Fish with the head? Served with the eyes staring at you? This is Asian cooking and, in Asia, we know that value of cooking a fish whole with the bones and with the head intact.
You prefer a sanitized appearance? No head and fish bones removed? You will get a bland dish. Fish fillet have its place in Asian cooking but for steamed fish, substituting fillets means sacrificing flavor for appearance. I really urge you not to go in that direction.
Baked Fish with Oyster Sauce
- Rinse the fish, including the cavity, then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Score the fish by making 3 to 4 diagonal incisions on both sides, about half an inch deep.
- Season with salt and pepper, rubbing the seasonings into the incisions.
- Finely mince the garlic.
- Cut the onion into very thin slices.
- Cut the ginger into matchsticks.
- Take two large pieces of aluminum foil. One should be about six inches longer than the fish and the other should be three-fourths longer than the first piece.
- Brush a tablespoonful of oyster sauce on each side of the fish.
- Lay the fish on the smaller piece of aluminum foil.
- Scatter the onion, garlic and ginger over the whole length of the fish.
- Cover with the longer piece of foil, pulling up the center to create a “tent”. Gather the edges of the top and bottom pieces of foil and fold inward two to three times. Do this with all four sides of the foil.
- Transfer the fish in the foil on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated 180C oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Take the fish from the oven, unroll the edges and carefully peel off the top piece of foil.
- Heat the sesame oil in a small pan until smoking and pour over the fish.
- Sprinkle the snipped cilantro and parsley over the fish and serve at once.