freshly caught fish baked in aromatic parcels
I'm always excited to be in the kitchen cooking... for me, for other people, or even for my dog. Even making fried eggs makes me happy. However, there are some cooking sessions that stick with me for a long time and put a smile on my face. It can be for a number of reasons, like the first time I was hired to cook alone for 20 people.
This recipe is in my special list because of the way I incrementally acquired the ingredients without having planed it at all.
So the story starts with my standard, twice a week trip in to the town centre which is at the port where I stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers market. Depending on the weather there are sometimes, early in the morning, a few small fishing boats docked along the pier which is exactly next to the road I drive on. So when I spot them I always check them out. This time, one of them had three, nicely sized fish that I bought right away. This doesn't happen very often because the Aegean is not like the big oceans... it's a lot warmer and shallower and the fish mainly caught are small to medium size from sardines to red snappers. So having bought the fish along with my weekly shop, I headed home.
The island I live on has an abundance of two things growing everywhere in the wild: Caper berries and fennel. Both go well with fish, but because caper berry season is over, I chose to use the fennel seeds. I cannot describe how much more fragrant the fresh un-dried seeds are compared to the store bought, and you get them in various stages of maturity... I even use some of the flowers from the fennel plant. So off I went for a walk in the fields with the dog to cut some stems, and 20 minutes later I was back with a handful of seeds. Now, all that was left was some lemons from the lemon tree. Ohh and because i was watching a Jamie Olive episode a few days before, I was a bit influenced by his obsession with chillies and added some chili infused olive oil that I made.
The smell that came from that parcel was amazing, and I recommend this recipe especially to people that don't like fish very much.
Ingredients: - 3 whole fish around 500gr each - 3 tbs chili infused olive oil - 2 tbs olive oil - 3 tsp fennel seeds - zest of 1 big lemon in strips (use a vegetable peeler) - 3 tsp lemon juice - salt & pepper - baking parchment
Directions: 1. Place one fish in a parchment paper cut big enough to wrap the fish well. 2. Cover the fish with 1 tbs of infused olive oil and salt and pepper each side of the fish. 3. Sprinkle1 tsp of fennel seeds and 2-3 strips of lemon rind on both sides of the fish and add 1 tsp of lemon juice. 4. Wrap the fish so no juices can escape and tie with baking string. 5. Repeat for the remaining 2 fish. 6. Bake in preheated oven at 220ºC for about 30 mins. Remove and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Tips: I dont know the right names for the fish that we usually get here so i name some in their scientific name and you can google them: oblada melanura, sparus aurata, piplodus sargus. Dont forget to ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish... i love fish, but after i had to gut the ones we got for this recipe our relationship will never be the same. Having said that, even though it was a disgusting experience which I don't want to repeat, it was nice to go through the entire natural process of preparing the fish from start to finish, rather than getting it filleted in a pretty package the easy way... easy is not always best, sometimes the experience is more important. Still, ask your fishmonger to deal with it.
By the way...
If you're interested in the type of stuff I keep stocked in my kitchen or the equipment that I use regularly... here's a pretty comprehensive list.
Tools/ Equipment/ Machinery/ Ingredients:
Electric Scale - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xkKpQk
Hand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xkjowh
Stand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2yqXPiH
Candy Thermometer - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xklw7k
Food Processor - Cuisinart - http://amzn.to/2xkkZqK
Blender - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xXQgwU
Silicone Spatula - Zyliss - http://amzn.to/2y3Srkw
Chef's Knife 8" - Miyabi - http://amzn.to/2fUtyRK
Pots & Pans:
Cast Iron Grill Skillet 10.5" - Lodge - http://amzn.to/2z2GPwi
Cake tins & Pie Plates:
Bunt Pan - Nordic Ware - http://amzn.to/2xjGB1N
Square Cake Tin - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xkn5Ce
Springform cake tin 22cm (9”) - Farberware - http://amzn.to/2xkdQ4T
Ceramic Pie Plate- Emile Henry - http://amzn.to/2gex5qR
Cupcake Tin - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkp4GG
Tart Tin Loose Bottom 9.5” - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xje3u2
Non-Slip Pipping Bags - Pastry Gear - http://amzn.to/2fLxAZ0
Pipping Tips - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2yJVPy1
Food Gels - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2kpOCky
Fondant Smoother - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkyZRl
Fondant Rolling Mat - The Mat - http://amzn.to/2y2bg76
Active Dry Yeast - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2gcC2R4
Almond Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkP3xI
Arrow root - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2ycT0WF
Baking Powder - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkJz5U
Bicarbonate of Soda - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yL7Lj4
Brown Rice Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2z1MUt1
Buckwheat Flour - Anthony’s Organic - http://amzn.to/2xjRS6T
Millet flour - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2iBZqYw
Oat Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2fNUuyZ
Potato Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yKpYgH
Quinoa Flour - Amisa Organic - https://amzn.to/2oyWVg9 Sorghum Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yClSf5 Sweet Soy Sauce - Kikkoman - https://amzn.to/33gZrXC Sweet White Rice Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2y2xmXK
Tapioca Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xjv879
Teriyaki Sauce GF - Kikkoman - https://amzn.to/2M3XuZ1
Vanilla Extract Organic - Simply Organic - http://amzn.to/2xXdt2e
Vanilla Beans - Vanilla Products - http://amzn.to/2yLMqWQ
White Flour GF - Dove's Farm - http://amzn.to/2z1b5I1
Xanthan Gum - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2zoYxuC
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