whole grilled fish justcallmejune.com
I know a lot of people, even those that love seafood, are afraid to cook it at home. Just trust me that you can do this and it is SOOOOOOOO worth it. This is pretty hard to mess up, is sure to impress your guests and most importantly really tasty. If you have a grill and a quality supermarket/fish market close by this is easy-peasy.
Tips for Picking/Buying Your Fish
1) In terms of how much to buy you want to plan for 1-1.5 lbs of fish per person, so a 5 lb fish would serve 3-5 people depending on how big you want your servings. You can also get several smaller fish, which is a bit less intimidating for the first time whole fish griller and will cook faster. Plus, how cool would it be to serve a fish to each of your guests, or one per couple! Of course the large 5-8 lb fish certainly is a show stopper on a big platter in the middle of the table too.
2) What type of fish? Bronzino make a great choice as does trout, snapper, bass, really anything that is fresh, ask the guy behind the counter for recommendations if you are intimidated.
3) Where to buy, what to look for? You want to go somewhere that has a fish counter that is manned. You are looking for a fish that has bright clear eyes, shiny surface, briny sea/water smell. Cloudy eyes, dull surface and fishy smell are signs that the fish is not as fresh. Ask for your fish to be cleaned (guts out, scales taken off) but the head left on. If you really can’t handle looking at the head you can ask for them to cut this off as well.
Grilled Whole Fish
Whole Fish (1-1.5 lbs per person)
Fresh Herbs, whole on stems (Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Parsley, Cilantro, whatever floats your boat)
Salt & Pepper
1) Pre-heat your grill
2) Make sure all the scales and guts are gone from your fish. Score your fish every few inches perpendicular to the spine between the gills and tail on both sides. (the pic here shows the fish already stuffed, I forgot to score it until then, whoops!)
3) Drizzle Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper your fish on all surfaces (skin, scores, gills, inside)
4) Stuff the cavities (center of fish, behind the gills and in the mouth) with your citrus slices and fresh herbs. You can use metal kebab skewers to “sew” the center of the fish closed and keep all the goodies in, this also makes it easier to flip your fish on the grill.
5) MOST IMPORTANT STEP Oil your grill, try to make it as non-stick as possible.
6) Make sure your grill is on medium – medium high and put your fish down. Grill time varies greatly with the size of the fish, I would flip small fish 1-4 lbs at 5-15 minutes, large fish 5-9 lbs at 15-25 minutes. When you flip be sure to re-apply your oil, I forgot which is why I added step 7 ;)
7) Don’t freak if the skin falls off when you flip, you’re not going to eat it anyways and it actually makes serving easier :) If your skin has gotten stuck to the grill but your fish needs more cook time you can just put a baking sheet underneath it, it should still fit in the grill with the cover down
8) You’ll know your fish is done when it is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork (you can check in your scores or the center of the fish without having to cut back the skin). Transfer to you platter, or individual plates and serve.
Special Secret Spot: I’m telling you, you really want to eat the fish cheeks. To get at them lift up the gill area right underneath the eye. The meat here is the best one the entire fish, a small but tasty bite!