Q: I would appreciate advice on how to prepare a whole fish in the oven

A: One of the best ways to cook a whole fish cooked on the bone along with hearty accompaniments. This recipe, inspired from Saveur, is a Portuguese-style preparation where the fish is stuffed with herbs and cooked in foil with sausage, potatoes, clams, olives, and fennel. Take the fish to the table still enclosed in its shiny wrapper, then slash it open to serve. Any white fleshed fish will work for this dish including hake, cob, cape salmon and reds. For more on cooking whole fish, join the Wickedfood Cooking School seafood cooking class, where you will learn the secrets of cooking seafood with confidence on kettlebraais and gas barbecues.

Roast fish1 large bulb fennel
Salt, to taste
500g baby potatoes, halved lengthwise
4T extra-virgin olive oil
±300g chorizo , cut into 1cm-thick slices
±1,5kg whole cleaned fish
1 lemon, sliced into 1cm-thick half moons
Ground black pepper, to taste
10 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs parsley
±250g mixed olives, pitted
±12 small clams
1⁄2 cup white wine
Zest of 1 orange

  1. Trim and discard stalks from fennel; reserve 10 wispy fronds. Halve fennel bulb lengthwise; slice into 1cm-thick wedges.
  2. Bring 2L salted water to a boil in a large pot. Blanch fennel for 4 minutes; drain and set aside.
  3. Add potatoes to boiling water; reduce heat to medium; simmer until tender, ±15 minutes. Drain potatoes; set aside.
  4. Heat 2T oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until browned, ±5 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Heat oven to 220˚C.
  6. Cut 4 angled slits on each side of fish, to the bone. Put a lemon slice into each slit. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty foil. Transfer fish to foil. Rub with oil; season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with remaining lemon, thyme sprigs, and parsley. Arrange fennel, potatoes, sausages, olives, and clams around fish; sprinkle with remaining thyme. Drizzle with wine. Put another piece of foil over the top. Crimp edges together to form a packet.
  7. Roast for 35–40 minutes. Cut into foil; carefully pull back edges. Sprinkle with zest, remaining oil, and fennel fronds.


Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252 sunninghill@wickedfood.co.za

Runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. Classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.