I remember the first time I cooked a fish whole. The entire time it sat on the grill, its little eyes and intact head just stared back at me. Not the best way to sell a recipe I suppose, but it was how I was introduced to it.

In fact, it was so odd—I'm the type of person who has a hard time eating things that look like what they were—that before I tried it, I planned never to try it again. That is, until my father made me try the meat in the cheeks, in the tail, and along the backbone. 

Bam! I was sold. In fact, I only cook fish whole now. Keeping it whole gives you that much more delicious fish to eat. And being able to stuff the cavity lets that much more flavor absorb into the meat. (And yes, I did steal Emeril's signature "Bam!" This fish is that good. Please don't sue me, Emeril.)

This recipe is not only great with red snapper. You can try it with just about any fish. A good rule of thumb for roasting fish is about 15 to 20 minutes per inch of thickness in each filet (that is, not the total thickness) at 375°F. When you buy the fish, be sure to have your fish monger gut, de-gill, scale, and remove all of the fins except the tail fin.

Citrus-stuffed whole roasted red snapper

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red snapper, whole
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Rinse and dry the fish well. Drizzle olive oil inside and outside the fish. Season both the inside and outside with salt and pepper. Place the fish on a lined baking sheet. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the lemon, lime, and garlic. Spread any remaining citrus and garlic that won't fit inside, ontop of and underneath the fish.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked thorugh and the skin just begins to crisp up.
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