So I recently went on a fishing trip out in Buzzards Bay, RI. I wasn’t super successful… after 8 hours of fishing I only had 2 porgy (aka scup) and a little baby bluefish to show for it. I also caught a couple sea bass but they were too small to keep. Boo. Oh well. Let’s cook!
Most of the work for this recipe is in the prep. After I cleaned and scaled the fish (tutorial to come, hopefully), all you really need to do is season and prep the fish for roasting. Here are my babies cleaned, fins cut off, and scaled:
When you “score” a fish that means you cut into the flesh of the fish in the thickest parts of the meat to allow for even cooking. Fish will overcook and dry out like you wouldn’t believe so this is important to get nice, tender fish throughout, rather than fish jerky on the sides and sashimi in the middle. Cut at an angle towards the head, kind of like cutting another gill into the flesh. Try not to get all the way to the bone. Depending on how big the fish is, you may need 2 or 3 scores.
(Adapted from Cookstr)
2 12-in porgies, cleaned, scaled, and scored
1 lb fingerling potatoes
3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large Spanish onion, cut into large 1-inch chunks
1 lemon, sliced thin
6-7 sprigs thyme
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place potatoes, carrots, onions, 4 sprigs of thyme and garlic into a roasting pan and coat liberally with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and pop the whole thing into the oven for 30 minutes. The vegetables take a lot longer to cook than the fish, so they need a head start.
While the veggies cook, drizzle olive oil all over the fish and season with salt and pepper, both sides, inside the cavity and in the scored flesh. Break apart the remaining sprigs of thyme and tuck them into the scored flesh and into the cavity. Place a couple slices of lemon into the cavity as well. After 30 minutes, take the veggies out of the oven.
Increase the oven heat to 425 degrees.
Arrange the fish on top of the veggies so they aren’t touching each other. Place a few more lemon slices on top of the fish and pop the whole thing back in the oven. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the flesh is completely opaque when cut with a knife. Cooking time will vary based on the size of the fish. Generally a 1-2 pound fish will take 20-30 min to cook.
Serve with fresh pesto and olive tapenade if you’re fancy pants.
goodwilltasting beer pairing suggestion: Stone Saison Du Buff
Note: you may be wondering what happened to the little baby bluefish. I dredged that little guy in flour, seasoned with plenty of S&P, and fried it up in a good amount of oil. He was small but delicious!