Because fish is plentiful in the salt and fresh waters in and around Jamaica, fish recipes abound. Jamaican fish recipes are influenced by a number of cuisines, including African, Chinese, European and Mexican. Slaves and hired workers brought their influences to the cooking styles of the islands, as exhibited by the wide variety of spices and ingredients used. Cooking whole fish Jamaican-style requires few ingredients and little preparation.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease the baking dish with the oil.
Rub the lemon juice into fish, and allow the fish to sit for 20 minutes.
Combine the chopped onion, thyme, salt, pepper and butter, and rub the mixture onto fish.
Place the fish in greased baking dish, and cover it with the coconut milk.
Sprinkle the fish with bread crumbs, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it for 15 minutes.
Uncover the dish and bake the fish until bread crumbs are browned and the fish is flaky -- about five more minutes.
While snapper is the most common fish baked whole, you can use almost any type of medium-sized fish in this recipe. Other popular options include turbot and doctorfish.
Jamaican jerk fish, a traditional spicy-hot dish, can be made by seasoning fish with allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers and thyme. Some recipes include additional spices such as garlic, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. Jerk fish is typically made using cut-up fish pieces rather than whole fish.
Other Jamaican recipes for cooking whole fish include deep frying smaller fish, such as sprat, and stuffing larger fish before cooking.
Many fish have small bones that can get stuck in your throat. Eat fish carefully to avoid choking.
The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent food-borne illness.