Tray-baked whole fish with citrus couscous stuffing

This beautifully flavoured tray-baked whole fish recipe has a tasty citrus couscous stuffing and is perfect accompanied with a fresh salad. Serve for an aromatic family meal

  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 4
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  • 30 gram butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • 1 orange – zest and juice
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 whole snapper or similar firm white fish (cleaned and de-scaled)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • green beans or salad greens to serve


  • 1
    Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC. Line a large roasting dish with baking paper.
  • 2
    Heat the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the shallots, garlic and fennel seeds over a low heat until softened and fragrant. Add the citrus zest and couscous and stir well to coat the grains.
  • 3
    Squeeze the citrus juice into a jug and add boiling water to make 1 cup in total. Pour over the couscous mix and cover the pan. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff up with a fork. Stir in the dill, egg and half the almonds and mix well.
  • 4
    Stuff the fish cavity generously with the couscous then tie the fish together with kitchen string. Drizzle with olive oil and season with dill, sea salt and pepper.
  • 5
    Bake the fish for 15 minutes then carefully turn the fish and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the fish flakes at the centre of the spine.
  • 6
    Serve the fish on platters with extra citrus for squeezing, green beans and the remaining toasted almonds.


Buying whole fish is much more economical than fillets and is always eye-catching on the plate.