It’s almost Valentine’s Day! And nothing says “be mine” than a whole fish stankin’ up yo kitchen, right?
So we have to plan what to cook for the day, right? Or for any day if you’re one of those that hates the holiday, single or not. We celebrate Valentine’s Day because we actually celebrate our anniversary that day – 5 years this week! We don’t do the big expensive restaurant thing because UGH, but I do like to make fun foods that take a little more time or have random ingredients – something you can to do together if you’re into that kind of thing, or something you can do for fun if you enjoy making bigger/fancier meals.
Here’s the first one: a whole roasted fish stuffed with stuff. Good stuff. Butter, rosemary (from my sister’s yard!), citrus, garlic, WHOA. I’d never actually roasted a whole fish, but I was so excited to because it’s just so PRETTY. It’s also super easy. The catch is that serving it isn’t terribly sexy, we did a fairly good hack job of getting the fish off the carcass and into our mouths.
Oh, and there’s more to this story. When I roasted this fish I used the leftovers to make a tomato-based fish chowder the next day. That might have been even better than the roasted fish, and the original fish was excellent. So, with 1 fish you can get 2 meals and be healthy and protein-filled all week!
Let’s make this. You need a fish! I used a 2.5 pound mackerel, cleaned by the nice guy at Whole Foods. Go to another blog if you want to learn how to clean a fish – I have enough bodily fluids happening in my house from humans and dogs. You also need garlic, a lemon, a grapefruit, some fresh rosemary, butter, and salt. That’s it!
First, preheat the oven to 450F. For prep, just cut the butter into chunks, peel the garlic, and slice HALF of each of the citrus. We’ll roast the slices in the fish and the chunks separately for squeezing over the fish right before you eat it. Then, just elongate the cut in the fish where it was cleaned a little bit to make some extra space for stuffing all this goodness in.
Now, just cram some rosemary, garlic cloves, citrus slices, and pats of butter into the fish. It’ll hang out a little bit – that’s ok! This is pretty much exactly how it is when I put on pants these days. I cram it in, and it hangs out a little bit. And that’s ok.
Keep the larger pieces of citrus on the pan with the fish, and sprinkle the whole thing with salt. Roast the fish for 20-30 minutes until the fish is firm and the eyes are opaque – that’s how you’ll know its done!
Now, how you serve this is totally up to you. I peeled off the skin and used a spatula to ease pieces of fish away from the spine. There are still bones that will come off with the fish, so be careful when you’re eating! Use the wedges of citrus to squirt over the fish.
I served this with a super quick risotto and roasted vegetables, but you can make your favorite side dishes to go with this and call it a day – the fish itself is mild in flavor so anything goes!
Fish lovers unite – this is a great new way to get your Omega-3. Enjoy!
- 1 whole mackerel, cleaned, about 2.5 pounds
- 4 pats butter
- 1 lemon
- 1 grapefruit
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Use a very sharp knife to cut a slit in the fish that enlarges the opening where the fish was cleaned.
- Slice half of the lemon thinly. Cut the other half of the lemon in 2 pieces. Do the same with the grapefruit.
- Stuff the fish with the citrus slices, garlic cloves, pats of butter, and the rosemary sprigs. Arrange the fish on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Set the citrus wedges on the pan with the fish, and sprinkle the whole fish with salt.
- Roast the fish for 20-30 minutes until the eye is opaque and the fish is firm and flaky. Gently remove pieces of fish using a spatula. Squirt the fish with lemon and grapefruit juice from the roasted pieces, and sprinkle with a little extra salt.
- Serve the mackerel with your favorite side dishes!