So go ahead and splurge this summer on grilled Chilean sea bass
- What the Patagonian toothfish, aka Chilean sea bass, lacks in looks, it more than makes up for when it comes to the table. What the Patagonian toothfish, aka Chilean sea bass, lacks in looks, it more than makes up for when it comes to the table. Photo: Robert Rabine
Photo: Robert Rabine Image 1 of / 1
Image 1 of 1 What the Patagonian toothfish, aka Chilean sea bass, lacks in looks, it more than makes up for when it comes to the table. What the Patagonian toothfish, aka Chilean sea bass, lacks in looks, it more than makes up for when it comes to the table. Photo: Robert Rabine So go ahead and splurge this summer on grilled Chilean sea bass 1 / 1 Back to Gallery
Sorry, but Chilean sea bass is a misnomer. It’s actually a Patagonian toothfish, but that’s a hard sell both at the fish market and at home.
Invite your friends over for some nice Patagonian toothfish and see how many of them RSVP. Not to mention the fact that it’s positively scary looking, almost as homely as a monkfish, with a face only a Patagonian toothfish mother, or hungry foodie, could love. But when butchered, it really becomes quite beautiful.
And it seems that Chilean sea bass is not quite the environmental no-no it once was. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, seafoodwatch.org, most Chilean sea bass for sale here is acceptable because the U.S. prohibits the import of illegally caught toothfish and requires pre-approval of all shipments.
Although it’s crazy expensive, upward of $25 per pound, Chilean sea bass is a true delight, and almost impossible to overcook. Because of its incredibly high fat content, it simply keeps self-basting as it cooks. The flesh is snow white, translucent and unctuous, but with an incredibly mild taste.
For those on a budget, this recipe works well with any firmed-flesh white fish.
If you don’t feel like spending $25 per pound, remember that striped bass season is right around the corner.
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Spicy Corn Ragout and Creamy Lime Dressing
• 4 Chilean sea bass fillets, skin on, around 6 ounces each
• Olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 4 small ears of corn, husked, kernels cut from the cob
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
• 6 ounces mushrooms, any type, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• Dash cayenne pepper
• ¼ cup red bell pepper, small dice
• ¼ cup green bell pepper, small dice
• 2 jalapenos, small dice
• ½ cup chopped cilantro
• Creamy Lime Dressing, recipe below
Rub sea bass fillets with a bit of olive oil and dust with a small amount of salt and pepper on both sides, and set aside. Stand up corn cobs in a medium bowl 1 at a time, and carefully cut the kernels from the cob. Discard cobs and set kernels aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and give it a stir, toss in onions and turn down the heat to medium-low. Let this cook for a few minutes until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook until they lose their moisture.
Turn up heat to medium-high and add corn kernels, butter and cayenne. Saute ragout for around 5 or 6 minutes until corn changes color, and then add red pepper, green pepper and jalapeno. Cook mixture for a few minutes more before adding the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good stir, cover the pan, turn down the heat to very low, and keep it warm while grilling the fish.
Grill the Chilean sea bass fillets over a medium hot flame, skin side down for about 6 minutes, depending on the thickness. Carefully flip the fish and cook for an additional 4 or 5 minutes until the fish is firm to the touch. Evenly divide the corn ragout among 4 heated plates and top each with a sea bass fillet. Drizzle some of the creamy lime dressing around the outside of the plate and garnish each with a sprig of cilantro if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Creamy Lime Dressing: Whisk together 3 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and ½ cup mayonnaise to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Makes a scant 2/3 cup.
Robert Rabine, former owner of Cafe Routier in Westbrook, is the food and drink columnist for the ShoreLine Times. Contact him at [email protected] Visit his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Oedipal-Epicurean/357918264228723.
Chefs of Our Kitchen series: Neil Fuentes of Jojoto in Branford, aka “The Singing Chef,” 6 p.m. June 3, Cafe Vincenzo at Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, $65, 203-285-2617, tickets at www.gatewayfdn.org/#!cook/c36e, includes pre-event reception, three-course dinner prepared by Neil and Gateway culinary students, wine pairings, a signed copy of a mini-cookbook being published on Neil’s behalf by Gateway. He will demonstrate the preparation of the dishes served. Validated parking at the Temple Street Garage (bring parking ticket to event). Proceeds benefit Gateway students, faculty and staff.
Consiglio’s cooking demo and dinner: 6:30 p.m. June 4, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489, www.consiglios.com, $65, a four-course meal – grilled shrimp wrapped with prosciutto and basil; radicchio, fennel and olive panzanella; filet Gorgonzola with garlic mashed; berry tiramisu with lime curd – demonstrated right before your eyes. Each course is shown, step by step, for a small group, and served.
Food author Mike Urban: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 6, Written Words Bookstore, book signing with author of “The New England Diner Cookbook” and “Lobster Shacks: A Road Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints,” 415 Howe Ave., the Conti building, Suite 888, Shelton, 203-944-0400, www.writtenwordsbookstore.com.
Essex Shad Bake: 3-6:30 p.m., June 6, Connecticut River Museum, on the Essex waterfront, 67 Main St., $30 adult and $10 child (10 and under), ticket includes a full meal and admission to the museum, 860-767-8269. For shad lovers, the lure is the authentic method of preparation. Done in front of the fire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of the fire with the seasoned oak boards that it is cooked on. Menu includes homemade potato salad, tossed green salad and pies from Lyman Orchards. Folks who aren’t fond of shad may order BBQ chicken or hot dogs. Afternoon supports the projects of the Rotary of Essex.
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass With Grilled Bread And Cider Cream Sauce
- Preheat the grill, including your side burner to high, 500°F.
- Slice the bread and lightly butter both sides. Set aside.
- Begin melting 3 tbsp. of butter in a sturdy saucepan on the side burner. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or two.
- While the butter is melting and garlic is cooking, season the fish on all sides with the seasoning mixture.
- Once the garlic is fragrant, add the cider and chicken broth, bringing everything to a simmer. Once simmering, add the cream, cheese, oregano, and pepper. Allow it all to come to a simmer once more, being careful not to scald the cream. Cook until thickened slightly.
- While the sauce is cooking on the side burner, sear the Chilean sea bass on all sides, finishing skin side down. Cook until the fish feels firm, and the flesh inside is opaque white, about 12 minutes. When you go to flip it after searing, remember that if it will not lift from the grids, it is not ready to flip. Use a wide spatula to move this fish, even though it is rather sturdy.
- When the bass is nearly done, add the sourdough bread to the grill, cooking over direct heat until grill marks form and each one is crispy.
- Serve everything together with seasonal greens. Pour the cream sauce over top of the fish and enjoy.
Grilled Chilean Sea Bass With Grilled Bread And Cider Cream Sauce was incredible. Many restaurants have stopped serving it due to the prices and availability, though if you have an excellent fish market nearby, you should be able to find it. Since this fish is more fatty than most, you will still want to exercise caution when grilling. Make sure it is dry before grilling, use a fish spatula, and make sure your BBQ is clean and dry. What is the most expensive meal you ever cooked on your Napoleon? Tell us by leaving a comment or photo on our social pages like Grills Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #ExpensiveBBQMeal and #NapoleonGrills.
What the Greeks call lavraki, restaurant goers in the United States and Western Europe know as loup de mer or branzino. Lavraki is a Mediterranean Sea bass, and it is one of the most delicious and desirable fish. It is also the star of the Greek fish farming industry.Fish farming is a huge global business, worth about $61 billion annually. In Greece, despite the current economic woes, fish farming is a vibrant industry. The country produces about 100,000 tons of farmed fish, worth more than half a billion dollars annually. Most of it is sold abroad. I’ve stumbled upon Greek farmed sea bass in restaurants across the world, as far away as the landlocked Napa Valley in northern California.Greece, with its long coastlines, great climate, and relatively unindustrialized economy (read that to mean that the waters are relatively clean), provides the perfect conditions for fish farming. Lavraki, as well as sea bream (fagri) are excellent species for farming because their production cycles are short. The industry employs about 100,000 people annually.Wild sea bass, which thrives in the cold, dark winter waters of the Mediterranean, can reach about three feet (a meter) long and about 22 pounds (10 kilos) in weight. Farmed lavraki is much smaller, usually not topping about a kilo, which makes it the perfect size for that Greek classic, whole fish on the grill.Its flesh is delicate, flaky, and sweet. One of my favorite ways to cook it is in paper, which helps the fish retain all its delicious juices. To find the Greek olive oil, herbs and more needed to make it, go to my online store here.
Ever find a whole fish at the market and not know what to do with it? Channel your inner Greek and grill it whole. It’s amazing how delicious it is!
Should you ever be so lucky enough to have a whole fish on your hands, I recommend that you do it justice by grilling it as the Greeks do: directly over open heat and dressed with a delicious bath of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs. That’s exactly what I did with the whole striped bass that I found the other day, though any mild white-fleshed fish will do (sea bream, branzini, red snapper, trout).
Grilled whole fish makes for a healthy and incredibly satisfying meal. A 3-pound fish feeds two very hungry people, but if you have a lot of other side dishes it could certainly sustain another diner. If you can get a fish that’s been scaled, gutted and cleaned properly, that will make your life a whole lot easier. Otherwise, take to YouTube for great tutorials that can show you the process, step-by-step.
The prepping and grilling of the fish is the easiest part of this dish. The herb dressing is not much more work than chopping up a couple of garlic cloves and a smattering of fresh herbs (parsley, dill, mint, scallions). Then, simply mix it with olive oil, lemon juice, capers and dried oregano and adjust the taste with salt and black pepper to your liking. The dried oregano is really what gives it that Greek touch! Once the fish is done, you can spoon this lively dressing over the whole thing to finish it off.
A pair of long-handled tongs and a large fish spatula will be helpful tools for handling the fish on the grill. You’ll find that parts of the skin will char and release from the flesh–opa! Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong. It happens. The char is actually desirable in this case as it lends a remarkable smoky flavor to the fish. The result you’re aiming for is a flaky, tender and moist grilled fish.
As far as side dishes, I served mine with potato wedges roasted in butter with garlic, sage, lemon juice and lemon zest alongside a crisp Greek salad of chopped romaine, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onions and feta cheese crumbles. You could also do a simple rice pilaf, orzo, or really create a feast by adding warm pita bread and an array of dips, like hummus, tatziki and baba ghanoush.
5.0 from 1 reviews Whole Fish Grilled The Greek Way Ever find a whole fish at the market and not know what to do with it? Channel your inner Greek and grill it whole. It’s amazing how delicious it is! Author: Jessica Dang Cuisine: Main Ingredients
- 1 3-lb. whole striped bass, sea bream, branzino, red snapper, trout or any other mild white-fleshed fish
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Dried oregano
- 2 whole lemons
- 5 cloves of garlic
- ½ a small bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1-2 stalks of scallions
- A few sprigs of mint
- A few sprigs of dill
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of small capers
- Kitchen twine
- Lay the fish on a clean cutting board. Pat dry all over with paper towels and inside the cavity. With a sharp knife, make 2 to 3 deep incisions along the body on each side.
- Season the fish with about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, rubbing it evenly all over the fish, into the incisions and cavity as well. Do the same with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
- Chop 1 clove of garlic and rub it all over the fish, making sure to get the inside of the incisions and the cavity for flavor.
- Slice one of the lemons thinly and cut into half-moons. Slice another garlic clove. Layer the lemon and garlic slices inside the cavity of the fish. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Tie the fish closed with kitchen twine. (You may need to tie it in two places to keep it securely closed.) Coat the fish with olive oil and massage it on both sides. Set aside.
- Chop the remaining garlic cloves, parsley, scallions, mint and dill and put in a small bowl. Add ½ teaspoon of dried oregano and 1 tablespoon of small capers. Slowly pour olive oil into the bowl, stirring until it has the consistency of a loose sauce. Grate the zest of the remaining lemon into the sauce and add the juice of half the lemon. Stir and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Place the prepped fish directly on top of the hot grill. Be careful as small flames might flap up! Do not move the fish. Let it cook for about 6 to 8 minutes before carefully flipping it over with a pair of long-handled tongs and large fish spatula. Let it cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes on the other side. You can check the doneness of the fish by checking inside of the incisions; if the flesh has turned an opaque white then it’s ready. If not, you can lower the heat and close the lid for a minute or two and check again.
- Carefully lift the fish up and place on a serving platter. At this point, you can choose to remove the charred skin and spoon the herbed dressing over the fish or let everyone serve themselves.
Notes *This recipe was published in The Kaweah Commonwealth. 3.2.2885
This recipe for Greek roasted branzino is perfect for a simple and healthy weeknight meal that requires almost zero clean up! Full of bright lemon and earthy oregano, this dish will transport you to a seaside taverna in Greece.
Jump to Recipe The best part about food is the story that it tells. That of course is one of my reasons for blogging. Anyone can write up a recipe and tell a person how to make it…but the story… the story gives food heart.
We all connect with each other through the power of delicious food but the story…that story is what bonds us. Whether it is a warm Italian red wine sipped along the Tuscan hillsides, fresh lobsters eaten oceanside of a Caribbean hut or classic New York style pizza eaten at one of many of the New York pizzerias; the stories make food nostalgic.
This particular roasted branzino has a great story. It features a very good friend of mine, Chrissy.
Chrissy colors my hair. We chat and catch-up for 2-3 hours at a time every 4-6 weeks and gab about everything from pop culture, to love, to politics and food. One of those times, I came by and her mom fed me her delicious Greek chicken that inspired my very popular One Pot Greek Chicken and Potatoes.
Chrissy happens to be Greek. Born here in the states but as all first generation Greeks that I know, is fluent in Greek and travels to her home land at least once a year. She is also extremely well travelled. She has been all over Europe, Dubai and hit almost every part of North America there is. Chrissy loves traveling on a whim. One day she is expertly and lovingly blonding up my hair and the very next day she texts me that she is flying to Jamaica in 2 days and needs hotel recommendations. After her travels Chrissy always comes back and tells me about the sites, the people and of course, the food.
We were chatting up, waiting for the blond to take over my brunette roots and Chrissy started reminiscing about her trip to Greece last summer and as always we ended up talking about the food.
“We were sitting for hours in this little seaside restaurant for hours Mila, in Mykonos, just eating salads sipping wine and inhaling the fish. Oh the fish. It was amazing Mila. Lavraki…” She said “lavraki” in her typical Greek pronunciation pausing to reminisce the flavor that this fish must have left on her palette and forever ingrained her mind.
“Chrissy, what the hell is lavraki? Is this a fish straight out of Zeus’ pond or something?” I questioned her sarcastically.
“OMG you have never had “lavraki”. What?!? That’s it we are going now. It’s in season and I know a little Greek place that serves it. Get your bag we are getting Greek food.”
Of course she knows a little Greek place that “happened” to be serving this fish. The Greeks are similar to the Russians, we always know “someone”.
We showed up to a hole in the wall basically, that is the back of a fish warehouse. Turned out this Greek “someone” was the someone that distributed fresh fish and seafood to most of the restaurants in Chicago. And he happened to serve this exact same fish in this tiny restaurant with paper napkins, communal seating, chalkboard menus and free garlic aromas.
The place was packed. It was 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon and there was a line out the door and not an empty seat to be seen. Naturally, as soon as the owner saw that one of their “own” ahem a Greek (Chrissy) was standing in line, he came over greeted her in Greek, nodded at me and ushered us in to the front of the line, leaving us with evil glares being thrown like daggers at our backs. Oh well…sometimes the early bird gets the worm…sometimes the Greek bird gets the fish.
Chrissy chatted with the owner and they both pointed to the menu, nodded in agreement and ordered. I was not consulted in this decision making process and I was glad, because regardless how picky I am, I doubted there was anything on this menu I would not find enjoyable. We sat down and were almost immediately greeted with Greek bread, fruity olive oil and a flaming order of saganaki, the Greek flaming cheese. Next we were served a gigantic Greek salad and our entrees. I sat and stared at the feast laid out in front of us.
A photo posted by Mila (@girl_and_the_kitchen_) on Mar 26, 2016 at 2:20pm PDT
“Chrissy! This is roasted Branzino!” I exclaimed when I saw the gorgeous fish.
“No Mila, it’s Lavraki. It’s Greek.”
“Chrissy, it’s a Mediterranean sea bass, it’s not Greek. The Italians call it Branzino and the Greeks clearly call it Lavraki…but it’s all the same…it’s sea bass.”
“Whatever, Greek style is best Mila. Greek Style or no Style! Now eat!” We both giggled and dug in.
I can still so clearly remember the sigh of enjoyment that escaped our bodies as we sat in this sun filled room full of incomprehensible chatter and for a moment I felt like I had escaped Chicago and was transported to the salt scented beaches of Greece.
I have found this Branzino (Lavraki) at a local supermarket and purchase it frequently for our weeknight dinners and dinner parties. It is extremely mild in flavor and has a very sweet flesh due to the shrimp that it feeds on. But the most important part about this fish is that it truly is best roasted whole. Which, helllllllo?!? How great is that for clean-up?
Choosing Fresh Fish
When purchasing and preparing roasted branzino or any whole fish there are a few important things to remember:
- When choosing fresh fish, it should smell like the seawater, anything “fishier” smelling and you do not want it. Trust me.
- The eyes should be clear, never foggy or falling our of the socket, yuck.
- The flesh should be firm not slimy or super spongy.
- Ask the fish monger to leave the head and tail on, clean the scales, trim the fins and completely clean the inside.
- Before roasting the fish, slice into the skin a bit, careful not to go too deep into the flesh. This will help the skin crisp up and it will allow for some seasoning to permeate the inside.
- Keep it simple! The best fish tastes pretty great on its own and just needs to be enhanced with simple and classic flavors. Sometimes salt, pepper and lemon is all you will ever need.
- Do NOT over cook the fish. I typically broil these fish (about 1.5 pounds each) for 18 minutes and the bones pull away super easily from it and the flesh flakes just so perfectly. When fish is cooked perfectly the bones peel away from it and there are minimal bones left behind in the flesh.
See those little slats that are puffed up? That’s what happens when you slice into in the skin. Perfect nesting place for extra garlic and lemons.
I made roasted branzino just last night and was compelled to finally share it. I paired it with a super simple sautéed garlic and lemon spinach adorned with a few sprinkles of feta cheese…how Greek am I now huh Chrissy?
It honestly could not have been easier to prepare this roasted branzino. It was all done on a sheet pan covered in parchment paper so the mess was practically non existent. I quickly sliced the fish with little slits on the outside, drizzled both the sides and the inside with super fruity extra virgin olive oil*, stuffed the cavity with some oregano stems from my garden, a few cloves of minced garlic, plenty of salt and pepper and some lemon slices. That’s it! Into the oven it went to broil for 18 minutes. In the meantime I sautéed some garlic with lemon juice and olive oil and tossed in some baby spinach until it wilted. Roasted branzino dinner was complete and utterly delicious in under 20 minutes.
So my darling friend, Chrissy, thank you for reminding me of this wonderfully delicious fish, introducing me to an incredible hole in the wall and most importantly importantly being a dear friend.
Greek Whole Roasted Branzino
This recipe for Greek roasted branzino is perfect for a simple and healthy weeknight meal that requires almost zero clean up! Full of bright lemon and earthy oregano, this dish will transport you to a seaside taverna in Greece. CourseSeafood CuisineGreek Prep Time5 minutes Cook Time12 minutes Total Time17 minutes Servings4 servings Calories516kcal AuthorMila Furman
For the fish
- 2 branzino about 3 pounds total, lavraki or sea bass
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil * fruity kind
- 4 garlic cloves minced finely on a microplane
- 4 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 1 lemon you want the slices to be half moons so they fit into the fish easily, cut in half and sliced thinly
- salt and pepper to taste
For the spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bag of spinach an 8 oz package
- 3 garlic cloves minced on the microplane
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the oven on highest broil setting
- Place parchment paper onto a sheet pan large enough to fit the two fish.
- Slice 3-4 slits into the fish, parallel to the fish’s head, going with the direction of the scales.
- Pour the olive oil all over the fish, ensuring both sides and the insides are covered.
- Slather the garlic mixture into the cavity of the fish evenly.
- Place the oregano stems into the cavities of the fish.
- Place the lemon wedges into the cavity of the fish.*
- Place the sheet pan into the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the fish flesh is flaky and white. Serve with extra lemons
- Right when the fish has come out of the oven, place a large pan over medium heat.
- Add olive oil and garlic to the pan. Allow to sweat about 2 minutes, without getting any color on the garlic.
- Add the spinach, water and lemon juice to the pan and toss with tongs until the spinach is wilted. This will take about 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta and serve alongside the fish.
When purchasing and preparing branzino or any whole fish there are a few important things to remember:
When choosing fresh fish, it should smell like the seawater, anything “fishier” smelling and you do not want it. Trust me.
The eyes should be clear, never foggy or falling our of the socket, yuck.
The flesh should be firm not slimy or super spongy.
Ask the fish monger to leave the head and tail on, clean the scales, trim the fins and completely clean the inside.
Before roasting the fish, slice into the skin a bit, careful not to go too deep into the flesh. This will help the skin crisp up and it will allow for some seasoning to permeate the inside.
Keep it simple! The best fish tastes pretty great on its own and just needs to be enhanced with simple and classic flavors. Sometimes salt, pepper and lemon is all you will ever need.
Do NOT over cook the fish. I typically broil these fish (about 1.5 pounds each) for 18 minutes and the bones pull away super easily from it and the flesh flakes just so perfectly. When fish is cooked perfectly the bones peel away from it and there are minimal bones left behind in the flesh.
I like using a very fruity and fragrant olive oil for this recipe. It just gives it an incredible flavor profile. Typically, Greek olive oils tend to be a bit more fruitier. But as long as you get an extra virgin olive oil that is first press, you should be golden.
As the garlic cooks inside the fish, a chemical reaction may occur and it may turn bluish green. This is totally normal and just a reaction of the sulphur compounds. Regardless of the color, it’s delicious none the less.
Do not put the garlic or the lemons into the slits you have made on the fish. This may prevent the skin of the fish from crisping up.
If you want a truly crispy skin on both sides, feel free to roast this on a roasting rack. However I am perfectly fine with one side crispy without adding on a second pan for me to clean 🙂
Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 82g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 371mg | Sodium: 454mg | Potassium: 1210mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 9.2% | Vitamin C: 19.3% | Calcium: 14.7% | Iron: 22.6%
- Prepare charcoal fire or preheat gas grill for covered direct grilling over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, from 1 lemon, grate 1 tablespoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Cut half of remaining lemon into slices, other half into wedges. In small bowl, stir lemon juice and peel, oil, chopped oregano, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 slashes in both sides of each fish. Sprinkle inside and out with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Place lemon slices and oregano sprigs inside fish cavities. Place fish in 13″ by 9″ glass baking dish. Rub half of oil mixture over outsides of fish; reserve remaining oil mixture to drizzle over cooked fish. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
- Lightly grease grill rack; place fish on hot rack. Cover grill and cook fish 12 to 14 minutes or until fish just turns opaque throughout and thickest part flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning fish over once.
- To serve, place fish on cutting board. Working with 1 fish at a time, with knife, cut along backbone from head to tail. Slide wide metal spatula or cake server under front section of top fillet and lift off from backbone; transfer to platter. Gently pull out backbone and rib bones from bottom fillet and discard. Transfer bottom fillet to platter. Repeat with second fish. Drizzle fillets with the remaining oil mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
Grilled sea bass in spicy lemon marinade
One of the great things about planning a fish dinner is how quickly the main course cooks. You cook the side dishes – say, rice and a vegetable. While they’re sitting comfortably on the stove, set the table. Or persuade someone else to set it. Mix up a crisp salad or two. About 15 minutes before you plan to serve, slide the fish under the oven grill, and set the timer. Fetch a cold drink and award yourself a few minutes to rest before calling everyone to the table. Then bring out the steaming fish, with its rich aroma of lemons and herbs, and serve it right away. If you can warm the dishes, that’s even better, because fish cools down rapidly, and you really want to eat it at its peak moments.
It’s an excellent, light summertime meal, but if you serve a hearty soup, with good bread and butter beforehand, you can count on it for a quick cold-weather main dish too. In any case, keep plenty of that good bread on hand, because you don’t want to lose a drop of the fish’s delicious juices.
There are all sorts of clever tricks to achieve perfect fish on the barbecue – we’re talking melt-in-the-mouth flakes with a gorgeous smoky flavour and perfectly crispy skin. So next time you’re lighting the coals, make sure you put fish on the menu and use our five top tips to really impress your guests.
- First up, never place your fish over a searing high heat. Barbecued fish needs to be cooked on a medium-hot part of the grill so that you don’t risk burning the skin before the middle is cooked.More: Totally brilliant barbecue seafood
Go big on flavour. You can stuff a whole gutted fish with any of your favourite flavours – think fresh herbs, lemongrass, ginger or chilli. Or go for something a little more punchy, like Jamie’s super-spicy Cajun rub, inspired by the flavours of New Orleans.
- If you’re grilling fillets (rather than a whole fish), start off cooking skin-side down. Only turn the fish over when the skin is crisp and golden. If fish skin is properly cooked on the barbecue it’s amazingly tasty and crispy! Jamie says it can be as good as pork crackling when it’s done well.
- Wrapping a whole fish in newspaper will keep it extra soft and juicy. The trick is to wrap your fish in several layers of paper and then soak the whole parcel in water, so that the smoking paper adds even more flavour to your dish, but doesn’t catch fire.
- You can test if your fish is cooked with the ‘flake test’: simply push apart a piece of the flesh and if it separates easily into natural flakes, is piping hot in the middle, and has changed colour throughout, then it’s ready to eat.
More: Barbecue grilled trout in beer butter.
Serve your barbecued fish with a delicious salad, watch Jamie make one here:
Check out the rest of our barbecue recipes here.