Whole Fish with Salsa Verde

11 Jul

whole fish with salsa verde

I did something a little blasphemous for the fourth of July this year. I hosted lunch, and I didn’t start up the grill or serve any red meat. It was really hot – the middle of a record-breaking heatwave, as a matter of fact – and I wanted a refreshing seasonal meal. I plucked as many herbs as possible from my garden and served up cucumber mint agua fresca, roasted vegetable quinoa salad, black bean burgers, and this fish (okay, and a little dessert I’ll be posting about on Friday). Nearly any type of fish will work in this simple preparation, packed with flavor from cilantro, scallions, and lime. The resulting dish is definitely refreshing and won’t leave you feeling lethargic on a hot summer day, perfect for my fourth of July meal.

Whole Fish with Salsa Verde (adapted from The New York Times)
Yield: 2 – 3 servings


  • 1 1/2 lbs whole fish*
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • 4 scallion bottoms**
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • salsa verde (see below)

*I think this recipe would work well with almost any fish, but sea bass or tilapia would be especially well suited. I used trout (due to price concerns). Depending on the fish, 1 1/2 lbs should be anywhere from 1 – 4 whole fish.
**Save from the salsa verde recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pat 1 1/2 lbs whole fish dry, and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil, then season the outside and cavity of each fish with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the fish to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Transfer the fish to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Divide 4 sprigs cilantro, 4 scallion bottoms, 1 lime, thinly sliced, and 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced between the fish cavities.
  5. Bake until the fish is just opaque and flakes when pressed gently with a fork, 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with salsa verde on top or alongside the fish.

Salsa Verde
Yield: about 1 cup


  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, green parts, sliced*
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp drained capers, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

*Save the bottoms for the fish.


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, 4 scallions, green parts, sliced, 1 jalapeno, finely chopped, 2 Tbsp drained capers, chopped, 1 clove garlic, minced, zest of 1 lime, and juice of 1 lime.
  2. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil.
  3. Season with freshly ground black pepper, then cover, and let stand until ready to use.

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