This is a variation on this earlier recipe “Pan Roasted Lapu-Lapu”. This was a much larger fish and I used many different aromatics and herbs so the overall effect was quite different, but still delicious. Please refer to the original post for detailed methods, I will describe them briefly here. We had a small dinner party for friends/family and I thought this would be a nice dish to serve beside a platter of pritchon, or fried lechon. Start off by heading to a good seafood market (we go to Seaside in Baclaran), and purchase a 2+ kilo lapu-lapu. Have it scaled and gutted.
Back home, make 3-4 diagonal cuts or slits on the body of the fish, season with salt and pepper and stuff some thin lemon slices and dill into the cuts. Next, heat up an ENORMOUS pan and add some olive oil and briefly saute some whole garlic bulbs with the tops cut off, sliced fennel bulb, lemongrass, siling mahaba or finger chilies, and some sliced baby potatoes. Place this mixture on the bottom of a large roasting pan or dish. I added several thin slices of lemon, italian parsley and dill to the mixture in the dish. Drizzle with some additional olive oil if necessary. Now you have your “bed” of aromatics for the fish to lay on…
In the same enormous pan that has been returned to a high flame, add a bit of olive oil and sear the lapu-lapu on each side for about 3-4 minutes until just lightly browned. Transfer the fish to the baking dish and bake for roughly 30-35 minutes, depending on size and thickness of the fish. This would have all been a bit easier if the fish were small enough to fit in the same pan it was seared in and baked in… but the larger fish does look good when you have guests over… and the meat remains moist if properly cooked. Based on the reactions of guests, this was a hit. And so easy to make. :)