Baked fish – This is certainly one of the easiest ways to cook fish but still, I think, the method that yields the best results. Cooked on the bone with skin on, the fish will be moist, full of flavour and still in one piece.
I cooked this on a recent trip to France where we were lucky enough to have a wood-fired oven to play around with – something I’ll have a go at building myself at some point – brilliant to cook in and it gets you outside which has to be good. But – if you don’t happen to have a wood-fired oven handy, a normal oven will do just as well.
I picked up a selection of fish from a local supermarket – Sea Bream, Mackerel and Red Mullet. Prepared them all in a similar way – gutted them (knife in its bum and cut up towards the head careful not to cut too far into its guts. Stick your finger in and pull out its bits). Then I de-scaled them if they needed it – you can do this with a knife running against the scales. Remove any fins you don’t need and, on the larger fish, make some cuts into the flesh.
That’s all you need to do with them for preparation. I made a batch of my salsa verde and rubbed that into the belly of each fish and into the cuts of the flesh. A bit of leftover lemon and some more of the herbs from the salsa verde thrown in and you’re good to go.
You want your oven around 200c – I had to estimate this with the wood-fired oven but the results were great. I ended up turning the tray around so the bigger fish were further into the oven and, in theory, cooking a bit harder.
The fish will need about 10 to 15 minutes – maybe less for the smaller fish. You don’t need to be too precise but just be careful not to overcook the fish.
Served with a simple tomato salad and a peppery salad.
If you’re scared of cooking fish this is the way to go – you’re going to get good results. Maybe not the neatest finish to the dish but that’s not the point – this is tasty, fresh, healthy, outdoors cooking.