I adore the Mediterranean style of roasting a whole fish with citrus and herbs. Branzino is traditional overseas and widely available in the U.S., but any local white, flaky fish can be used in its place.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
2 whole branzino or other white-fleshed whole fish, butterflied*
2 leeks cut into thin strips
1 to 2 Meyer lemons cut into thin rounds with one wedge reserved
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Place fish on a roasting pan open and flesh side up. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both fish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over each fish. Line one side of the fish with lemon slices, top with a generous amount of leeks and 2 sprigs of thyme. Fold the empty side onto the filled side. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Cook for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
*Butterflied simply means that the fish has been slit from its chest down to the tailfin and can be opened like a book. I ask my fishmonger to do it for me. If you don't have a willing fishmonger, any whole fish will have a slit down the belly because it has been cleaned. You can either stuff the ingredients into that slit or take a knife and cut from the bottom of the slit to the tail.