Whole Baked Fish With Dill

Course : Fish
Serves: 4
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3 pounds whole fish -- - preferably fresh
4 small shallots -- peeled finely chopped
8 medium mushrooms -- sliced
6 bunch fresh dill sprigs
1 teaspoon salt and white pepper to taste
1 tablespoons lemon juice -- to taste
1 tablespoons butter
1 cup clam juice or fish stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons beurre manie -- up to 3
1 whole dill sprigs
1 teaspoon dilled lemon slices

Preparation / Directions:

Enright writes: "In Canada, fresh whiting is sold most months, while springtime and summer bring a selection of...salmon, trout, pickerel and perch. Fresh or frozen fillets (sole, perch, haddock, turbot) may be substituted, but be sure to reduce cooking time." Have the fish "dressed," that is, scaled, eviscerated and fins removed. To behead or not is up to you. To bake fish, the rule of thumb is: 10 minutes per inch thickness of fresh fish (measured at its thickest point) or for frozen fish, 20 minutes cooking time for each inch thickness. Butter an oval baking dish large enough to hold fish. Sprinkle pan with half the shallots, mushrooms and dill sprigs. Lay fish on top. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Place remaining shallots, mushrooms and dill sprigs on top of fish; dot with butter. Combine clam juice or stock with white wine; pour around fish. Loosely cover pan with foil and bake at 450F until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Remove fish to heated platter. Debone and keep warm in low oven. Strain pan juices into a medium, heavy saucepan. Discard dill but reserve shallots and mushrooms. Add cream and boil over high heat to reduce sauce by one third. Whisk in beurre manie a bit at a time until the sauce is sufficiently thick. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add reserved shallots and mushrooms. Pour some sauce over baked fish and serve remainder separately. Garnish with whole dill sprigs and dilled lemon slices. (For these, mince dill and place on cutting board. Gently fold a lemon slice in half and roll onto the minced dill to form a center band of dill.) Serve with white rice seasoned with fresh lemon thyme and sautéed baby carrots or broiled tomato halves. From "Nancy Enright's Canadian Herb Cookbook" by Nancy Enright. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, 1985. Pg. 40. ISBN 0-88862-788-2.

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