While on vacation in Vieques last year, we had the pleasure of dining at a small seaside restaurant recommended by several of the locals. The special that day was whole fried snapper, which we ate with fried plantains and red beans and rice. This simply prepared meal was one of the best of the trip, and one of the most memorable. Lately, I have been seeing more and more whole fish available at the local supermarkets, so I decided it was time to try and duplicate the meal at home. Instead of frying however, I opted to grill the fish along with some fresh veggies, and fried plantains. I have to admit, for my first attempt at preparing a whole fish, I did a pretty good job. Don’t let the fact that the fish is whole intimidate you. You prepare it about the same way you would a fillet, and as a bonus it usually costs less. Plus the crispy, salty skin will rival that of any fried chicken you’ve ever tasted.
1 whole 2-3 lb fish such as red snapper cleaned and scaled
2 whole limes sliced
3 sprigs fresh thai basil
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Prep fish by cleaning and scaling if necessary. Most supermarkets will do this for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Score both sides of fish by cutting 2-3 slits crosswise down to the bone. Season whole fish including the cavity with salt, garlic and cayenne making sure to get the seasonings inside the slits as well. Slice the limes and insert several slices along with the herbs into the cavity. Drizzle fish with olive oil and lime juice. Grill over medium high heat 10-15 minutes on each side until skin is crispy and fish is cooked through. Resist the urge to flip the fish until it is ready. You will know it is ready to turn when it loosens itself from the grill grates. If it is stuck it probably isn’t done yet. Gently flip using a large spatula. Serve with grilled veggies, and fried plantains. Garnish with basil leaves and lime slices. Enjoy!
This is one of the easiest recipes on the blog. These can be served as a side dish, or for dessert with a dash of cinnamon. If you can’t find plantains, try bananas instead. They will be slightly sweeter.
1 whole very ripe plantain
1/4 cup coconut oil
Heat oil in a pan until melted and hot, but not smoking, Peel and slice plantains into about 1/2″ thick rounds. Let plantains fry in the oil until brown on both sides spooning oil over the top of the slices to keep them moist while frying. That’s it. Enjoy!