Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Garlic and Herb Baked Mangrove Jack Recipe

Let's face it. Farmed Mangrove Jacks are going to be a regular occurrence because of religious fish release groups in Singapore. In fact, it is now one of the most common fish caught at Changi waters and the reason is that it is probably one of the cheaper fish to release. Such activities won't disappear overnight and is also starting to occur at the Southern Islands side. Some of the fishing boats have already caught farmed fish there.

So what can we do as anglers? I don't think we are able to structurally change culture that fast but one thing we can do is the cull these species as they are able to spread bad genes and diseases to our wild fish. In time, they may also possibly alter behaviours of wild fish. Rather than choose to lament, let's find ways to enjoy our fishing hobby in Singapore.

Hence, below I present to you an easy baked garlic and herb mangrove jack recipe. You can also use it for golden snapper, red snapper and barramundi or rather all fishes even! I use leftover vegetables from my fridge as this is usually a work from home lunch meal and you can do the same too. This way is usually more sustainable for me.

Recipe*

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • Sea salt as desired
  • Black pepper as desired
  • Chopped dill weeds
  • 2 table spoon melted butter
  • Lemon slices
* Feel free to substitute using your own herbs mix like Italian herbs or cajun style.

      Method
      • Pre-heat the oven to 220 Degrees Celsius
      • Lay the fish on a baking tray or pan. Pat away excess water and ensure fish is dry. If your fish is above 1kg, I recommend making some slits on the body to ensure even cooking.
      • Rub herbs, garlic and onion over the body. Do adjust the salt level according to your taste. 
      • Stuff lemon slice, garlic and some salt into the stomach area.
      • Line the vegetables of your choice along side the fish and rub down with herb mix, garlic, onion and salt. Remember to give some space between the vegetables and fish to allow heat circulation. I recommend using more crunchy and solid vegetables such as broccoli, corn, cauliflowers so that they don't dry out too fast.
      • Top off the fish with some melted butter or olive oil. This will give it a good crisp and char.
      • Bake at 220 degrees for 25 mins for a 1kg fish, 20 mins for a 800g fish and 30 mins for a 1.2kg fish.
      • Note that the key to a good baked fish is temperature and quickness. Too long and it will dry away. In fact, you can just use salt and pepper and it will still turn out well.
      Some pictures on preparation and how the final dishes will turn out below:

      Ran out of garlic so used mostly minced onions! A quality roasting pan will make the job easier.

      Done! A very easy meal for two.

      Experimented with fried pork lard. It lent excellent flavour to the red snapper! Note that red snapper is one of the more premium fishes to use for baking. Excellent texture.
      Turned out super crusty and rich taste.

      Crispy skin, juicy flesh
      Perfect doneness!

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