Food blogger Jacqueline King Schiller just released a cookbook with her friend actress Abbie Cornish. Called Pescan, it celebrates feel-good foods and focuses on healthy fish preparations. Here she shares a recipe from the book.
I learned this recipe from my dear friend Faith, who is from Jamaica. She told me this is how they do it down in the islands, and, oh man, do they do it right! The fish comes out tender and flaky and the vegetables add the perfect balance of acidity, sweetness, and heat. — Jacqueline King Schiller
Island-Style Whole-Roasted Fish With Pickled Vegetables
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1⁄4-in.-by-2-in. strips
3 carrots, cut into 1⁄4-in.-by-2-in. strips
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1⁄2 lime, cut into 3 wedges, plus additional lime wedges for serving
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher sea salt and black pepper
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 whole firm white fish (3 lbs.), such as snapper or sea bass, gutted and scaled (see note)
1 small bunch thyme
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a loaf pan or small baking dish, combine the bell pepper, carrots, and half the onion. Squeeze the juice from the 3 lime wedges over the vegetables and toss. Add the spent rinds to the vegetables. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and 1⁄4 tsp. black pepper. Add 3 Tbsp. oil and the vinegar and toss again to coat.
3. Working on the baking sheet, rub the fish with oil and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Score the fish by cutting three deep diagonal lines along each side. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise and thinly slice it into half-moon shapes. Stuff each cut in the fish with slices of lemon and a branch of thyme. Fill the cavity of the fish with the remaining lemon, thyme, and red onion.
4. Put the fish and vegetables in the oven. Roast until the flesh of the fish is opaque and the vegetables are tender-crisp, 25-30 minutes.
5. Before serving, add the cilantro to the vegetables. You can serve the fish whole on a platter for a dramatic presentation and allow people to lift the fish away from the bones at the table, or you can go the more traditional route and cut the fish into fillets. Enjoy with the pickled vegetables and a wedge of lime.
Chef’s note: You can use two smaller white fish, such as branzino, in place of the large fish. They will cook more quickly, in about 20 minutes.