Cooking fish—head, tail, and all—can be an intimidating prospect. But with a little help from your fishmonger, it can a simple, fun project that makes for an impressive display. We’ve collected our favorite recipes for steaming, grilling, frying, and baking whole fish. See a guide to buying and storing whole fish »
Because of their small size, fresh sardines make for an easy introduction to whole fish. We love to stuff them with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon before grilling them.
When you graduate to larger fish, the possibilities are endless. Trout is a delicious fish, with a light flavor and flaky meat. Try it grilled with a fennel glaze and served with carrot purée and spatzle, braised in wine with a tangy sorrel sauce, or poached in court bouillon.
Roasting a whole fish encrusted in a mixture of salt and egg whites keeps in incredibly moist. It’s a great way to cook sea bass, which can then be served with a celery salsa verde. It’s also great stuffed with herbs, rubbed with garlic butter, and grilled.
Who doesn’t like fried fish? You might usually fry fillets, or even smaller pieces, but you can fry whole fish too. Our Creole-style, cornmeal-crusted fried fish recipe is perfect for small freshwater fish like bluegill or perch. Or look to Asia for inspiration—ikan sumbat is a chile fried fish dish that can be made with branzino, black sea bass, or bluefish.
Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of great whole fish recipes!