Recipe: Herb-stuffed Silverfish
Also known as carpenter, Kapenaar and doppie, the silverfish is considered a sustainable option only if caught using the traditional linefishing method of rod and reel. The alternative method of inshore trawl-netting often results in the by-catch of seabirds and other marine species such as sharks, rays and endangered fish. When buying fish like this one, always purchase from a reputable fishmonger or fisherman and ask how the fish was caught.
A medium-sized fish with a shiny skin of pale pink, silverfish are a relatively affordable seafood choice. One fish can easily feed two people and they offer a firm, tasty flesh that works well with Mediterranean flavours. Be sure to ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish for you to save time.
Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 25 minutes / Serves: 4
- 3-4 fresh silverfish, gutted and scaled
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- About 4 sprigs each of fresh Italian parsley, rosemary, sweet basil, sage and oregano, washed
- 25ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large lemons
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry with paper towel. Using a sharp knife, cut three diagonal slits into one side of each fish. Season with salt and pepper, being sure to include the stomach cavity and the slits. Arrange the fish, slit-side up on a lined baking sheet or roasting dish. To make a marinade, take one sprig from each of the herbs, remove any woody stalks and chop finely. Add to a bowl with the olive oil. Zest and juice one lemon and crush the garlic cloves, adding them to the marinade. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Take the remaining herbs and tie into small bunches (bouquet garni) with kitchen string – use one bunch for each fish. Slice the remaining lemons thickly and stuff each fish with the slices and bouquet garni. Drizzle the marinade over each fish, making sure to spoon it liberally into the cavity and the slits. Roast the fish at 180°C for 20 to 24 minutes until the flesh is no longer translucent and pulls away easily from the skin. Remove the herb bouquets and serve the silverfish immediately with a simple green salad and a loaf of crusty bread on the side.