Whole fish being held by Wild Seafood company employee

Erin’s Whole Fish Recipe

Best fish to use

Small Whole Fish, scaled, finned and gilled (Red Snapper, Lane Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Vermillion Snapper, and Porgy work well for this recipe)


Olive oil
Preferred dry seasoning
Vegetables to stuff belly cavity (such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, and bell peppers)
Rosemary (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse fish in cool water and pat dry
  3. Make 3-5 vertical score marks on both sides of the fish
  4. Coat with a light amount of olive oil, inside and out.
  5. Rub your seasoning (salt and pepper, and your preferred dry seasoning mix) through the score marks and inside the belly cavity as well. I like using Braswell’s Fin and Fish Seasoning for this.
  6. Add your vegetables to the belly cavity. I like to use what I have on hand instead of following a direct recipe. This can be as simple as lemon slices and garlic. Halved cherry tomatoes, julienned carrots, celery, and bell peppers work nicely as well. Optional, add a sprig of fresh rosemary.
  7. I like to add a small pat of butter with the vegetables in the belly cavity
  8. Close the fish up, and finish off with half a lemon squeezed on the outside of the fish
  9. Wrap fish in foil and bake until the flesh becomes tender, and flakes easily off the bone (cooking duration depends on the size and thickness of your fish. For a 1-2lb, cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, and then let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting to serve).
  10. Let cool slightly, and then make a cut around the head. You can either eat directly off the bone, or use a sharp knife to separate the top fillet from the backbone and move using a sharp metal spatula. Once the top fillet is off the bone, pick up the tail and lift the backbone up to the head and set aside. This should come apart easily, removing most of the bones and leaving the second fillet ready to eat.
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