This is a great tasting recipe! It can work with whatever fish you have as long as its a lean, large white-fleshed fish like rockfish, perch or even snapper. The lemons really help to get rid of the fishy smell and taste, and the added tomatoes, garlic and herbs really accentuate its flavors. It’s a little bit of a Mediterranean inspired dish but you can adjust to whatever works best for you.
Before attempting this recipe, you should know that if you do not dry your fish before stuffing, it can become very watery in the pan.
I also suggest that when stuffing the fish, that you close the fish with either toothpicks or sew the belly of the fish shut with cooking yarn or string. This prevents the filling to come out everywhere.
Also, make sure you add salt as well to the veggies that you plan to add in to the fish, When I made this recipe I noticed that my veggies were not salty enough, if anything they were extremely bland. When salting your fish make sure to use a generous amount of salt, you would rather it salty than not because its hard to make fish taste saltier when its the whole thing versus just a fillet.
Another tip is that you want to rub the fish with olive oil before doing anything else to it like stuffing, trust me its a lot harder to do this step once the fish is already stuffed. It’s also better to wait to stuff the scored flesh of the fish with lemons and garlic until after you have stuffed the inside of the fish.
Feel free to remove the head of the fish. I didn’t because i thought it would look prettier with the whole thing intact, but noticed that the head gave off a very bitter and fishy taste to everything else.
Whole roasted fish stuffed with asparagus, lemons, and garlic
I suggest that you marinate the fish in plenty of salt for at least an hour to over night. Then make sure, before stuffing, that you pat dry it with a paper towel and allow it to rest outside of the fridge to dry even more.
- 2 whole fish, cleaned, gutted, scored, and marinated in salt
- 1/2 a a head of garlic, smashed into thin pieces
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 5-6 fresh sprigs of thyme
- 1 lemon cut into thin slices
- 1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1″ long pieces
- 3-4 large shallots roughly chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil (not regular olive oil, it has a different taste)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes or 4-5 small tomatoes cut into quarter slices
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees
- grease either an 9×9 baking pan or something close to that
- Take the fish out and pat dry, also allow it to air dry for about 20-30 minutes (just enough time to prep the filling and all your other ingredients) then rub generously with extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl mix together the asparagus, shallots, some fresh cracked pepper, some salt (from 1 tsp-1/2 tbsp), and about 3/4 of the smashed garlic.
- In another bowl m,ix together the tomatoes, a little more salt, and the oregano
- In each fish place about 2 lemon slices, and evenly distribute the sprigs of thyme, then add in the asparagus filling until the fish is almost completely full, then use toothpicks or yarn to close the fish. NOTE*: you don’t have to use all of the asparagus filling, whatever you have left over just place in the bottom of the pan and rest the fish on top.
- Next, in the slits on the fishes’ skin, stuff with some lemon slices and the rest of the garlic, try to distribute as evenly as possible.
- then on top of everything add the tomato and oregano mixture
- Roast for about 35-45 minutes and after the first 35 minutes, check to see if they are all the way cooked through. At this point you can take out the toothpicks and let the asparagus filling fall out as it might not be as well cooked as the asparagus that is used for the bottom of the pan.
- sprinkle some more salt on top, and enjoy with family!