Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Grilling whole fish

2009 was the year of the whole chicken and the suckling pig.

2010 is -- I've now decided -- going to be the year of the whole grilled fish.

The BESTWAY market in Mt. Pleasant sells a fantastic array of whole fish from skate to trout to flounder to things I can't name, nor have ever heard of, and they're all at a great price point.

I bought two red snapper, some lemons, fresh cilantro and red potatoes yesterday to take on this new culinary adventure. I was envisioning a low key evening on the patio with the dog, my husband and, of course, a Dogfish ale, all alongside a perfectly grilled red snapper.

As for the fish, the prep work was far simpler than that for the chicken and the pig. I just sliced a few lemons and a handful of cilantro and stuffed them inside the cavity of the snappers. After rubbing the fish with good salt and pepper, I squeezed fresh lemon juice all over them and ended with a healthy drizzle of olive oil.

Done. Now you let them marinate for at least an hour.

In the meantime, I chopped up some red potatoes, dressed them with dried thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil and roasted them for about 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Super easy side dish!

I used my cast iron grill pan for the fish, setting the heat on low to medium. Alice Waters recommends that for every inch thick your fish is, grill that bad boy for about 10 minutes. In this case, I left the fish on the grill -- turning fairly often so that the skin didn't get stuck to the surface -- for about 12-15 minutes. I think 10 might have done the trick, but as is the case with the first time around on these sorts of experiments, I wanted to be extra careful.

The end result was totally delicious and perfect for the 80 degree weather. And in hindsight, grilling the snapper was just as easy to make as a simple red sauce pasta. The greatest time requirement is simply marinating it.

This will definitely be our new summer dish for this year.

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