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Whole Roasted Fish with Fennel

This recipe is adapted from Marilu Henner's "Healthy Life Kitchen" (Regan Books, 2002)

  • Servings: 4


  • 1 large bulb fennel, julienned, stalks and fronds reserved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole red snapper (5 to 7 pound), backbone removed, scaled, head and tail intact
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or vermouth
  • Fresh watercress, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add julienned fennel, shallots, and half the garlic. Cook, covered, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fennel mixture to a bowl, reserving oil in pan; season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley; set aside.

  2. Place fish in an oiled shallow baking dish large enough to hold fish. Spread fish open, and transfer fennel mixture to center of fish. Sprinkle with lime juice, and close fish. Tie together crosswise in 2 or 3 places using kitchen twine.

  3. Season fish with salt and pepper; rub with remaining garlic. Pour reserved oil over fish; cover with fennel stalks and fronds. Pour in white wine.

  4. Bake fish, basting often with juices from pan, until flesh is opaque and flakes slightly, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remove strings. Transfer to a large serving platter; garnish with watercress. Serve immediately.

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