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Whole Fish with Green Pesto or Garlic and Lemon Butter

Whole Fish with Green Pesto

Whole Fish with Green Pesto or Garlic and Lemon Butter
Recipe by Daleen van der Merwe

Serves: 4
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 30—40 minutes


1 whole medium fish, gutted and scaled

salt and pepper
tin foil
½ t ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut in thin rings
olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
lemon wedges or slices, to garnish

Green pesto
25 g pine or macadamia nuts

½ clove of garlic
50 g mix of fresh basil, mint and parsley
olive oil
15 g Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated
½ lemon
pinch black pepper


Garlic and lemon butter
¼ cup butter, softened

1­ ½ t grated lemon zest
½ clove garlic, finely chopped
½ t finely chopped fresh parsley
pinch of salt
pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 180 °C and set a baking tray inside to warm. Pat the fish dry, inside and out. And if needed, run your knife along the cavity to open it up some more. Salt and pepper generously inside and on both sides outside, then place on a lightly oiled piece of foil that is large enough to enclose the fish.

Mix the cumin, garlic, parsley and dill and spread it inside the fish cavity. Stuff the fish cavity with the lemon slices and onion rings. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Fold the foil over the fish, tightly closing the top seam to trap the steam.

Place the foiled fish on top of the hot baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Serve immediately with the pesto or garlic and lemon butter.

Garnish with lemon wedges or slices

Green pesto
Blitz the nuts, garlic and herbs with a stick blender or in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil – it must not be too runny and blitz just to mix. Add the cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice to taste then season with the pepper and give it a final blitz.

Garlic and lemon butter
In a small bowl, beat all ingredients until blended.

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