Cooking fish whole, on the bone with the head and tail attached, is absolutely the best way to eat it. The meat around the bones just seems sweeter and tastier! I ran over to Kjean's Fish Market on Carollton to see what they had and was able to pick up some fresh trout. Just ask them to gut and scale the fish for you. This recipe is actually fairly simple with out a lot of mess in the kitchen and the end result is fantastic! I've adapted from Lidia Bastianich's, Lidia's Italian Table recipe for Whole Roasted Striped Bass. Apparently it is a staple on the menu at her restaurant Becco in New York, and she prepared a version of this for the Pope in 2008!
Makes 6 servings
For the garlic-infused oil:
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the fish:
6 whole trout, about 1 1/4 lb. each, eviscerated and scaled
6 fresh or dried bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 medium-sized red onions, peeled and cut into 1/3″ slices
6 small, firm vine ripened tomatoes, cored and cut in half
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
-Prepare the garlic-infused oil about half an hour before roasting the fish: In a small bowl blend the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to steep for half an hour.
-Preheat the oven to 475 F. Use the garlic-infused oil to grease two heavy, large (at least 22 x 18-inches) roasting pans, preferably with low sides. Brush each fish on both sides with the olive oil mixture and enclose the tails in aluminum foil. Place one bay leaf and one sprig of rosemary in the cavity of each fish. Arrange the fish in the prepared pans, leaving as much space between them, and between the sides of the pan, as possible. Arrange the onion slices and tomato halves around the fish in both pans so as not to overlap with each other.
-Season the fish and vegetables with salt and pepper and divide the wine between the pans. Bake until the fish and vegetables begin to brown, about 25 minutes, drizzling occasionally with about ½ cup of the remaining garlic-infused oil. (The rest of the garlic-infused oil will be used as the base of a sauce to be served with the fish.) Remove the fish from the oven.
-Stir the lemon juice and parsley into the remaining garlic-infused oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one whole fish on each plate and flank with the vegetables. Spoon any sauce from the baking pan over each serving.
-Stir the lemon-parsley sauce well and spoon a little over each serving. Set the rest of the sauce on the table for passing as fish is being enjoyed. Pour a nice glass of Adelaida Version and relax!