Roasted Whole Snapper with Tomato-Bread Salad

Mario Batali recommends using an electric carving knife to cut the roasted fish into bone-in steaks with mixed herbs and lemon slices in the center. You can also serve the fish more traditionally: Remove the skin and carefully lift the fillets off the bone.

Slideshow: More Healthy Fish Recipes

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  • Servings: 8

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  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 5- to 6-pound fresh whole red snapper or sea bass, cleaned and scaled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup mixed coarsely chopped herbs such as basil, thyme, flat-leaf parsley and fennel fronds
  • 4 large lemons, 2 thinly sliced, plus 2 cut into wedges, for serving
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 small green or underripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 medium cucumbers—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 squash blossoms (optional), torn into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded basil
  • 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves
  • 3 cups diced day-old white bread (1/2-inch)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a large roasting pan with foil. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper and set it in the pan. Stuff the cavity with the chopped herbs and sliced lemons. Drizzle the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the wine. Put the fish in the oven, increase the temperature to 475° and roast for about 35 minutes, or just until the fish flakes easily and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish registers 130°. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and vinegar. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, red onion, squash blossoms, basil and marjoram and toss well. Add the diced bread to the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss again to coat with the salad.

  3. Fillet the fish and transfer to plates. Garnish with the lemon wedges and pass the salad at the table.

Suggested Pairing

"Who says red wine can't go with white fish?" says Joe Bastianich. The balance of fruit and acidity in a Barbera from Vietti makes it a great match for this snapper.

Contributed By Published November 2004

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