Enjoying a predominantly pescatorian diet, finding a new fish to prepare is a real treat, such as these whole Jamaican Tilapia that I discovered at Diana's Seafood the other day. Diana's has a vast selection of fresh fish from all over the world, both whole and filets, but I'd never seen whole Jamaican Tilapia before — neither had my lovely lady fishmonger who regularly serves me at Diana's. When she's impressed, I'm impressed.
The whole tilapia are stuffed with lemon, dill, cilantro, mint and fresh sliced ginger
A fragrant sauce of soy, sesame oil, ponzu, rice vinegar and chopped green onion is poured overtop, then the tilapia are covered, sealed and baked at 425°F for 30-40 minutes
Steamed Whole Jamaican Tilapia with Ginger-Soy Sauce
2 whole Jamaican Tilapia, scaled and cleaned
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 handful of fresh dill
1 lemon, sliced
1 handful fresh mint
1 handful fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ponzu
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and liberally spread with vegetable oil to prevent the tilapia from sticking while steaming. Lay the tilapia on the foil, turn over in the vegetable oil to coat both sides, then lay to rest side by side on the foil lined tray. Stuff the tilapia with the dill, mint, cilantro, sliced ginger and 4 lemon slices.
In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, ponzu, sesame oil, rice vinegar then green onion, and pour over the tilapia. Cover the entire tray of tilapia with aluminum foil, so that it overhangs the edges. Seal the tray by crimping the foil around the tray and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the tilapia is cooked through.
Using 2 large spatulas, remove each whole tilapia and place on pre-warmeddinner plates. Garnish with the remaining lemon slices and top with a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately with a bone bowl on the side.