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Roasted Middle Eastern Stuffed Branzino

Serves 4
For those of you who find eating fish off the bone an earthly delight, know you are not alone and just in case you didn’t know, a renaissance is underway. For those who don’t, this might be a good moment to face your fears and allow your Funkyt Fishmonger to virtual hug the scary stuff away...or not.

2 Whole large (11⁄2 pounds each) or 4 small (1 pound each) Branzini scaled and gutted with the head on. You could also use Red Snapper or Sea Bass
4 tablespoons of olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 large onions halved and sliced very thin
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
2 teaspoons of finely minced preserved lemon rind...Metro has these so don’t fret
The juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup of fresh chopped Cilantro leaves
1⁄2 cup of fresh chopped Parsley (Flat or Curley)
Salt and Finely Grated Black Pepper
Lemon wedges to serve


How it’s done

Preheat your oven to 425° degreesBrush the bottom of a roasting pan with a little olive oil. Season the Branzini inside and out generously with salt and pepper and place in the pan; set aside at room temperature.Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and sauté the onions until just starting to color and season with salt.Add the garlic, turmeric, crushed red pepper, and fennel seeds and cook for another minute, then add the preserved lemon rind, cilantro, and parsley and stir for 1 minute.Add the lemon juice and then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper; remove from heat. Once the onion mixture is just cool enough to handle, stuff the onion mixture inside each fish and scatter the rest around the fish (Allow the Fish to come to room temperature 30-40 minutes). Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the fish and place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is just opaque when fork tested and the flesh just comes off the bone.To serve, transfer the fish to a larger serving platter and spoon over any pan juices and garnish with lemon wedges. If you’re still a little freaked out about eating the fish whole, then for the love of Cod, don’t look at me eating whole fish, it’s like watching a Shark attack a seal...yes, it’s brutal but it is in my nature.

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