10+ Impressive Whole Fish Recipes to Make at Home
Restaurant-worthy whole fish dinners certainly look intimidating, but they're actually pretty easy to create in the comfort of your own kitchen (if you know what you're doing, of course). Whether you're in the mood for snapper (we love this Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Potatoes and Onions), branzino (fresh citrus brightens up the mild fish in this recipe), or something else (Grilled Trout with Cherry Compote, anyone?), you're going to want to bookmark this collection of impressive whole fish recipes.
Grilled Whole Branzino with Chermoula
Take advantage of the summer sun and cook dinner on the grill.
Whole Roasted Chinese Red Snapper
Rice and sautéed broccoli or bok choy would be perfect accompaniments to this flavorful recipe. If desired, sprinkle sliced scallions and cilantro leaves over the fish and serve with remaining soy sauce mixture and lime wedges.
Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Potatoes and Onions
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.
Grilled Whole Fish
Ask your fish monger to scale and gut the fish. This is known as "dressing" a fish, and is a task that any good fishmonger will be happy to do for you. A thick marinade not only seasons the fillets with the flavors of herbs and garlic, but also provides a protective layer that will help prevent the fish from sticking to the grill.
Hello, Sailor’s Whole Flounder with Mojo Verde and Chile Mayo
Calabash fish camp meets chef-driven flair in this whole fish masterpiece from chef Joe Kindred at Hello, Sailor in North Carolina. Dredging in masa harina, the flour used to make corn tortillas, guarantees a super crispy crust ready—perfect for dunking in herbaceous mojo verde or chile mayo.
Herb-Steamed Whole Striped Bass With Fennel and Sweet Onion Soubise
It's generally recognized among serious cooks that cooking anything on the bone creates a moister, more flavorful result. This whole steamed fish is bombarded with an arsenal of brightness and pungency, as it's enveloped in everything from chopped herbs to minty-lemony steam.
Grilled Whole Snapper with Tarragon and Tangerines
A flourish of sophistication comes from the tarragon sprigs and tangerine slices, making for a bold centerpiece.
Salt-Roasted Whole Red Snapper
If you're looking for moist and tender fish, try Salt-Roasted Whole Red Snapper. The crust seals in the juices and flavor while the fish cooks.
Simple Grilled Whole Lobster
OK, we know lobster isn't fish. But tackling this easy recipe first might be a good way to overcome your whole seafood phobia. Cooking fresh lobster may seem intimidating—but after you do it once, it’s really no sweat.
Lemon-Stuffed Grilled Branzino
The Good News: Branzino, a European sea bass, is low in fat but has a wonderful richness when cooked on the bone. Barbara Lynch stuffs the fish with lemons and herbs, then grills it until the skin is browned and crispy to add even more flavor.
Grilled Trout with Cherry Compote
If you can't find whole trout, use fillets; they'll only need to grill for about 4 minutes. You can also use 20 ounces frozen, thawed cherries: Use the liquid (don't drain them); simmer in step 1 until the liquid almost fully evaporates before stirring in the port and honey.