3 scaled and gutted redfish (16-inch size)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
2 tsp. Frank Davis Granular Seafood Boil
6 slices thinly sliced bacon
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup brandy
3 heaping Tbsp. finely chopped onions
1 heaping Tbsp. finely minced garlic
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup reduced shrimp or fish stock (optional)
1/2 cup cognac
1 stick softened butter
1 thinly sliced lemon for garnish
2 Tbsp. finely minced parsley
1 lb. whole wheat thin spaghetti (cooked al dente)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
The first thing you want to do is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees so that the fish immediately begins to cook the moment you slide it onto the rack.
Then while the oven is heating, place the redfish on the countertop and prepare it by trimming off the dorsal and the anal fins with a pair of scissors, cutting along both sides of the backbone with a sharp filleting knife so that the tenderloins are separated from the bone but still attached along the dorsal spine, and chopping off the tail with the base of a heavy chef’s knife.
Now, after thoroughly washing the fish under cold running water to remove every trace of the viscera and blood, pat the tenderloins and the backbone dry with paper towels, open the fish up, rub it all over with the olive oil, and sprinkle the whole thing evenly inside and out with both the seafood seasoning and the granular seafood boil. Note: you don’t want to pack the spices on—you just want the fish seasoned well.
At this point, working with one fish at a time, lay a strip of bacon lengthwise on each side of the backbone between the bone and the fillet. Then scatter a little of the green onions on top each bacon strip, and top everything off with a light sprinkling of crushed red pepper. When all three reds are ready, place them side-by-side into the baking pan, drizzle the brandy evenly over the tops, and slide the fish into the oven on the center rack..
Ideally, the fish will have to bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour to be done; but depending on their size and the capabilities of your oven, time may vary slightly. When a fork pierces the redfish easily and the meat appears to flake apart, they’re ready.
All that’s left now is to make the cognac sauce. You do that by first removing the fish from the oven and pouring off the natural pan-drippings into a small skillet or saucepan. Then, over high heat, add to the drippings in the pan the minced onions, the minced garlic, and the lemon juice. When the onions cook down and soften slightly, pour in the cognac—caution: watch if it flambes´ so that you don’t set your kitchen on fire—and continue to cook the mixture until the alcohol evaporates (it should take you about 4 minutes). Finally, a little at a time, drop in the softened butter and swirl it into the drippings until it forms a rich creamy sauce. Season with a little extra salt and pepper if you think it’s needed.
When you’re ready to eat, place the three redfish on a warm platter, liberally ladle them with the cognac butter, dot them with a few slices of lemon, and garnish them with a scattering of minced parsley. I suggest you serve the fish alongside a mound of whole wheat pasta covered with Parmesan and a tomato and leaf-greens salad dressed with bleu cheese. A glass of chilled white wine makes it perfect!
Alternate the fish head to tail in the pan for even cooking.
If you spray the baking pan with Pam beforehand, the roasting fish won't stick and the cleanup will be easier.
Incidentally, the redfish slices and serves easier and neater if you allow it to cool for about 5 minutes before ladling on the hot sauce and serving it.
If you find that you didn't wind up with enough pan drippings after the fish baked, you can add your own homemade shrimp or fish stock to the baking pan and use it for the cognac sauce. A few drops of Tabasco will liven up the final taste.