You will need a pan big enough to lay the fish in but make
sure that it also fits into your oven.
Salt and pepper your fish inside and out. Lay it out in the
pan and arrange the garlic cloves around and over the fish.
Don’t forget the slit where the fish has been gutted; tuck a
few pieces in there too as well as salt and pepper. Pour a
generous amount of olive oil over the fish and add a cup or
two of water – not a lot as you want the fish to steam mainly
in it’s own juices.
Heat your oven to 300F. Cover the pan with aluminum foil,
sealing all the edges well and put into the oven to bake.
Depending on the size of your fish, you will bake it from 1-2
hours total. It is done when the meat is flaky.
Let the fish stand at room temperature a few minutes before
serving. This will make it easier to portion out. Beginning at
the neck or tail end and using a spatula or a large flat spoon
gently cut into the fish just half way deep so that the
utensils run against the spine. This will give you beautiful
portions with minimal bones. Remember to spoon some of the
broth from the pan over each portion and to serve lemon halves
for those that would like a squeeze or two. When the top half
of the fish has been served, discard the spine and serve the
Susie's Note: In my family, it's the head
of the fish that is the most sought after portion. Though I've
never been brave enough to try it, they tell me that it truly
is the best part. It sort of snaps apart like a softer version
of steamed crabs and is eaten pretty much the same way. So if
you're daring enough, give it a go!