Braising a whole fish in an aromatic liquid yields moist, flavorful flesh.
- 1 (2–3-lb.) whole fish, such as red snapper, porgy, or striped bass, cleaned
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 4 red or green Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 6 whole peeled canned tomatoes, plus 1⁄4 cup juices from can, puréed
- Cooked rice, for serving
Put fish into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Cut three evenly spaced 1⁄4"-deep crosswise slits into each side of the fish. Season fish cavity and skin with salt and pepper and rub outside of fish with half of the ginger, chiles, and garlic; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 500°. Put remaining ginger, chiles, and garlic, along with lime juice, butter, puréed tomatoes, and 1⁄2 cup water, into a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 5 minutes; strain sauce. Uncover fish and pour tomato sauce over it. Bake, basting fish with pan juices, until flesh is cooked through, about 20 minutes. To serve, transfer fish to a serving platter and pour some of the juices from the pan over fish. Serve with rice.