I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fish and how we all need to be more mindful about what we buy. Fishermen throw an enormous amount of fish back to sea, and all because we, the public, don’t want it. While popular species, like cod and salmon, are seriously over-fished, the ugly ones, like gurnard, whiting, dog fish and pouting, are being wasted in vast quantities (see my post Plenty more fish in the sea). With that in mind, here’s my baked Asian-style gurnard. It’s quick and easy to make and will work with any other whole fish – just make sure you buy sustainably!
1 clove of garlic, peeled
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 fresh red chilli
½ a bunch of fresh coriander (if you have any leftover, wrap in kitchen paper and store in the fridge)
1 tablespoon honey
1 whole gurnard, gutted and cleaned
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 stick of lemongrass
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
Finely chop the garlic, ginger and half the chilli (keep the seeds in if you like the heat). Pick the leaves from a few coriander sprigs and set aside, then finely chop the stalks. Place it all into a bowl with the zest and juice of half a lime, and a splash each of soy sauce and oil (swap in another nutty oil if you don’t have sesame). Stir in the honey, then have a taste and adjust the flavours so there’s a nice balance of sweet and salty.
Using a sharp knife, score the gurnard three times on each side, then place on a large sheet of tin foil. Drizzle over the marinade, rubbing it into the scores and turning the fish over so it’s nicely coated. Stuff the spring onions into the cavity with the remaining coriander sprigs. Peel back the outer leaves from the lemongrass, bash with a rolling pin, then add to the foil.
Wrap the foil around the fish into a parcel, place on a baking tray, then put in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Open up the parcel, tear the reserved coriander leaves on top, then finely slice and scatter over the remaining chilli. Serve with sticky rice and greens.