Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grilled Marinated Whole Fish

Four perfect silver skinned fish showed up in my outdoor fridge last night. Fat, slimy fresh, red gills, and no note. I knew Jason left them. He loves to go fishing, and dropped off some of his catch for me. How to cook ‘em? First they had to be scaled. I forgot how messy a job that is, how many scales a tiny fish can have. The scaling and rinsing done over a strainer in the kitchen sink made it easy to dispatch them. You need to massage the fish to be sure they are all clean.

I decided to grill them. I have herbs growing all over the place here. Wild bay, rosemary, thyme, lavender, basil and mint. There are many others but just these were going into the fish. After peeling a few inches of lemon zest, I chopped up a few cloves of garlic, the herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, lavender, bay leaves), sea salt, olive oil, a generous amount of chopped parsley, and made a paste of them. I cut three gashes in the sides of each fish, stuffing the herb paste into each cut. Then they got a chance to rest while I roasted some corn. This month’s corn here has been sweeter than I ever remembered. Butter and salt only. Period.

Looking back I know I had the fire too high. The skin stuck to the grill in places, nevertheless the fish emerged perfectly moist, delicious. There were flavorful crispy parts I’d usually throw out but they tasted too good. Next time more oil on the fish, and the grill. I did oil the grill, but perhaps not enough. A lower fire would give me more control. I hope it will also produce that crispy, tasty skin.

So much food, I decided to keep some for tomorrow, and made a marinade with sea salt, pepper, EVOO. lemon juice, red wine vinegar. I added some more bruised bay leaves. I gave it a mix around, and poured it over the fish. Next day and out of the fridge, I nuked them on LOW power and served them. We ate them with our hands.