Grilled whole fish has a flavor similar to that of roasted fish, but the charring gives a smoky intensity. This recipe is for an outdoor grill. When grilling, do not flip the fish until it loosens easily from the grill—when the skin has crisped up enough, it will detach readily. Serve with Summer Panzanella and Salsa Verde or Sweet Chili Sauce for drizzling.
- Yield: 2 Servings
- Two 1-pound whole fish, such as branzino or sea bass
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 9 to 12 sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, and/or parsley
- Clean the grill by heating it for at least 15 minutes and brushing it down with a grill brush to completely clean the rack. The grate is easier to clean while it’s warm. Do not add cooking spray or oil. Preheat the grill for an additional 30 minutes.
- Temper the fish for 15 to 30 minutes while the grill heats up. Rinse the outside of the fish and the internal cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle each fish with a light coating of olive oil and season the cavity and skin with a few pinches of sea salt. Place half of the lemon slices and herbs in each fish’s cavity and gently press it together.
- When the grill is hot, place the fish on the grate with the cavity side facing you. Leave undisturbed for 7 minutes.
- After 7 minutes, use a firm metal spatula to test if the fish loosens easily from the grill—the skin should stay attached to the fish rather than the grill. If it is still stubborn, cook for another minute. Flip the fish by rolling it over on its backbone (the cavity side now faces away from you) and slide it to a fresh part of the grill (the grill will be hotter there). Cook on the other side for 7 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.