Preparation / Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F.
Remove gills and eyes from the fish and make sure the cavity is well cleaned. It is best to cook the fish with the head on. This will make for a beautiful table presentation. Season the inside cavity well with salt, pepper and Louisiana Gold. Stuff each fish with equal parts of thyme, basil, dill, bay leaves and lemon slices. Using a sharp knife, cut three diagonal slits across the top fillet of each fish.
This will assist in the flavoring as well as the presentation of the dish. Place purple onions on the bottom of a large baking pan. Add fish and season to taste using salt, pepper and Louisiana Gold. Set aside.
In a black iron Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomatoes, tomato juice and sauce. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook ten to fifteen minutes.
Add basil, thyme and bay leaves. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Remove from heat and pour hot sauce over the stuffed fish. Garnish with lemon slices, green onions and parsley. Cover with foil and bake approximately thirty minutes. When cooked, remove to a large serving platter and top with sauce.
Garnish with fresh herbs.
Source: Chef John Folse