Baked Whole Trout
My daughter was diagnosed in 2008 with Crohn's Disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease believed to be autoimmune in etiology. Neither the cause nor the process of the disease is actually very well understood, I've learned in researching online and talking to many different medical specialists over the years.
When speaking with dieticians and nutritionists, the confusion deepened for me - the first hospital dietician we spoke with, for example, recommended the 'unhealthy' diet of super-processed foods, stating that fresh produce was quite irritating to inflammatory bowel patients. This seemed counterintuitive; actually, that's an understatement. I was astonished (and many other superlative adjectives, such as 'flabbergasted' and 'appalled') that any dietician would suggest such a thing, though I grant there is a rationale to it.
Oh so good for you...?!?
On the opposite extreme, the advice I received from raw-food advocates was equally unhelpful, given its impractical application in cases of intestinal irritability and inflammation. Either way, my daughter's symptoms worsened rather than improving.
This frustration went on for years; finally, however, after we moved to California, we discovered a more moderate school of thought that incorporated aspects of both mainstream allopathic medicine and effective dietary regimen changes. The change was helpful, but not as effective as it could be, I felt.
When I was dating my now-husband, he realized the seriousness of my daughter's illness when we ended up in the Emergency Room for most of one night due to a severe flare-up of her inflammatory process. He is from Japan, where they have a much more pronounced dietary emphasis on treatment methods; so after the incident in the ER, he researched Japanese medical websites and printed out lists of foods found to be good, bad, or questionable in either direction for all of us to examine.
Fortunately, our family has always enjoyed Japanese food, so my daughter was quite happy to apply many of the recommended changes.
As a result, we have been experimenting with food and preparation methods to optimize health - not only for her, but for all of us. One of the major changes we've made is to incorporate a lot more fresh whole fish. These used to intimidate me, since - *blush* - I did not know what to do with a whole fish. However, it surprised and gratified me to discover that it is neither as complicated nor as difficult as I imagined it would be. We have found nothing but benefits in doing this: the fish is far less expensive, it's better for us, and many of the recipes are both quick and easy.
That said, this one is a little more complex than others; however, it's still quite simple and well worth it for those who are interested.
This is the first time I've ever attempted to share a recipe; I hope you'll forgive me if it is clumsily presented in any way. Please enjoy, and let me know what you think if you try it out!
Here's what you start with!
- 5 lbs fresh salmon, whole
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 large lemon, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup honey, pref. raw/ local/ fresh
- 1/4 cup or to taste soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- marjoram (or other preferred spice), sprinkled
Prepped with oil, onion, and lemon!
- While it is possible to gut and scale the fish yourself, it saves time and effort to ask the seafood experts to do so at the market; they will often do it without extra charge. That done, I cut the head and tail off first so I have a better idea what pan to use, etc. Next, lay the fish on a sheet of aluminum foil in - or on - your chosen pan.
- If you've had the fish gutted, it is already split along the belly; if not, you'll need to do that yourself and remove the guts. When done along the midline, the spine and attached bones are exposed, making them easier to remove. Removing the bones can be done either before or after cooking; I find it's often easier after cooking, but opinions are divided on this. In any case, open the fish wide on the foil.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush both halves of the fish with olive oil. Slice the lemon and the onion, then spread on top of the fish. Salt and pepper to taste can be added at this stage, if you want it. I don't add it, since I think it's unnecessary with the richness of flavor already present in the recipe. Also, people can add it later if so desired, depending on individual preference.
- Wrap the fish in tin foil; use multiple pieces folded together, if necessary, but leave it relatively easy to access so you can brush on the sauce later. Bake foil-wrapped fish in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- While baking, combine soy sauce, garlic, and honey in small bowl. Stir well.
- Remove fish from oven, unwrap to allow access to meat. Open the fish, then brush on the honey-soy-garlic sauce to coat both halves. Re-wrap fish in foil, then put back in oven to bake about 15 more minutes, or until fish flakes easily to fork/ chopsticks.
- Remove from oven, then sprinkle marjoram or preferred spice over meat, if desired. Enjoy! We eat this with white rice and blanched fresh vegetables, often sugar snap peas and carrots.