Last night I cooked a whole fish for the first time.
I had gone to Whole Foods thinking fish. The fillets they had were uninspiring, and there wasn’t a salmon steak in sight,. But the whole fish looked good, and the best-looking ones that were in my price range were Orata. I’d never heard of it. Farmed fish. Just under $10/pound. I was a little annoyed at the fish counter people – they won’t let you get near the fish until you’ve already selected it and had it wrapped. They’ll open the gills for you to look, but you can’t feel it or smell it. But I didn’t feel like driving the umpteen miles on a rainy Friday afternoon to go to a better fish market.
So I get home, and the first thing I do is look up Orata. From what I could find, it’s also called Dorado. Hey – I had Dorado in South Africa several times and really liked it. Score!
I used the Whole Roasted Sea Bass recipe from Martha Stewart. With a little tweaking for what I had in the house (e.g. added ginger, didn’t use parsley, only did one fish).
Fileting was a little difficult, and I didn’t end up with the prettiest pieces. And it seems that the bone structure may be a little more complicated than on the type Martha demonstrates in the video.
The fish itself was pretty mild and I think it benefitted from being cooked whole. It didn’t taste fishy, but it seemed to have a depth of flavor that I haven’t gotten from cooking just filets. But this was the first time that I’ve done this fish at home, and it’s been a while since I had it in South Africa.
Served it with a wild/brown rice mix (thanks Carmen!) and roasted white asparagus with cheese (raclette) sauce.