How good are baked fish? Fish are very healthy and are super delicious. Packed full with nutrients and easy on the digestive system, they make an excellent option for lunch/dinner. I am often asked for good fish recipes, and usually hear "but there isn't much you can do with fish!"! But no, there is a million ways to cook fish! For the basic cooking methods, check out my earlier post on Methods of Cooking Fish & Seafood. There you can see there are many ways to cook a fish. It is totally up to you what the outcome of the cooking is, in terms of flavouring, and overall construction of the dish. In simple terms, choose the method that you fancy: baking, grilling, pan frying... then work out a dish in your head: what flavours are appealing to you today? Spicy, mild, Asian, Arabic, Mexican... then work out the type of overall dish (next to roasted vegetables, noodles, rice, risotto...) Once you have figured out these options, it becomes easy to carry out the idea you have.
|Cooking: It is a open Slate, waiting for the colours of your flavours and textures|
|Instead of going for the flavourless baking wire rack, why not go for an edible rack that will |
lend its aromas to your finished dish? Cooking is beautiful!
I eat fish regularly, and to keep it interesting, I always experiment with new flavours, combinations and textures. I have to also think of the family, who tend to get bored of repetition. Therefore, I continuously cook fish in different context. This Thai Baked Fish dish is mainly from my love of all things Thai! Thai flavours are so diverse, and delicious, they simply inspire me! If you have read my post Summer Baked Whole Fish, you will see that I like to elevate the fish to prevent it from touching the baking dish. I find that this creates kind of a steaming effect while baking and results in more drippings (therefore more baking juice, which can be used to flavour rice, pasta, sauce...). I also found that this method results in firmer fish that that when the fish is soaking in the juice, a result that is welcome when looking into serving whole fish and don't want it to break in transfer to serving dish. In the same effect, for this recipe I thought why not create an edible rack, and since the inspiration is Thai, what can be better than the aromatic, super Thai : Lemon Grass? Lemon grass is very Thai and very delicious, it will create an aroma for your whole dish. That thought made the whole dish right there. It was the core of the concept. From there, I went on adding red Thai Chilies, finely grated ginger, finely chopped coriander, Sea salt, garlic, Thai spice mix, and sprinkles of sesame oil. That was the base of my dish. The aromatics & the flavouring. I had already decided on my cooking method (oven-baked). I was good to go.
On top of the Lemon Grass rack I placed the whole fish. I had rubbed each with cumin and Thai spice, black pepper, and placed lemon sliced together with a Thai Basil Leaf, sliced garlic and red chilies inside the cavity of each fish. Placed on top f the lemon grassed, I sprinkled the lot with a little more sesame oil, and sea salt shavings. The dish looked gorgeous and smelled so fresh and aromatic, I could not wait till it was ready to eat! I had covered it, as I wanted it baked. Placed it in the oven and prepared a side of Thai flavoured Noodles to serve with it.
|I had run out of rice Noodles, but went and used Spaghetti Noodles nontheless, what's available in my pantry!|
I flavoured with Asian flavours, and worked like a charm!
Before I jump into the recipe,
This was my first attempt with Halwayu Fish. I always saw this fish at the market, but never thought to try it! This time I did, and it did not disappoint! What a fabulous fish it is, the flesh is white and firm. It flakes easily, but remains intact, it was super delicious. The best thing about it though is that it is very mild in flavour, therefore very receptive to flavouring and aromatics. It totally absorbed the flavours of lemon grass, ginger, cumin, lime...etc Yum! If you need more help in selecting, preparing, cleaning and storing fish, please read my post on Understanding Fish & Seafood from purchasing to preparing to cook.
For the Thai Baked Fish on a Rack of Lemon Grass
3 whole Halwayu Fish
6 stalks fresh Lemon Grass
2 large Red Thai Chilies
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 inch Fresh Ginger, finely grated
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
3 Thai Basil Leaves
2 lemons, sliced into thin circles
Juice of 2 lime
1 1/2 tbsp Sesame Oil
Thai Spice mix
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Sprinkle the baking dish, with a little of the sesame oil, and some sea salt. Place the lemon grass stalks on top. Sprinkle the surface with a little Thai spice mix, and sprinkle on the grated ginger, sliced garlic, chilies and some coriander.
Rinse & pat dry your fish. Rub cumin and thai spice mix, together with black pepper on the skin of the fish. Place Thai basil leaf, garlic slices, sliced chilies and lemon slices in the cavity of each fish. Place the fish on top of the lemon grass stalks. Place the left of the lemon slices under and around the fish, sprinkle all with chopped coriander, and sliced chilies and then sprinkle on lime juice, sesame oil and sea salt. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is tender and flakes easily.
I placed the fish Under the broiler for 5 minutes to slightly brown as well. Served it with a side of noodles. It was a hit, and everyone loved it. Try it, and hopefully you will like it too :)
Hope this post helped you get inspired with cooking fish, and breaking down the cooking process in general. Together with the links, purchasing and preparing, fish & seafood cooking methods and summer baked whole fish, am hoping that you will choose to have fish more regularly as it is very healthy and good for you.
Would love to hear from you, so go on and leave a comment :)
More Thai Recipes:
Tom Yum Soup