Good things are normally described as "the best thing since sliced bread" but truly great things should be described as "the best thing since sliced cheese" because that stuff is a serious time saver in our house.
When I first started making this recipe, it was a labour of love. I remember sitting at the kitchen table for hours shelling the pistachios. My fingers were raw afterwards.
Fast forward fifteen years and you can now buy shelled pistachios in the baking aisle. Young people today will never know the struggle of slicing their own cheese or peeling half a cup of pistachios!
Moroccan Snapper with Pistachio Rice
Yield 6 serves
This colourful and flavour-packed recipe is my favourite way to cook whole snapper. The pistachio rice acts as a delicious side to complement the fish. I could eat it at every meal!
Whole Snapper (allow 300 - 500g per person)
80ml peanut oil
2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp mustard powder
For the pistachio rice
2 cups cooked rice of your preference (we like brown or white for this recipe)
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp curry powder
75g toasted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
Heat butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add garlic, onion and curry powder, cook gently until translucent. Remove from heat.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Gently toast spices in a frying pan, until fragrant. Add spices to the oil.
Make deep cuts into each side of the fish. Place the fish on a large sheet of oiled foil.
Fill the fish cavity with the pistachio rice.
Brush both sides of the fish with the spiced oil.
Cover the fish in another sheet of oiled foil and carefully seal. Wrapping the fish in well-sealed foil means that it steams while baking - keeping it moist.
Cook the fish in the oven at 180C (160C fan forced) for 20-30 minutes per kilo. Remove from oven, cover and allow to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Resting will allow the juices that have risen to the surface, to seep back into the fish, keeping it moist throughout.
how to serve a whole fish at the table
Serving whole fish can be daunting, but it's easy when you know how, plus it looks super impressive on the table. Here are my tips for serving a whole fish at the table:
- Using a sharp knife, slice through the skin behind the gills of the fish.
- Make another slice through the skin just before the tail.
- Slice along the backbone of the fish before the dorsal fin. Run your knife along the entire length of the fish from the first to second cut.
- Use a fork and spoon to serve portions from the top side of the fish. Scoop down to the backbone, the flesh should come away from the skeleton easily.
- Make a slice on the other side of the fish, just before the tail.
- Lift the tail of the fish. The whole skeleton should lift away easily. If it doesn't you can assist it with a spoon. Discard the skeleton (or save it for fish stock). Remove the dorsal fin.
- Enjoy the second fillet.
The picture I used for this illustration is of a raw fish. I forgot to take a photo of the cooked version before I served it. You get the idea though! 😉