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How To: Grill The Perfect Fish

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Grilling a whole fish on your barbecue might seem intimidating, but I’m here to show you it’s actually really straightforward – and really impressive, too!

WATCH THIS RECIPE

HOW TO: GRILL THE PERFECT FISH

PREP TIME

10 minutes + 20 minutes resting
COOK TIME

25 minutes
SERVES

4
Ingredients

1 x 2kg whole snapper (or other local fish in your area) 

sea salt 

extra virgin olive oil 

lettuce leaves, to serve 

roughly chopped coriander and basil leaves, to serve 

lime wedges, to serve 

 

Tomato salad: 

400g (14 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved 

1 mild chilli, deseeded and finely diced 

¼ small onion, finely chopped 

juice of 1 lime 

Steps
Step 1

Take the fish out of the fridge and allow to warm slightly at room temperature for about 10-20 minutes. 

Step 2

Prepare your barbecue by lighting the charcoal or turning the heat to high (if a gas barbecue). Preheat your barbecue grill or plate until hot. 

Step 3

Pat the fish dry VERY well with paper towel. Make 3-4 cuts into the flesh on both sides. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Drizzle with oil and rub the oil all over. 

Step 4

Place the fish onto the hot barbecue grill plate. Cover with the barbecue lid and allow to cook without moving for at least 10 minutes or until the skin is slightly charred and you can easily remove the fish from the grill without it sticking. If the skin is still sticking after 10 minutes, keep the fish on the grill until it doesn’t stick. The skin will release easily when the skin is nicely charred and cooked. Flip the fish over and cover with the lid again. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the skin easily releases again. 

Step 5

While the fish is cooking, mix together the ingredients for the tomato salad. 

Step 6

To serve, spoon half of the tomato salad over the fish. Serve with the remaining tomato salad, herbs, lime wedges and lettuce leaves to wrap up bites of the fish. 

Note Icon

TIPS: 

– Allowing the fish to come closer to room temperature will help because if the fish skin is too cold and it hits the hot grill, the steam and moisture that creates can cause your fish to stick. 

– Oiling your fish rather than the grill also helps the fish not to stick. 

– The fish will tell you when it’s ready to turn. If the skin is sticking, leave it for another few minutes and try again. The skin should easily come away when the fish is ready to turn.

When grilling fish you want to ensure you are using sturdy and hearty types of fish. Salmon, snapper, sea bass, halibut and other varieties of firm, thick white fish are the best fish for grilling. If you want to grill more thin and delicate fish you would be best to wrap them in foil first rather than try to grill them this way as they have a tendency to fall apart more easily.

Firstly, allow the fish to get to room temperature, leave it out for about 10-20 minutes. Then you want to ensure it is COMPLETELY dry, dry it off with a paper towel very, very well. You then make around 3-4 cuts in the flesh on both sides of the fish, sprinkle both sides generously with salt and then lather with oil all over! Done! Time to get grilling!

The length it takes for the fish to be grilled depends on the size and thickness of your chosen fish. The fish we have chosen to grill takes about 20 minutes to be cooked through on the grill. A good way to tell if the fish is ready to be flipped is if the skin no longer sticks and releases easily. Cook both sides until the skin releases and ensure the fish is cooked through and you’re good to go!

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