The Whole-Fish Recipe You Need

HI, I’m Darnell Lamont Walker, and I’m addicted to…FOOD.

I tiptoe the line when it comes to food. On one side is LOVE and on the other is OBSESSION. I bribe myself with delicious things when I have to get work done and I find myself pussyfooting far too much. And believe it or not, it’s often my reason for choosing my travel destinations. During my last visit to Jalisco, I ordered what I always order on my first day in a coastal spot: a whole fish. It was so good, I needed to pick apart the ingredients and try to recreate it when I got home. Here’s what happened:

*disclaimer: I LOVE LOVE LOVE garlic, so if this seems like a lot, feel free to pull back*

Preheat the Oven to 425


Spice Mix:
2tbsp Fennel Seeds
1tbsp Coriander Seeds
1tbsp Cumin Seeds
2tbsp Black Pepper
1 Broken Cinnamon Stick
6 Chile de Arbol (great alternative: Japones)
2tbsp Sea Salt

The Fish:
2lbs. Red Snapper (great alternatives: tilapia, sea bass) – scaled and gutted.
*the first time I made this, I used 4 1lb. whole fish*

The Oil (Mix Together):
1 Cup of Olive Oil
1/3 Cup of Minced Garlic

The Poached Garlic:
2 Sticks of Salted Butter
Whole Garlic (As Many Cloves of Garlic As You Can Fit Covered)
7 Chile de Arbol
3tbsp Lime Juice

Minced Garlic


The Spice Mix:
In a sauté skillet, toast all but the pepper and salt on low heat until it’s giving a smoky, but very delicious odor. When the smell hits your nose, add in the pepper and salt and keep toasting for 2 more minutes, constantly stirring.

The Spice Mix

Poached garlic:
In a small sauce pan, on medium heat, melt the butter and add garlic cloves until cloves are all completely covered. Once bubbling, add in the Chiles. When the butter has browned, add the lime juice. Keep cooking until the cloves are extra sensitive and give to the touch of your fork. Roughly 25-30 minutes.

Poached Garlic[/caption]

The Fish:
In your oven dish, score the fish as many times as you need. Of course, this depends on the size of your fish, but 4 or 5 times is usually enough on each side.

The Scored Fish (Tilapia Was Used Here)[/caption]

Freely sprinkle your Spice Mix all over both sides of your fish, making sure you get some in the cuts as well and inside. Next, freely pour your garlic oil all over the fix. It’s a whole bath! In the belly slits, place a slice of lime and slices of garlic.

Place it in the oven for 35 minutes, flipping to the other side halfway through.

When the fish is out and has been plated, grab your poached garlic sauce and pour on your fish to your heart’s delight, being sure to add a few whole cloves onto the fish for a beautiful presentation.

Add a few slices of fresh lime on the plate to kick up the taste every so often.

I served mine with refried beans and coconut rice. OMG! Delicious!

To Note:
You can also grill or sauté the fish! Either way, you will love it.

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.