Friday, September 16, 2011

Whole Grilled Rockfish

To cap off the weekend seafood feast, I made a whole grilled rockfish. It was an easy decision to make because I needed to do something that required the grill since my lady loves were all up in my kitchen. I swooned for this fish. It is so simple to make and really jus stunning to serve. People will think that you are a serious iron chef, when you are a really just a very savvy sneakster. Now, you can't really go about getting a whole fish at Safeway. You need to work a little harder than that. You can get them at lots of Asian grocery stores, where they usually have an amazing selection of fresh seafood. Or you can head down to the Maine Avenue Fish market. They will scale and gut your fish for you so all you have to do is stuff it and grill it. This is a very fun thing to make and it is a great way to give yourself a challenge in the kitchen. We all loved this dish and I really do think that anyone who put their mind to it, could make it and would love it too.Whole Grilled Rockfish
2 lb. whole rockfish (scaled, fins removed, and gutted)
2 lemons
1 small bunch parsley
salt and pepper
olive oil

When you buy your whole fish, the fishmonger will clean it for you. At most places, they have a chart that shows you the different ways that they can clean it, from a simple scaling all the way to a fillet. I go with the "Number 2" at my fish place, which is scaled, gutted, and fins removed. If you don't like to have your dinner looking back at you, you can get it with the head removed, but then you will miss out on the best part, which is the cheek.
1. Thoroughly wash your catch in cool water and pat dry.
2. Make 3 vertical slices into the skin of the fish on each side to help it cook more evenly and to absorb the flavors.
I set the fish in a pan on plastic wrap for easy handling and clean up.
3. Thinly slice the lemon and wash and dry the parsley.
4. Lay the lemon slices in the cavity of the fish and lay the parsley on top of the lemon. Then top the fish with the remaining lemon slices.
Here is a closer look.
If you are ready to cook, you can take it right out to the grill. I preped mine 30 minutes in advance, so I wrapped it in plastic and stored in the fridge until the grill was hot.
5. When you are ready to grill, drizzle the stuffed fish generously with about 1/2 cup of olive oil and sprinkle very generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
6. Place the fish on the hot grill and place some lemon slices on top. Cook for 10 minutes, remove the lemon slices and flip (carefully, but with authority).
7. Place the lemon slices back on top and allow to cook for another 10 minutes over the hot coals.
8. I then slid the fish over to a cooler side of the grill and let steam there for another 10 minutes. This cooked the fish to flakey perfection.
9. Serving really is the hardest part, but it still isn't that hard. Remove the parsley and lemon slices. Then gently remove the white meat from the top of the fish, trying lo leave behind the bones. This will expose the backbone and all the other bones, which you can remove gently, keeping them in tact (They will really look like fishbones after Heathcliff the cat is finished with them). Then the bottom is ready to eat also because you've already removed the bones.
It won't be big beautiful slices, people will pick around and serve themselves hunks of tender, juicy goodness and they will lap it up happily.

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