Red Snapper Tuscan style
When Americans think Italian, we generally conjure up visions of pasta and tomato sauce, meatballs, and baked dishes like lasagna. But after spending a great deal of time in Italy, I realized that Mediterranean cuisine also consists of plenty of fresh fish. And often times, the simpler the recipe the better. Here is sample – you will probably need to order the red snapper ahead of time with the heads on. Get the fish market to remove the guts, gills and scale it for you.
Fresh Red Snapper gutted and scaled.
Ingredients (5 servings):
- 2 – Red Snappers (about 3 pounds with heads), gutted, gills removed, and scaled.
- Salt and cracked pepper – use kosher salt (larger grains)
- 4 cloves – garlic, peeled
- 4 sprigs – rosemary
- 4 sprigs – thyme
- 4 slices – fresh lemon
- 4 tablespoons – extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup – basil, finely chopped
- ¼ cup – Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 4 leaves -- basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the fish in cold water and place on a cutting board. Cut the fins off with scissors (see photo below) and make sure that the fish has been slit from head to tail (sometimes the fish market will only cut the stomach to remove the guts – make sure you continue the slice all the way to the tail).
Trimming fins off.
Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper outside and inside and rub it into the fish gently. Place a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary and thyme, and a slice of lemon in the front and back of each fish (see photos below).
Spices for the inside of the fish.
Fish stuffed with spices.
Coat the bottom of a flat pan with extra virgin olive oil and place the fish on top (see photos below).
Fish ready to be cooked.
Bake the fish for 35 to 40 minutes.
While the fish is cooking, mix the olive oil and basil and drizzle the mixture on two serving plates. Sprinkle the Italian parsley around the circumference of the plates and once the fish has cooked, place the fish on each plate (see photo below).
Basil mixed in olive oil.
Prepared plate with basil and olive oil surrounded by Italian parsley.
Fish ready to serve.
Place two basil leaves on each fish. Serve immediately.
For those unfamiliar with fresh cooked fish, cut the fish starting at the head parallel to the spine bones and place the fillets skin face down on each plate (do not eat the skin). You can drizzle more olive oil and basil on each plate. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the fish. In addition, be careful of bones while eating. Bon appétit.
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