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Whole Fish with Grapefruit and Dill

I never thought in a million years that I would put a whole fish in a slow cooker. It works surprisingly well and leaves the fish so tender it’s difficult to remove it from the slow cooker in one piece. Line the cooker with parchment if getting it out in one piece is important for presentation.

Prep time 20 minutes
Serves 6

1 grapefruit
2 Meyer lemons
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced dill, plus 3 to 4 sprigs
1 tablespoon fresh minced flat-leaf parsley, plus 3 to 4 sprigs
3 to 31/2 pounds (1.4 to 1.6 kg) fresh, whole fish, such as trout or snapper, cleaned and descaled
Sea salt
1 leek, trimmed and quartered
1/3 cup (80 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon (5 ml) of melted Homemade Ghee per fish

1 Remove the zest from the grapefruit and one lemon. Place the zest in a small bowl. Cut the grapefruit in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl with the zest. Cut the other half of the grapefruit in half and slice both quarters into half-moons. Slice both of the lemons into thin rounds and set the sliced citrus aside.

2 Add the garlic, minced dill, and minced parsley to the bowl with the zest and juice. Mix well. Place half of the mixture in a separate small bowl and set aside.

3 Cut any side fins off of the fish with a pair of kitchen shears, if necessary. Use a sharp knife and cut 3 or 4 1/4-inch (5 mm) deep slits into each side of the fish. Sprinkle salt liberally into the slits and inside the cavities. In each cavity, place one slice of grapefruit, two slices of lemon, and a sprig of each herb. Spoon one of the bowls of zest-herb mixture over the fish, getting the mixture into the slits.

4 Place the sliced leeks and broth in the bottom of a 6-quart (5.7 liter) slow cooker. Lay the fish on top of the leeks, drizzling 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ghee on each fish and overlapping if necessary. Trim the tails if the fish are a bit long. Place the remaining citrus slices and any remaining herb sprigs on top of or around the fish.

5 Cover and cook on low for 2 to 21/2 hours. Check for doneness after about 2 hours. The fish should flake easily with a fork.

6 Carefully remove the fish from the slow cooker with a large spatula and transfer them to a serving platter. Remove the meat from the fish, removing any bones. An easy way to do this is to take a small spatula and run it down the side of the fish, starting at the head. The fillet should come off in large sections. Pull the backbone out, and then remove any bones from the other fillet.

7 Serve immediately with reserved zest-herb mixture.