Weeknight meals need not be from a box. If Jamie Oliver has taught me anything, it's that a healthy home-made meal can be made in 30 minutes or less. You just need to utilize the right ingredients and cooking methods.
For example: fish is a healthy and quick cooking dinner that can be thrown together quickly. Cutting a sweet potato with a mandolin very thinly cuts its cooking time down and increases its crispiness. Having flavour bombs on hand like dry rosemary can go a long way. This recipe comes together in about 30 minutes, quicker than it takes to order and receive delivery pizza.
If you've never cooked a whole body fish before, fear not, it actually takes very little preparation.
Benefits of cooking a whole fish:
- Much more moist! The skin protects the flesh from drying out in the oven and keeps all the juices inside.
- It's a pocket of flavour. You can stuff it with lemon. When the lemon heats in the oven, it keeps it moist while flavouring the meat.
- The skin is the most nutritious! It contains the majority of Omega 3 fatty acids (anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, brain and heart healthy super nutrient). As long as you're getting your fish from a clean source (look for the OCEAN WISE symbol) You can be sure that the toxins are way low compared to the added nutritional benefit.
- More Flavour! The bones from the fish let off a lot of flavour into the meat. Think how a soup attains added richness and depth when you add bones. Same thing here.
- Identify the freshness. The best way to tell how fresh a fish is, is by checking out the eyes. A fillet of fish is harder to identify its freshness.
Tips for cooking a whole fish:
- Make sure the eyes look glossy and clear. Cloudy eyes means the fish isn't fresh, so don't buy it.
- For crispy skin, pat dry the outside. If you like to eat crispy skin make sure to pat down with a paper towel, then season with a little olive oil and flake salt.
- Stuff the cavity with aromatics such as herbs, lemons slices or garlic.
- It's a lot easier to remove the head and tail once it's cooked, and these parts add flavour to the meat.
- Cook about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness (measured at the thickest part of the fish).
Recipe: Sheet-Pan Fish Dinner
- 1 white potato, medium
- 1 sweet potato , medium
- 1 whole body fresh fish (1 lbs more or less)
- Dry rosemary
- Fresh herbs (try thyme, rosemary, tarragon, anything on hand)
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- olive oil
- Half-full pint of cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, cut the potatoes into 1/4 slices.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a sheet pan
- Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and arrange on the pan in alternating colours
- Sprinkle with dry rosemary and salt
- Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan whole, salt and drizzle with olive oil.
- Pat the fish skin dry with a paper towel on both sides.
- Salt the fish inside and out, then drizzle the skin with olive oil and place in the middle of the sheet pan.
- Add fresh herbs and lemon slices inside the cavity of the fish. Place pan in preheated oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the fish.
- To test, take a thermometer and place inside the thickest part of the fish. A minumum reading of 145°F is done. To avoid overcooking, try to get it closest to this number as possible.