potatoes, lay the fish on top and toss the whole thing in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the eyeballs pop out – yes that is what I said and I was skeptical at first but now I’m a believer
Remove the skin and bones and serve the fish over the potatoes.