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Roasted Whole Fish

Adapted from Germaine Leclerc

The original recipe was from Mlle. Leclerc of Besancon, France.  Her son, Jean Leclerc was a French exchange student attending DePaul University.  His engagement to an African/American student, a Rhodes Scholar, resulted in his rejection by his American host family.  Peter Granzeau invited Jean to spend his summer in Burlington, Wisconsin where he became part of our family. He bragged about his mother’s fish and she sent the recipe.  The recipe was developed during WWII for inexpensive fish; the sauce would be excellent on anything edible.

whole fish – trout, char, pompano, snapper

Aromatics – shallots, garlic, fennel, leeks, lemons

Oil – butter, extra-virgin olive oil

Herbs – sage, parsley, fennel tops, tarragon, basil,

Liquids – white wine, seafood/shellfish stock, cream, crème fraiche

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


  1. Scale, clean & dry the fish.  Butter and season the fish inside & out with S&P.

  1. Melt butter in a shallow metal pan.  Add aromatics/herbs. Poach slowly.

  1. You may place herbs or aromatic inside the fish if desired.  (sage, lemon)

  1. Place fish in pan and top with aromatics.

  1. Place pan in hot (400 degree) oven for 5 minutes on each side

  1. Lower temp to 325.  Pour butter, white wine and stock over fish.

  1. Bake to finish the fish, turning once – 130 degrees.

  1. Remove fish to serving platter

  1. Add heavy cream/crème fraiche to pan and cook stirring to reduce.

  1. Fillet fish.  Serve with sauce and top with capers.

Adapted by Tim Granzeau