"A whole fish is a great way to celebrate - people can all join in at the table and have a good go at it," says Camorra. "This is one of my favourite dishes, and the best part of it for me are the potatoes - they've been sitting under that fish, taking on all that flavour of the peppers and the onions. I like to take the fish out of the oven once it's cooked and let the potatoes bake a little longer, just so they get a little crisp and take on another dimension of flavour."
- 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 each red and green capsicum, thinly sliced
- 1½ onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 6 fresh bay leaves
- 3 ripe vine-ripened tomatoes
- 3 whole baby snapper (about 500gm each)
- 3 lemons, thinly sliced
- 4 waxy potatoes, such as Nicola, sliced into 5mm-thick rounds
- 100 ml dry white wine
Ajo y perejil
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1Heat 75ml oil in a large pan over low-medium heat, add capsicum, onion, half the garlic and half the bay leaves and stir occasionally until onion is tender (15-20 minutes). Season to taste and set aside.
- 2Blanch tomatoes until skins split (30 seconds-1 minute), refresh and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel, remove seeds (discard), finely chop and set aside.
- 3For ajo y perejil, process ingredients in a blender to a fine purée, season to taste and set aside.
- 4Preheat oven to 180C. Remove fins and spines from snapper with kitchen scissors (discard), rinse under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent paper and place in a large bowl with remaining garlic and several pinches of sea salt and rub into fish well. Season the cavity of each fish with salt and in each place a reserved bay leaf and several lemon slices (reserve some lemon slices to garnish).
- 5Drizzle a little oil in the base of a roasting pan large enough to fit fish in a single layer. Spread one-quarter of the capsicum mixture in base, layer potato over and season to taste. Spread remaining capsicum mixture over, season to taste and scatter with tomato. Top with fish, pour wine over, drizzle with remaining oil, spoon ajo y perejil over, scatter with remaining lemon and roast until fish is just cooked through (30-35 minutes). Transfer fish to a large warmed platter, cover and keep warm. Cover pan with foil, return to oven and cook until potato is tender (50-60 minutes;
if snapper is too cool, return to oven for the last 10 minutes). Serve hot with snapper.