Whenever you are 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.Print
Jessica Dang is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media consultant based in New York City. She is currently developing Single Girl Dinner, an online community and resource of dinner ideas for young independent women living in the city. She enjoys reading menus, dining at the bar, and experimenting in the kitchen when no one's looking. When it comes to food, she can't resist uni, foie gras, caviar, or Popeyes' fried chicken.