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Baked fish variety
  |  First Published: August 2012



Baked fish is a versatile and simple way of cooking your catch.

Baking generally gives you a little more leeway with your cooking times (just a little). This is because there isn’t any direct heat on the fish, as you would have with panfrying. However your fish will need to be protected from the dry heat of the oven and this is usually achieved by sealing the fish in a foil parcel.

I prefer to use a double layer of foil to prevent any little accidents with stray fins tearing through the foil. I also use a generous amount of extra foil in the length of my fishy parcel so that I can fold/crimp the edges a few times to stop any juices leaking.

As with all methods of cooking fish, please remember that fish will continue to cook for a little while after it has been removed from the heat.

The versatility with baked fish comes with the number of variations in stuffings, coatings, rubs and toppings that you can use.

TAHINI CRUST

Tahini is a sesame seed paste that can be purchased at most supermarkets and health food shops.

Ensure the inside of the fish, especially the backbone, is as free of blood as possible. This is because you will be coating the inside of the fish as well as coating the outside with the tahini mixture.

Ingredients

200ml tahini

100ml lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tbsp chopped coriander (leaves, stalks but not the roots)

2 tsp cumin (ground or seeds)

2 tsp dried coriander (ground or seeds)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

1 whole fish, scales and cleaned (about 1-1.5kg)

1 lemon, cut into thick slices

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

2. While the oven is heating, tear off a length of foil that is twice the length of the fish plus a hand span. Lay the fish on the doubled foil.

3. In a bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, chilli flakes, parsley, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. This will take a little muscle because the paste is quite thick.

4. Spread a thin layer of the paste inside the fish and then lay the lemon slices inside as well. Spread the reminder of the tahini paste over the side of the fish that is uppermost. Fold the foil over the fish, leaving an air pocket inside the parcel (so you don’t rub all of the paste off). Fold the edges of the foil over two or three times so that you have a perfect seal.

5. Place the fish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes for 1kg and 40 minutes for 1.5kg.

6. At the end of the baking time, remove the fish from the oven, carefully unwrap (steam burns hurt) and serve with steamed rice or cous cous.

TWO ONIONS

This is the easiest baked fish recipe that you are ever likely to come across. Ensure that the fish is as blood free as possible, especially along the back bone.

As in the previous recipe, lay the fish on a double thickness, plus some, of foil. In the ingredients I have stipulated full strength mayo not the low fat version. I have found that the full strength mayo will form a crust on the fish as it bakes whereas the low fat stuff simply runs off into a puddle in the bottom of the foil.

Ingredients

1kg scaled and cleaned fish

2 red onions, finely sliced

1 cup mayonnaise (full strength, not low fat)

1 clove garlic, finely grated

3 green shallots, roughly chopped

Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F.

2. Place some of the sliced red onions inside the fish and lay the remainder on the surface.

3. In a small bowl, combine the mayo and the garlic and stir well. Pour or spoon the mayo mixture over the fish and the onions. Sprinkle the green shallots over the top of the mayo.

4. Carefully fold the foil over the fish. Once more leave a pocket inside the parcel so that the coating is not rubbed off the fish. Fold the foil over two or three times to form a seal.

5. Place the fish into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

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