I saw this whole red snapper in the display at Whole Foods recently and was overcome with nostalgia for times in my childhood when my mother would cook a whole fish for dinner and it was delicious.
I had this idea that I would bring it home, stuff it with a variety of herbs from the garden, and have my husband put it on the grill alongside some asparagus I had marinated in olive oil and crushed garlic.
But then my husband called and said he’d be home late, and there was no way I could face grilling a whole fish while single-handedly corraling two preschoolers. I was crushed. The fish would have to wait.
But then – surprise! – he came home on time anyway and would grill the fish! Yay!
Followed by a barrage of questions: Why would you get a whole fish? Couldn’t we afford to have it filleted? and What were you thinking of doing with it?
I guess I hadn’t thought it through completely as I had only a vague notion of how to cook it. Should I not have bought the fish after all? What was I thinking?
Luckily, my husband had a clearer vision. He stuffed it with butter, Italian bread crumbs, and chopped garlic. Then he wrapped it with some cooking wire (couldn’t find any twine) and placed it on the grill with the asparagus.
The fish turned out to be so delicious that not a morsel was left on the plate. While it wasn’t exactly like the fish of my memories, it may have been even better.
And the garlic-soaked asparagus? Irresistable!