SERVES 3 TO 4
Regina in porchetta is that lovely classical Umbrian fish dish made with carp so revered by the fishermen of Isola Maggiore but, if that is not available, use whole farm-raised trout or sea bass. The delicacy of the fish is balanced by the savory stuffing of rosemary and fennel seeds, reminiscent of the preparation used for stuffing pork, hence the name "in porchetta". This is such an easy dish to prepare for company that it will become a favorite!
2 1/2 pounds whole cleaned carp, farm-raised trout, or sea bass
1/4 pound cooked ham (optional)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only
1 tablespoon fresh fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Wash and dry the fish in and out and set aside.
Mince the ham, rosemary, fennel seeds, and garlic together in a food processor until a paste is formed. Stuff the paste into the cavity of the fish and place the fish in a lightly oiled baking dish large enough to hold it.
In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and the olive oil until an emulsion is formed. Add salt to taste.
Bake the fish for 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the lemon and olive oil mixture. Carefully transfer the fish to a cutting board; remove the head and discard. Scrape the skin away from the fish and discard it. Carefully remove the filling from the cavity and place on a serving platter; remove the fish meat with a couple of soup spoons and serve immediately along with some of the filling. Pass lemon wedges on the side for sprinkling on top of the fish.
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