Here’s one of those meals which takes me back to the Caribbean, but not as a child… as we never had this version of fish growing up in our house. I think the only fish dish we had which came out of the oven, was when mom made baked salmon. However, it does give a level of comfort as it reminds me of my travels throughout the Caribbean as an adult (tourist).
1 2-3 lb fish (I prefer ocean fish)
2 scallions (chopped)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
2 pimento peppers (sliced)
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 stalk celery (diced)
4 cloves garlic (divided)
10 okra (divided)
1.5 lbs pumpkin (divided – dice and sliced)
8 small bell peppers
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (divided)
1 teaspoon sea salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
6-8 sprigs thyme (divided)
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
NOTE! If doing this dish gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your gluten free dietary requirements.
Prep the vegetables.
Lets prepare the stuffing for the fish as I want it cool before use. In a saucepan add a tablespoon and a half of olive oil, followed by the diced onion, celery (including any leaves), scallions, 1/2 the thyme (leaves only) and stir.
After 3 minutes on low heat, add 1/4 the black pepper, 1/2 the salt, 3/4 cup diced pumpkin, 1/2 the garlic, 4 okra cut into 1 cm wheels and continue cooking on low.
Add the pimento peppers (1/2 cup diced bell peppers will work too), grated ginger (the ginger will give it a peppery note) and stir well.
5 minutes and you can turn off the stove and allow it to cool.
It’s time to make the sort of dressing. Add 1/3 cup olive oil to a bowl and mix in the remaining salt, black pepper and the remaining thyme leaves, garlic and lemon juice. Whisk!
I washed and prepped my fish (pat the fish dry), then I sprayed my baking tray with cooking spray (oil). I then made made 3 cuts down the belly of the fish holding my knife on a 45 degree angle (watch the video below). Now it’s time to pour or brush on the dressing we made. Get the belly cavity and make sure some gets into the cuts we made too. For easier clean-up after may I recommend lining your baking tray with foil or parchment paper.
Now it’s time to add the ‘cooled’ stuffing we made earlier into the belly cavity of the fish. Yes, it will spill out.. we want this actually.
To make it to a full meal, it’s time add the remaining pumpkin (skin on is fine), remaining okra and tiny sweet bell peppers. Spoon on the remaining dressing to cover everything.
- add a bit more salt and black pepper on top of everything if you want.
Sprinkle on the brown sugar on the pieces of pumpkin to add a bit more sweetness as it roast. I sliced the pumpkin about 1 1/2 cm thick.,
Into a 425 F (preheated) oven on the middle rack uncovered as we want to get that oven-grilled effect (char) on everything.
Feel free to sprinkle on some fresh lemon or lime juice as you take it out of the oven. This is guaranteed to become a HIT in your house. Feel free to use your fav fish in making this dish. Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @ CaribbeanPot.com/CookBook/