While cooking a whole fish definitely seems intimidating, this is the recipe to show you just how easy it really is. But don’t worry, no one has to know—because it’s gonna look ridiculously impressive when served, no matter what. You simply need to ask your fish monger to scale and clean/gut the fish, as well as remove the gills and fins; then, you just pop it into the oven like anything else. Roasting a whole fish on a sheet pan like we do here is exponentially easier than tackling it on the grill, as you have less to worry about with temperature control and there’s no flipping required. Be sure not to skip cutting slits in the snapper—this is a really important step for a few reasons. For one, it lets you rub the flavorful herb mixture into the flesh of the fish for a tastier final product, the slits allow heat circulation around the flesh of the fish for quicker, more even cooking, and finally, these openings are the perfect spot to check for doneness with a fork (meat should release easily from the bone). If you use larger potatoes, just cut them into 1-inch pieces to ensure they cook all the way through. This simple one-dish meal is certainly elegant enough for a special occasion, but easy enough to pull together on a Tuesday. If you have any leftover fish, flake the meat for fish tacos or a fish chowder.
1 small red onion (about 8 oz.), cut lengthwise into 1-in. wedges
1 (3-lb.) whole red snapper, cleaned, scaled, gutted, and fins trimmed
Lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Process parsley, shallot, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, and red pepper in a food processor until finely chopped, about 15 seconds. Add oil, and process until well incorporated, about 15 seconds. Toss together potatoes, onion wedges, 2 tablespoons of the parsley mixture, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl.
Cut 3 (2-inch-long) slits diagonally on both sides of fish, cutting all the way to the bone on both sides. Rub exterior and inside of cuts with 1 cup of the parsley mixture and remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt; place fish on prepared baking sheet. Spread potato mixture around fish. Bake in preheated oven until fish is opaque and flaky and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Drizzle fish with remaining 1/4 cup parsley mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
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