DIY Taking on the whole fish

We Americans like our fish. We just don’t want it looking up at us from the dinner plate. Whole fish make us squeamish; with the skin and face and tail left on it still looks like a living, swimming creature. But by always opting for neat, featureless filets we’re missing out on more than a connection to the source of our food. We’re missing out on flavor. The gelatin-rich backbone is an excellent heat conductor, and the skin seals in moisture, producing sweet-tasting flesh with a cushiony texture.

By cooking fish in parchment (“en papillote” as the French say) the fish gently steams, making it a healthful way to enjoy the fi sh’s natural flavors. Use our recipe, or mix it up with a selection of your own favorite summer ingredients. Whole fish also stand up well to cooking on the grill. At the Wedge, we’re happy to bring you a local whole-fi sh option in Star Prairie’s rainbow trout. Since 1856, this Minnesota farm has raised trout in waters from the property’s ice-cold natural spring. You’ll find their fi sh in our seafood case, cleaned and ready for your use. And if you really can’t take the staring, you can ask our butchers to remove the heads and tails. They’re happy to help.

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole rainbow trout
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices
  • 1 cup of green beans, sliced
  • 1∕3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2–3 sprigs of thyme
  • ½ cup chopped flatleaf parsley
  • Splash of white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. With scissors, cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to encase the fi sh. Spread the butter over the center of the paper. Lay fish in the center and sprinkle, inside and out with salt and pepper.

2. Stuff the body cavity of the fish with shallots, garlic, lemon slices, parsley and thyme. Drizzle half of the olive oil inside the cavity. Scatter green beans and hazelnuts on top of the fish. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and the splash of white wine on top of the vegetables and the fish. Encase the entire fish in the parchment paper, pleating the edges to seal.

3. Bake on a baking sheet 15–20 minutes or until all the packages are puffed up. As soon as the fish is done baking, serve, cutting open the parchment at the table for a dramatic presentation.

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