Tuesday, June 10

Whole Grilled Snapper with Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Grilling a whole fish is such an easy, elegant, and inexpensive way to entertain

Whole Grilled Snapper with Lemon Garlic Sauce

If you like fish, then I'm here to convince you that grilling it whole is the absolute easiest and most delicious way to make it at home. It can seem intimidating (and kind of disgusting) to clean a whole fish, but any good fishmonger will be able to scale and gut it for you, so all you have to do is season with salt and pepper, stuff with a few slices of lemon and herbs, and throw it on the grill. I used some beautiful whole snapper for this recipe, but use whatever is freshest at your local store. Once your fish is cooked (it takes less than 10 minutes total), just serve it on a platter and pass it around the table so everyone can spoon a few meaty pieces on their plate. But aren't there a lot of bones? Well, yeah. But they're pretty easy to avoid after the fish is cooked, and it's really not a big deal if you accidently get a small bone and have to spit it out. I served the fish with a super garlicky lemon sauce and some grilled baguette, but you could also try it with salsa and tortillas for a Mexican spin.

Other Grilled Fish Recipes:
- Salmon Burgers with Avocado Aioli
- Grilled Swordfish with Eggplant-Pepper Relish
- Mahi Mahi with Grapefruit-Avocado Salsa

Grilled Whole Pink Snapper with Preserved Lemon & Garlic Sauce:
For Sauce
  • Mince 3 cloves of garlic and add to a small pot with 1/4 c. olive oil and 1 crumbled chile de arbol.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
  • Stir in the pulp and rind from 1/2 preserved lemon* and 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves.
  • Cook for another few minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and let cool.
For Fish
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Scale, gut, rinse, and pat dry two 1 1/2 lb. whole pink snappers** and cut off any small side fins.
  • Score the fish with one long lengthwise center cut and a couple vertical cuts on both sides of each fish.
  • Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, making sure to rub some seasoning into the cuts of the fish.
  • Season the cavities of the fish with salt and pepper and stuff the inside with a few thin slices of lemon and a handful of fresh thyme.
  • Add the fish to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes, then carefully flip and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side.***
  • Transfer the fish to a platter and serve with the lemon and garlic sauce.

Serves four-six
*If you can't find or make preserved lemons, you can substitute for the juice of 1/2 lemon, the zest of a lemon, and a large pinch of salt.
**Most fishmongers will do this for you.
***Check to make sure the fish is done by peeking into the center of fish and making sure it is opaque.