12 Chef Upgrades for Roasted Fish

Redfish on the Half Shell © Quentin Bacon
By Kristin Donnelly Posted May 23, 2015

Whether served with a simple butter sauce or a Thai-style noodle salad, the roasted fish in these chef dishes really shine.

Whether served with a simple butter sauce or a Thai-style noodle salad, the roasted fish in these chef dishes really shine.

1. With caper butter. Maine chef Steve Corry uses the simple approach he’s known for when cooking vegetables to roast fish. After stuffing a whole branzino with rosemary and lemon and roasting it until cooked through, he tops it with a briny butter blended with capers.

2. With wine and tomatoes. TV personality Andrew Zimmern prefers his roast fish with a chunky tomato sauce, which he rubs all over the fish before roasting and serves the remaining alongside.

3. With panzanella. Instead of making a sauce, Mario Batali serves his roasted fish with a bold Italian-style bread salad tossed with plenty of vegetables.

4. “On the half shell.” Louisiana chef Donald Link discovered if you roast fillets skin side down with the scales still on, the bottom layer become super crisp, like a shell. You can then easily slide the fish off the skin to serve.

5. Salt-baked. If this classic Mediterranean method is good enough for Thomas Keller, it’s good enough for you. By coating a whole fish in a thick layer of salt, you essentially create an oven within an oven, sealing in the fish’s juices so the flesh is incredibly moist.

6. Greek-inspired. This roasted whole fish exemplifies the soulful but healthy food Michael Psilakis is known for. After cooking the fish over a pile of vegetables, he whisks together a quick lemon-olive oil yogurt to serve alongside.

7. With tomato vinaigrette. TV chef Ted Allen quickly cooks vinegar-soaked tomatoes with cumin and shallots in the same pan used to cook salmon fillets and then spoons them on top of the fish.

8. Japanese-inspired. If you’d like to get a taste of the subtle Japanese-French cooking style acclaimed chef Eric Ripert often employs, try this dish: a simply roasted monkfish in a sake broth with buttery turnip puree and honshimeji mushrooms.

9. En papillote. Legendary French chef André Soltner essentially steam-roasts fish in sherry by wrapping fillets with spring vegetables in parchment paper. The result: a moist, delicately flavored and very healthy dish.

10. With tamarind, ginger and chipotle. White fish tend to be best with simple flavors, but meaty salmon can stand up to bolder preparations, like chef Floyd Cardoz’s sweet-tangy-spicy-smoky rub.

11. With a mustard crust. Then again, if you have a piece of pristine and expensive wild Alaska salmon, keep it simple by roasting it with a whole-grain mustard rub.

12. With noodles and tomato jam. To turn roasted salmon into a larger meal, chef Pino Maffeo serves it over a Southeast Asian-style vermicelli salad with a spicy tomato jam.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: 28 Healthy Fish Recipes
How to Roast a Whole Fish
27 Fast Fish Recipes

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