Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Tapenade
- 1 (4-pound) red snapper, cleaned and scaled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence or 1 teaspoon each dried basil, thyme, and rosemary
- 4 large plum tomatoes, cored and sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
- Tapenade, recipe follows
- 1 1/2 cups sliced yellow onions
- 2 cups pitted Nicoise or other brine-cured black olives
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the snapper under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Make 5 (3-inch) slits in each side. Season each side of the fish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the herbes de Provence. Bake the fish for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the fresh basil in a large bowl. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Remove the fish from the oven and thickly coat the top side of the fish, from just behind the head to just before the tail, with the tapenade. Layer the tomatoes on top of the tapenade, then top with the onions. Return the fish to the oven and bake until the juices run clear and the onions are beginning to crisp and slightly blacken around the edges, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
With a large spatula, gently lift the tomato and onion topping and underlying tapenade from the fish, and arrange around the edges of a serving platter. With 2 spoons, loosen the head from the body of the fish, lift it away, and discard. Run 1 of the spoons down the back of the fish and gently separate the flesh into the 2 fillets. Lift the top fillet onto the serving platter. Carefully lift the spine and other bones out of the fish and discard. Place the remaining fish fillet on the platter and serve.Tapenade:
Combine all the ingredients except the basil in the bowl of a food processor. Puree and then transfer to a bowl. Fold in the basil and set aside until needed, up to two hours, or refrigerate for up to three days in an airtight container.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
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