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Clay-Baked Fish

by Betty Fussell

Serves 2-4


One 2 to 4 pound firm-fleshed whole fish like bass, pompano, bluefish, trout
fresh herbs like tarragon, thyme, mint
salt and pepper to taste
8 to 10 pounds terra-cotta clay
4 ot 6 tablespoons butter, softend
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
Gut fish (or have your fishmonger do so), leaving head or tail on. Stuff cavity with herbs, season fish on both sides, and wrapt it entirely in heavy foil.  Cover foil on both sides with dabs of clay, smoothed together to make a layer 1/2-inch thick. Sculpt a fish tail, a head with clay eye and mouth, and fish scales (stick on thin petals of clay, overlapping them from the toward the head.) Bake fish at 400 degrees about 40 minutes for a 2-pound fish (50 minutes for 3 pounds, 60 minutes for 4). Present fish sculpture to your gusts, then break clay open with a hammer and remove the fish within. Carve it into fillets, top and bottom. Cover with a sauce of softened butter whipped with vinegar and tarragon leaves.

©Betty Fussell, 2006

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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