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Friday, May 4, 2012

Fish Baked in a Bag Neapolitan Style (Pesce al Cartoccio alla Napoletana)

Mr. Pesce before, taking a soak.......

.......Mr. Pesce after his unveiling, his head fell off so I stuffed some parsley there : )

Chopping my garlic/herbs with my new mezzaluna !
Whenever a dish is called alla Napoletana it simply means it is cooked in the Neapolitan style: lightly dressed in olive oil, lemon, herbs, and garlic. This dish is a favorite way of cooking a whole fish and years ago Italians used a paper bag or cartoccio that was wet down real well, in fact I remember my Father cooking fish this way using a Piggly Wiggly grocery bag and we were all so worried the house would burn down. Our fears were quickly diminished as he presented us with an artistically folded package and carefully unveiled a magnificent fish with it's lovely little eyeball staring up in awe as if it felt honored to give it self up for such an artistic statement. Now a days Neapolitans use  parchment paper or foil which takes away somewhat from the wow factor but it also cuts down on the fear factor : )
1 whole fish around  2 pounds with head and tails still on but gutted and cleaned Costco already does this for you (Red Snapper is usually what I get)
2 lemons (1 for soaking 1 for serving)
olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
parsley about 4 tablespoons after chopped (You can also use other fresh herbs)
dried oregano
sea slat and fresh black pepper
Soak the fish in water with lemon juice from 1 lemon and some salt for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400
Chop your herbs along with the garlic finely. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil salt and pepper and mix together.
Drain the fish and dry off.
Lay out a large piece of parchment onto a cookie sheet and rub olive oil all over.
Now add a little of the herb/oil mixture and place the fish on top.
Rub the herb/oil mixture all over the top and inside the cavity.
Fold the top and bottom of the parchment paper together two or three times, and then fold in the sides several times to completely seal the pouches.
Bake for 15 minutes each side or more if larger than 2 pounds.
Cut the remaining lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half all over along with a drizzle of olive oil.
Slice the other half of lemon into thin slices.
Serve with these lemon slices.
 I like to first present Mr. Psece to my family--insert applause-- then I return it to the kitchen counter and de-bone it placing the meat on the individual plates. My de-boning are skills are not that good so my fish was more in chunks than fillets and I also had to warn my family to be careful about any bones I may have left which I did : ) But it was worth it, the flavor was so fresh and the meat was so tender! If you want to know how to de-bone here is a good video:De-Bone a Whole Red Snapper Video


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Wow it's a thing of beauty! A whole fish is still too intimidating for me, but I love the flavors you've incorporated here. fresh, light & refreshing! When I get brave enough to tackle a whole fish I'm going to use this recipe. Sounds delicious!

Ann Minard said...

Thanks Andrea I do want to learn more about de-boning fish though I am a bit of a messy impatient person : )