Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baked Fish

I was asked by one angler who read my posts on shore fishing what I did with a certain type of fish that I caught. Well, all of our catch that we take home ends up in our stomach. If the type of fish is unfamiliar or something new to me, I ask my friends who grew up in a fishing community and very familiar to all types of tropical fishes to either teach me cooking them or by themselves, to directly prepare them for me.

The bottom line is that no catch is ever wasted. For a true angler, the catch, no matter how small or insignificant, is too precious not to be eaten or be wasted. Whilst I cannot post all the cooking adventures we are doing to the catch, some have been proudly featured here like in pesang “lapu-lapu” or stewed grouper, fish shanghai or fried spring roll, “paksiw na isda” or “tilapia” stewed in vinegar and crispy fried parrot fish.

Still most often, fish caught are either grilled or fried. It is among the simple, fast and easy ways to cook and enjoy them. If the fish are quite small for grilling, they are stewed or poached like in “paksiw”, “pangat” and “tinola” dishes where in spite of the small size of the fish, they served and satisfied really big appetite.

For the big snapper that I caught while shore fishing in the playground here in southern Sri Lanka, I prepared it a little special by infusing it with several spices, covering by aluminum foil and baking inside the oven. The fish was cooked like steamed with all its tasty juices and flavors kept intact inside the foil throughout the whole cooking process.

For this baked fish dish, the 2 kilogram fat snapper is perfect. The fish was cleaned by removing the scales, fins, tail, guts and gill. It is then rinse in water several times to eliminate traces of blood and then thoroughly drained.

The few ingredients required includes: 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp ground pepper, 1 tbsp margarine or butter, 1 inch ginger, peeled and julienned, 5 gloves garlic peeled and sliced, several stalks green onion leaves, chopped, 1 lime, sliced and 1 chicken bouillon or 1 tbsp seasoning.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Put some ginger, garlic and green onions inside the fish cavity. Using aluminum foil, arrange the spices, fish and other ingredients as shown. Divide the remaining ingredients to properly allocate below and on top of the fish.

Fold the aluminum foil tightly to fully cover the fish. Secure the ends by folding the foil as well. Place the fish in a baking sheet and bake inside the pre-heated oven set at 200˚C for 30-45 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Transfer in a large serving plate with the foil opened and edges securely folded down. Garnish with some more chopped green onion or cilantro if you like. Serve immediately with some steamed rice. Yummy! :-)

This dish is very simple and yet very delicious. The succulent and tasty meat of the fish will basically melt in your mouth and satisfy even the most discriminating taste buds. Enjoy! c“,)

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