Revisited: Grilled Whole Redfish
Revisited: I original posted this recipe over a year ago. I’ve been going back to it over and over – grilled whole redfish has become a favorite in my household – so I thought I’d share it with you again!
There she was, so surprisingly beautiful, unassumingly lying with her friends. They were all so similar yet still she stood out as unique, as one of a kind, created just for me. I couldn’t help but pick her out from the crowd. Her curves, so slender and perfect, her eyes, so dark and mysterious, every part of her seemed to reel me in. I approached her timidly; this was my first time. We made eye contact. I smiled. She smiled… I think. The moment seemed to last forever. Was I really about to do this? I got closer to smell her. I knew it; she smelled so clean, not like the others. I ran my hand down her side admiring how smooth she was. I wanted a taste, a little nibble right there. I knew I couldn’t though, not with people watching, not like that in the store. I pulled back, trying to keep my smile from showing my cards. My lips pierced ever so slightly as I ran my tantalized tongue along my quivering lip.
I looked up at the fishmonger and nodded. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was going to eat her. I let him do the dirty work. He saw me eyeing this beauty from across the counter and knew why I was here. He even patiently waited as I admired my catch with all my titillated senses. Then with little more than a thought he scooped her up, threw her to the table and defiled her pristine body with a slice through the belly and a cut under the chin – do fish have chins? – and with what seemed to be one disgusting swipe he removed her life-giving innards and slid them across the table into a fowl bucket. As blood pooled around my lunch and as organs and scales and gills went flying, my appetite suddenly began to fade.
Fellow patrons to my left and right pleasingly allowed the monger to remove the head and tail of their soon-to-be delicious meal with an impressive whack of the butcher knife. I shook my head though in defiance. I wanted that head and tail in place. I was going to grill this beauty whole, face, smiling or otherwise, and all. I felt like a man, a proud being making a step towards adulthood.
Grilling Fish: I’m of the school of thought that fish should be grilled over very high heat quickly. This will give the skin a deliciously crisp texture and help keep the flesh tender and moist. Try and get the grill in the high 400°F s (you should only be able to hold your hand over the grate for 2 or 3 seconds at most; any longer and the temperature is likely in the 300°Fs). As for cooking time, you can get away with about 8 minutes per inch of thickness (measure the filets, not the entire fish after stuffing the cavity).
Why Whole?: Because some of the best meat in a fish is it’s cheeks and the bit just before the tail! You can also eat the eyes, though be prepared a very interesting experience. There is also a very delicious, albeit small, line of tender, melt-in-your-mouth, flesh along the spine. In fact, I now only cook whole fish.
Grilled Whole RedfishTry your favorite fish variety for a spin on this recipe.Depending on the size of the fish, this recipe should yield enough for 2 to 4.This recipe is easy. See the recipe difficulty key for more information.This recipe will take about 30 minutes.Serve immediately.
1, 3-4 lb. whole redfish, gutted, gilled and scaled
1 orange, sliced
10 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 sprigs rosemary
Salt & pepper, to taste
Grape seed oil or olive oil
1. Wash and thoroughly dry the fish. Prep the grill for high heat.
2. Liberally oil the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle a generous portion of salt and pepper into the cavity.
3. Liberally oil the outside of the fish, head, tail and all. Add salt and pepper all over the fish as well.
4. Place the sliced oranges, smashed garlic cloves and sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity of the fish.
5. Generously oil the grill grate just before adding the fish. Place the fish on its side and grill over high heat. Like burgers only flip the fish once half way through cooking. Use two spatulas to make this task easier. Depending on the thickness, cook the fish for a total time of 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
6. Let rest a few minutes before serving.
7. When cutting meat from the fish, slice just above the cavity as to avoid getting any rib bones in your filet.
What’s your favorite way to cook fish? Have you ever tried grilling a whole fish? Tell me all about it in the comments! Feel free to share links to your favorite recipes too.