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View Full Version : How to cook a whole fish?



pzarquon
October 3rd, 2004, 02:51 PM
My neighbor recently bought a boat, and he's been on a big fishing kick. Sure enough, his fish take has exceeded his family's rate of consumption, and we've benefitted today with the delivery of two, whole (but cleaned) papio.

Now what?

I know I could just Google "papio recipe (http://www.google.com/search?q=papio+recipe)," but I was hoping someone might have some tips of the trade, some quick-and-dirty (well, not really dirty) secrets, to get a good meal out of these fish.

Miulang
October 3rd, 2004, 03:31 PM
Kind of depends on the size of the fish. If it's small enough to fit in a frying pan, the easiest and tastiest thing to do is coat with flour (with salt and pepper mixed in the flour) and fry. When done, put shoyu on top (and lemon, if you like) and whack em up.

If the fish is more ulua sized, you could always bake it. Get some foil and put the fish on top, then put salt and pepper on top. Sprinkle a little sesame oil on it, shoyu, some chopped green onions and some cilantro (can add Japanese mirin too for a little more flavor). Fold up the foil to the shape of the fish and bake at 350 degrees probably for about 15-20 minutes (rule of thumb for fish is 10 minutes per inch thickness of fish). This will give you a kind of Asian style fish.

Miulang

pzarquon
October 3rd, 2004, 05:23 PM
Thanks. I mixed your suggestions with a couple of things I read online, so I'll know in about 15 minutes if I've created my own dish, or an unmitigated disaster.

The fish were about, oh, a pound each, large pancaked sized papio, maybe an inch thick. I scored them (small slits) on each side, and rubbed in a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, some salt, white pepper and paprika. I set them in "pods" of foil, sealed up to make a little steaming room, then put them in the oven at 375 for half an hour. I know that'll be overcooked by most measures, but since this is my first whole fish, I'll take a little dryness over the possibility of it being undercooked.

I read some pretty complicated recipes out there, but "local style" as you've described it sounds just fine to me. Reminds me of when you order the whole fish at Kenny's in Kalihi -- they ain't pretty, but they sure are tasty!

Miulang
October 3rd, 2004, 05:38 PM
Thanks. I mixed your suggestions with a couple of things I read online, so I'll know in about 15 minutes if I've created my own dish, or an unmitigated disaster.

The fish were about, oh, a pound each, large pancaked sized papio, maybe an inch thick. I scored them (small slits) on each side, and rubbed in a mixture of olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, some salt, white pepper and paprika. I set them in "pods" of foil, sealed up to make a little steaming room, then put them in the oven at 375 for half an hour. I know that'll be overcooked by most measures, but since this is my first whole fish, I'll take a little dryness over the possibility of it being undercooked.

I read some pretty complicated recipes out there, but "local style" as you've described it sounds just fine to me. Reminds me of when you order the whole fish at Kenny's in Kalihi -- they ain't pretty, but they sure are tasty!
375 for 30 minutes is a little too high for that thickness of fish. Using 350 is better for 15-20 minutes. Also, if you don't want dried out fish, put some water, fish stock, vermouth, or Japanese mirin in the pouch. That'll ensure that the fish stays moist and if you use anything but the water, it will help provide additional flavor to the fish, even though you "overcook" it a little bit.
Eh, and wat's wrong wit undercooked fish? Dat oni sashimi! :D

Miulang

glossyp
October 4th, 2004, 07:33 AM
Lucky you! An easy way to cook a whole fish is to take 2 lbs sea salt (you can use the red local for fun), some fresh rosemary or oregano or dill (whatever you can get) and mix with a bit of water. Make a bed of the salt mixture in your pan, place the fish on the salt bed then pack the rest of the salt tightly around the fish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F or until crust is very hard. The fish will not be salty but flavorful.

My other favorite is poaching in equal parts soy sauce, mirin and sake.

pzarquon
October 4th, 2004, 07:50 AM
I must have seriously underestimated the thickness of these papio, because after 30 minutes they were still quite pink. (And I'm all for sashimi, but not if I don't really know the source of the fish.) I cooked them for closer to 50 minutes, but they were still quite moist.

My garlic, ginger and paprika rub/steam was good, but very mild. And since the fish were so fresh, the overall flavor was quite subtle. I'll definitely try a more seasoning-heavy preparation next time, now that I know something like glossyp's salt "crust" doesn't mean an overly salty fish.

Miulang
October 4th, 2004, 07:51 AM
I must have seriously underestimated the thickness of these papio, because after 30 minutes they were still quite pink. (And I'm all for sashimi, but not if I don't really know the source of the fish.) I cooked them for closer to 50 minutes, but they were still quite moist.

My garlic, ginger and paprika rub/steam was good, but very mild. And since the fish were so fresh, the overall flavor was quite subtle. I'll definitely try a more seasoning-heavy preparation next time, now that I know something like glossyp's salt "crust" doesn't mean an overly salty fish.
You can do the same salt trick with chicken, too.

craigwatanabe
October 4th, 2004, 08:05 AM
for chicken use Basalmic vinegar as a marinade, rock salt and pepper then grill or bake. This is the best and basic for chicken especially fresh (not frozen) chicken breasts.

As for fish, the oiler the meat (colder climate or deep ocean fish) it's better to broil. For warmer climate fish, steaming is a really good way to cook em up. If you broil warmer climate fish they tend to dry out real fast.