Who says a Christmas feast requires toiling in front of a hot stove in smouldering South African summer heat? With this easy braaied whole fish with fennel and caper butter, the big lunch will be served in a jiffy!
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi
Assisted by Nomvuselelo Mncube
Photograph by Dylan Swart
Braaied whole fish with fennel and caper butter
On a big piece of foil, place a fresh medium-sized whole sustainable fish (scaled and gutted) – we used soldier fish but ask your fishmonger to recommend what is freshest on the day. Stuff the cavity of the fish with lemon slices, a handful fresh fennel leaves, a few peeled garlic cloves and a few knobs butter. Drizzle the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste before enclosing the fish in a foil parcel. If roasting in the oven, preheat the oven to 180˚C and bake, about 12 – 20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. If you are braaiing your fish, put the foil parcel on a grid above hot coals, about 6 minutes per side or until just cooked through. While the fish cooks, prepare your butter by combining 30ml (2 tbsp) chopped capers, a handful fresh chopped parsley, 1 peeled and minced garlic clove, the juice and zest of 1 lemon and 100g softened butter. Serve your fish warm, still in the foil, garnished with extra fresh fennel sprigs and lemon slices. Spoon dollops of the fennel and caper butter atop.