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Threadfin5 gave Nadia one of his Snaps caught on the weekend http://www.akff.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=61748 - he also pointed us towards this. Last night Nadia cooked this and loved it - as I am allergic to sea food I could only watch with envy. Thought it was worth a share.

Taken from Karen Martini.

Whole fish always presents well - it's a lovely festive dish to bring to the table.
For this one, you'll need to chat to your fishmonger beforehand: ask them to gut the snapper but leave the scales and fins intact. The method of soaking the fish in a salt slurry seasons the fish beautifully, then baking it sets the scales hard, allowing the fish to steam in its own scaly jacket. It results in moist, delectable flesh, making it a beautiful centrepiece to a feast.

2 kg whole gutted snapper with scales and fins intact
100 grams flaked salt
6 long red chillies, split, optional
frying oil for chillies, optional
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 clove garlic, finely grated
100 ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 220˚C.

Make a long incision as close as possible to the snapper's head on each side to allow the skin to be easily pulled back once cooked. Mix the salt in a bowl with just enough water to make thickish slurry then rub it onto both sides of the fish. Leave the fish to sit for 20 minutes on a tray, turning every 5 minutes so that the entire fish is coated evenly.

The chillies are an optional garnish. If you want to use them, heat a few centimetres of oil in a small pot and deep-fry the chillies for 2 minutes until they are blistered and shiny.

Place the cumin seeds in a dry, heavy-based pan and toast for a few minutes until fragrant. Allow to cool slightly then crush in a mortar and pestle. Make a dressing by mixing the cumin, pepper, garlic and olive oil.

Remove fish from tray, discarding juices. Place fish in a baking dish lined with baking paper. Place in oven and cook for 40 minutes then remove and rest for 5 minutes to finish cooking through.

Roll back the skin as though you were opening a sardine tin to expose the flesh and dress generously with the cumin dressing and lemon juice.

The fish works wonderfully with my Moroccan carrot, date and green chilli salad, and I also like to serve it with baked butter rice with walnuts and fetta.
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