May 2nd, 2006
Back in March my mom and I were having a discussion in the comments about how to cook a seven pound whole salmon. My mom's usual method is to stuff the fish with onion and lemon, smear all sides with mayonnaise, and cook it wrapped in foil. This makes the fish very moist, but she was looking for something new. I'm not sure what she ended up doing (how'd you cook it mom?), but along the way I suggested a Thai preparation subbing in curry paste for the mayonnaise.
So last night I had to run to the store to get some meat for Jim to grill. The Red Apple had some cute little whole rainbow trout and I grabbed one with a vague idea of wrapping it in foil and cooking it on the grill. I have been reading a Lebanese cookbook and I thought I remembered a whole fish preparation that I could adapt, but after looking it up realized that wouldn't work. So I decided to give the Thai idea a try.
Basically I rubbed the fish with a commercial green curry paste, stuffed it with lime and tangerine slices, and topped it with tomato. Simple. The foil wrapped packet cooked slowly on the grill, as our coals were sort of puny and the fish was off to the side. After about 40 minutes the fish was perfectly cooked to my taste, and had formed an intensely savory sauce inside the packet. I stuffed some parsley and mint in my fish as well, but they were fairly unappetizing after it all cooked, so in the final recipe I recommend adding the herbs fresh after the fish is done.
The fish turned out great and the preparation was super easy and flexible. I'm sure you could do something similar with any smallish whole fish, or a wide variety of meaty fillets. If you don't have a grill or don't feel like turning it on, just use the oven.
Green Curry Rainbow Trout1 2-3 pound whole fish (such as Rainbow Trout)
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 ripe plum tomato
minced herbs for garnish (mint, cilantro, and/or parsley)
Start the grill or preheat the oven to 400F. Wash the fish inside and out. Mine had no head but it did have a tail, and I just left it as it was. Make two layers of foil big enough to wrap up your fish and spray with oil.
Place the fish on the foil and spread it inside and out with the green curry paste, focusing more on the inside. You could make 3 shallow cuts on the skin side of the fish if you'd like to get the spices to penetrate more, although I didn't do this so I can't say if it dries the fish out at all. I don't imagine it does. Cut the lime and tangerine into thinnish wedges and pack them inside the fish, squeezing out a bit of the juice as you do so. Slice the tomato into round slices and arrange along the top of the fish. Season to taste with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Fold the foil over the fish in a nice little parcel, making sure to crimp and seal the edges. I grilled mine over a fairly low fire - the fish was on the edge of the barbecue as other items came and went - and it took about 40 minutes. You could also put the foil package on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven - I would check it after 20 minutes as it would probably cook quite a bit faster.
To serve, remove the skin, bones, and tail and arrange the cooked fish on a platter. Top with the cooked tomatoes and pour the sauce from the foil package over all. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve.