Baked Whole Fish For Chinese New Year

  • Sara Moulton says baking a whole fish is easier and tastier than steaming.

    Sara Moulton says baking a whole fish is easier and tastier than steaming. Associated Press/Matthew Mead

  • Sara Moulton says baking a whole fish is easier and tastier than steaming.

    Sara Moulton says baking a whole fish is easier and tastier than steaming. Associated Press/Matthew Mead

 
Posted1/13/2016 5:18 AM

Two 1- to 1½-pound whole striped bass, branzino or trout, gutted, scaled and gills removed

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

 

2-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1½ tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 4 tablespoons serrano or jalapeño chilies, with seeds and ribs

4 scallions, white and green parts, cut into thin strips

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a shallow baking dish large enough to hold both fish with foil.

Lay both fish on the counter. Working in 1- to 2-inch intervals, use a sharp knife to slash both sides of each fish perpendicular to the backbone (a 20 degree angle down the rib cage). Transfer the fish to the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chilies, scallions and cilantro. Stuff some of the mixture into each slash on both fish, as well as into the cavity (most of the seasoning should go in the slashes). Cover the pan with foil and let the fish sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes, bake the fish on the oven's middle shelf for 20 to 24 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through (you can pierce it easily with a knife).

To serve, use a small knife to gently scrape off the skin, then use a spoon to lift off the fillets (they will come up in chunks), and transfer one to each of 4 serving plates. Pour some of the juices from the pan over each portion.

Serves 4

Note: Can't find 1- to 1½-pound whole fish? Buy three smaller ones (about ⅔ to ¾ pound each) and reduce the cooking time to about 15 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories; 110 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 165 mg cholesterol; 550 mg sodium; 4 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 35 g protein.

Sara Moulton

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