One of the finest communal meals we know of is a whole fish cooked on the bone along with hearty accompaniments. Our favorite method for whole roasted fish is a Portuguese-inspired preparation in which a red snapper is stuffed with herbs and cooked in foil with sausage, potatoes, clams, olives, and fennel. We like to take the fish to the table still enclosed in its shiny wrapper, then slash it open to serve.
What You Will Need
- 1 large bulb fennel
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. fresh linguiça or kielbasa, cut into 1⁄4″-thick slices
- 1 whole cleaned red snapper (3 lbs.)
- 1 lemon, sliced into 1⁄4″-thick half moons
- 10 sprigs thyme, plus 2 tbsp. thyme leaves
- 10 sprigs parsley
- 1⁄2 lb. mixed olives, pitted
- 12 littleneck clams
- 1⁄2 cup white wine
- Zest of 1 orange
- Trim and discard stalks from fennel; reserve 10 wispy fronds. Halve fennel bulb lengthwise; slice into 1⁄4″-thick wedges. Bring 2 qts. salted water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan. Blanch fennel for 4 minutes; drain and set aside. Add potatoes to boiling water; reduce heat to medium; simmer until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes; set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 475˚. Cut 4 angled slits on each side of fish, about halfway to bone. Put a lemon slice into each slit. Line a baking sheet with an 18″ x 24″ sheet of heavy-duty foil. Transfer fish to foil. Rub with 3 tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with remaining lemon, thyme sprigs, and parsley. Arrange fennel, potatoes, sausages, olives, and clams around fish; sprinkle with remaining thyme. Drizzle with wine. Put an 18″ x 24″ piece of foil over top. Crimp edges together to form a packet.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes. Cut into foil; carefully pull back edges. Sprinkle with zest, remaining oil, and fennel fronds.