The eighth day of Christmas

The Christmas rush has officially come to an end at our house. Even though the tree and lights will stay up until the twelfth day of Christmas, the festive cooking has pretty much come to an end. The up side to this is that I've finally got time to catch up on some of the things I made during the mad rush.

Our first festive meal for the year was dinner on Christmas Eve. I wanted something special, but not too heavy considering the amount of food that would be handed around on Christmas Day. So for our main meal, we had a stuffed baked snapper with roquette and parmesan salad. Based on a Caribbean fish dish crossed with a paella stuffed snapper, the stuffing was the star of the show. Any large white fish would be suitable; if you can't find snapper, try trevally or red emperor.

Stuffed snapper

1.5 kg whole baby snapper, cleaned and scaled
2 tbspn olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, sliced and seeded
2 cups cooked saffron rice
200g cooked prawn meat, chopped
3 tbspn fresh coriander, chopped
lemon pepper to taste
Lime to serve


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut three large slits in the side of the fish. Drizzle with around half the olive oil and season with lemon pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onion until translucent, then add the garlic and chilli and saute until garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the prawns and rice and stir to heat through. Remove from heat and stir through chopped coriander. Open the fish cavity and make sure it's clean. If the fish needs washing, use salt water only - fresh water will remove some of the flavour. If you're unsure, wipe the cavity with a cut lime and set aside for ten minutes. Once the fish is clean enough, place as much stuffing as will fit inside the cavity. Spear the sides with bamboo skewers, then lace shut with cooking twine. Place in a large roasting pan and bake until the eyes turn white - anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Serve with lime wedges and salad


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