Broiling is a great method for browning the skin of a whole fish without one of those oval fish skillets. This is also one of my favorite ways to cook fennel. It soaks up orange and fish juices and gets beautifully caramelized and sweet.
Fish Substitutions: This recipe works with any whole fish that is small enough to fit under the broiler (under 2 1/2 Lb): Red snapper, Mediterranean bass, Black Bass, Trout, and Arctic Char are all good substitutions.
2 whole sea breams, scaled, gutted, gills and fins removed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (white part only)
Sections from 2 oranges (tip: see how to section an orange)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Herbs for garnish (fennel fronds, parsley, cilantro, or mint)
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the broiler. Wrap a broiling pan with foil.
- Rinse sea breams and thoroughly dry with paper towels in and out. Place in a broiling pan, season with salt and pepper in and out, and coat with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil.
- In a bowl, toss fennel and oranges with remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and spread over fish.
- Broil fish for 10 minutes flipping half way through cooking time. The bream will be done at this point. For fish substitutions thicker than 1 inch, turn the oven down to 425F, and finish cooking in the oven so that the total cooking time (broiling plus baking) is 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Check if the fish is done by inserting a knife between the top fillet and the back bone. If you meet no resistance and can gently start to lift the fillet off the bone, the fish is done.
- Place the fish on serving plates, top with fennel and oranges, and pour the juices from the broiling pan over fish. Sprinkle with herbs and serve.