Roasting a whole fish is easier than you think, and it’s one of the most delicious ways to prepare medium to large-sized fish such as sea bass, branzino, or mahi mahi. Plus, it looks impressive and stunning. This recipe, written by Wine4Food contributor Garima Kothari, calls for a marinade of spices and yogurt that tenderizes and elevates this simple dish to new levels of deliciousness.
The tanginess of the yogurt and citrus call for a wine pairing of equal acidity, while the browned fish skin from high-heat roasting brings a deep savoriness that takes us away from Sauvignon Blanc territory. Instead, we chose the Maggio Chardonnay from California: acidic enough to delightfully cut through and match the fatty, tangy yogurt while robust enough to complement those deep, maillard notes of roasted fish. (The Maillard reaction is the scientific term for that magic that happens when food gets browned from heat and richly toasty.)
Garima Kothari’s Mauritian Whole Fish
- 1 large whole fish (sea bass, branzino, mahi mahi), scaled & gutted
- 1 cup yogurt (can also use plant-based yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2-3 serrano chilis, slit
- juice of half lime or lemon
- 1/2 lb red russet potatoes
- Seasoning of choice- paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
Heat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, or grease with cooking spray.
Give your fish one final good rinse once you’re ready to cook, then lightly pat it dry with paper towels. Use a sharp knife to lightly score the top of the fish in diagonal lines about 1-inch apart.
Mix together yogurt with paprika, cumin, ginger powders and salt. Brush the fish generously on both sides with this mixture. Spoon some mixture in the cavity as well. Place the slit chilis in the cavity. Let the fish marinate for 20-30 minutes.
In the meanwhile, cut the potatoes in halves and then in chunky slices. Season these chinks with your choice of seasoning.
Spread these potatoes around the fish. Roast for 18-20 minutes, or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145°F and flakes easily with a fork. (Cooking time will vary depending on the size and variety of your fish.) This process can be done on a grill as well.
Remove from the oven, and squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon half evenly over the top of the fish. Serve warm with yogurt, lemon slices, and cilantro!