If, like me, come V Day you avoid fancypants restaurants with overpriced menus in favor of a relaxing meal at home with your spouse/sig other/bff/dog, I have a simple menu suggestion - try serving a whole fish. It's impressive looking, relatively cheap, and, if you can get past the whole head-on, googley eyes thing, it's actually quite romantic to be sharing a meal in the truest sense of the word. Throw some pork and potatoes in there, and what's not to love?
Whole Snapper with Sausage, Potatoes and Olives
Inspired by this month's Saveur magazine
2 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and chopped large
2 spicy, pre-cooked sausage links, sliced on the diagonal (I used red pepper/garlic chicken sausage, but chorizo or andouille would also be great)
1 whole cleaned snapper, about 2-3 lbs
1 lemon, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Several sprigs both fresh parsley and thyme
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup dry white wine
Zest of an orange/clementine, optional
Preheat oven to 450. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water, just enough to cover, and simmer covered until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add a dash of olive oil to a large skillet over high heat and add the sausage; saute until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Place a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on a large baking sheet. Pat the fish dry and make three shallow slits on each side; stuff each with a slice of lemon. Place remaining lemon slices and the herbs in the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Lay the fish on the baking sheet and surround with potatoes, sausage and olives. Drizzle the olive oil over the fish and then pour the wine around it. Place another layer of heavy duty foil over the fish and crimp up the edges to form a packet (this will allow the wine to help steam the fish). Roast for 30-35 minutes.
To serve, slice open the foil, remove fillets and place each skin side down on a plate, topped with potatoes/sausage/olives and an extra drizzle of olive oil.