They had whole red snapper on hand! Wild, unfrozen, and positively enticing.
We brought this baby home, and quickly realized that we hadn't ever actually cooked a whole fish before. So we brought out the cooking bible.
Reading through The Basics of Whole Fish, we felt armed and ready.
One itty bitty problem.
Though the fish had been thoroughly cleaned, it still had scales.
"Use a spoon or dull knife to scrape the scales from the fish."
Yes, that is a fantastic way to make scales fly everywhere.
So to save my kitchen from being covered in fish scales, I opted to just run the fish under some water and remove the scales the old fashioned way: with my hands. Not the easiest way, but certainly better than the alternative!
To dress this fish, the book recommended chopping up a lemon and a ton of garlic to start.
Then cut four large gashes in each side of the fish, and stuff with the garlic. Also stuff the cavity with the garlic and a few lemon slices.
Lay the remaining slices of lemon down to create a bed for the fish, and set the fish on top. Pour over a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil and dried herbs (such as italian seasoning, basil, oregano, etc).
Next, pour 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken) in the base of the dish, being sure not to pour directly on top of the fish.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Then uncover and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Chris couldn't help himself -- he just had to touch the crispiness of the skin.
And you know what?
The fish was divine.
Super soft and tender, and the remaining liquid in the dish made a delicious savory sauce. As Chris puts it, "It was a 10!"