It's L.A. Time!!!

     So this is the first official contribution of my good friend, Chef Manolo Acha, in collaboration with Babe for Food. Just simple gourmet recipes you can do at home. I will be calling this weekly segment "It's L.A. Time!!!" unless Chef Manolo has objections. Enjoy! :)

Roasted Whole Snapper w/ Pico de Gallo

prep time: 30 mins

cooking time: 20-25 mins


3-4 lbs whole snapper dressed (no fins, no tail, gutted)
1 lemon slices (rounds and not wedges)
1 sprig thyme
2 cloves garlic mashed
salt & pepper
olive oil

pico de gallo:

roma tomatoes diced
1/4 quarter piece red onion diced
2 oz. lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 serrano or jalapeno chili diced
salt and pepper

preparation: whole fish

- preheat oven at 350F degrees for 30 minutes

- stuff the fish's belly with lemon slices, thyme, and garlic then season with salt and pepper, drizzle some olive oil on fish

- place fish on a roasting pan or baking sheet lined with foil

- cook for about 20-25 mins

preparation: pico de gallo

- mix all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste


- place fish on elongated plate to match the length of fish

- place pico de gallo on top of fish or serve on the side

hints and tips:

- lining your roasting pans or baking trays with foil prevents food residue sticking on your trays and pans for roasting, leaving you an easy time scrubbing and cleaning when doing the dishes.

- pico de gallo is a type of salsa commonly used in South America in countries such as Mexico and Guatemala, and flavor should be somewhat tangy and spicy. Also good for a dipping sauce for chips

- if fresh herbs are not available such as tyhme, you can always use dried thyme but be careful with the amount used because dried herbs are stronger

- an easy way to check fish if its cooked is by sticking a needle in its flesh for a few seconds, taking it out, and then pressing it against your lower lip. if the needle feels cold its undercooked, if it feels warm its perfectly cooked, and if it fels hot then its overcooked.

- sometimes cooking time is unreliable. it is basically an estimate of how long the product might take time to cook.

- scoring (creating slash marks) the flesh of the fish reduces cooking time allowing more heat to enter the flesh

Manolo says:
I chose this dish because it's easy to make, it can do well for 3-4 portions, and it simply tastes good. Fish is never hard to prepare and when you cook it right, it will always taste good. Seafood is always good to come by when you are in Cebu because there are a lot of fish markets, everyday is a fresh catch, variety is huge, and prices are cheap. Here in California seafood is expensive because of how the market demands for really fresh fish. Since people live far inland and fishing docks are located way down south, usually we get them frozen, unless if you really want to drive an hour down the docks to get the freshest seafood for cheap. So enjoy, relax, have a bottle of chardonnay, and this dish will get your feet well into enjoying seafood again. I'm sous chef Manolo, and look out for more recipes right here on Babe for Food.

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