Leatherjackets are usually sold as skinned “trunks”, that is with the head removed, making them a more approachable option for people who don’t like looking at fish heads while they’re eating. Despite their mild, sweet flavour, they’re also an inexpensive fish.
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup black olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon capers in brine, rinsed, dried and chopped
¼ cup red wine
800g canned tomatoes, diced
4 medium Leatherjackets, heads and skin off
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup instant couscous
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Heat half the olive oil over a medium heat, add onion, salt and pepper and cook until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook for a further minute, then add olives and capers, cook for 2 minutes.
Add red wine, bring to the boil and cook until wine is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until a thick sauce consistency.
Trim the fins and tail off each fish using kitchen scissors, pat dry with paper towel. Pour remaining olive oil into a baking dish and arrange the fish in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Spread the sauce evenly over the top of each fish. Bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size, until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Meanwhile, place couscous in a large bowl, add boiling water, stir well and cover. When fish is cooked, stir excess cooking oil and juices through couscous, fluffing it up with a fork. Divide couscous between plates, place fish on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Gemfish, Morwong, Snapper, Red Mullet, Rockcod or any of the Dory species.