Neil Perry’s Roast Whole Snapper with Fennel and Olives

Serves: 4

This is a smashing Neil Perry dish, delivered by Nat as a late, slow lunch this past week between Christmas and NYE.

Served alongside with an amazing avocado salsa (I know!), potatoes with salsa verde, broccolini sautéed with garlic and chilli and a bottle of Champagne, this was a post Christmas super-treat.

So fresh, so aromatic, so Mediterranean.

I have a particular affection for people that cook and serve whole fish.

It says a lot about them.

And it dials up any meal. It makes for a special meal.

(Explains my affection for Nat.)

Dive into this one Sunday lunch and you’ll have smiles all around.

Dedication

We’re dedicating this recipe to our great friends Josh and Leesh and especially their new son. Congratulations on your new, little man Charlie:

Josh is the avid fisherman and Leesh is a kitchen wizard.

No couple would seem to catch or cook so many whole fish as these two. Looking forward to a long lunch – and whole fish – once Charlie’s a little bit older.

We’ll bring some solid whites!

Ingredients

4 small whole snapper (400 – 500gms) or 1 large (1.5kg – 2kg)
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
2 tbsp oregano, chopped
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red capsicum, cut in half and finely sliced
1 green capsicum, cut in half and finely sliced
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and quartered
2 tbsp salted baby capers, rinsed and drained
6 anchovies
150gm Ligurian olives (Nat used green olives)
Sea salt
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Neil’s Avocado Salsa

1 avocado, ripe though not mushy
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 vine-ripened tomato, peeled, deseeded and finely diced
2 spring onions, cut into rings
1 red capsicum, cut in half, core removed and finely diced
2 tbsp finely shredded flat leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 drops Tabasco sauce

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Take a roasting tin and check that it fits your fish. (Use two tins if necessary.) Scatter the onion, fennel, oregano and thyme over the bottom of the tin and drizzle with half the extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Put the fish on top and cover with the capsicum, tomato, capers, anchovies and olives. Salt liberally and pour the rest of the oil and wine over. Cook smaller fish for 25 minutes or until cooked, basting every 5 minutes or a larger fish for 1 hour.
  3. Place the fish on individual plates or a platter. Spoon the sauce and vegetables over and add the parsley and pepper.
  4. Serve with a big dollop of the salsa. (Plus potatoes of some variety, a green of some variety, Champagne, white wine and plenty of cold beer!)

Avocado Salsa

  1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and cut the flesh into a fine dice; put in a stainless steel bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stir together, check the seasoning and enjoy.

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