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Grilled Whole Redfish at Chasing Delicious

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 Redfish at Chasing Delicious

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Grilled Whole Redfish

[tabs tab1=”Information” tab2=”Yield” tab3=”Difficulty” tab4=”Time” tab5=”Serving Suggestions”] [tab id=1] Try your favorite fish variety for a spin on this recipe.  [/tab] [tab id=2]Depending on the size of the fish, this recipe should yield enough for 2 to 4. [/tab] [tab id=3]This recipe is easy. See the recipe difficulty key for more information.[/tab] [tab id=4]This recipe will take about 30 minutes. [/tab] [tab id=5]Serve immediately.   [/tab] [/tabs] Tools:

Grill
Spatulas

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

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.

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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.

 

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AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Food nerd. Cookbook author. Founder of Chasing Delicious. Pastry cook at Fluff Bake Bar. Lover of hot dogs. Russell van Kraayenburg founded Chasing Delicious in 2010 and has been chasing delicious recipes ever since. Russell is author of the cookbooks Haute Dogs and Making Dough.

48 Comments

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  • Joan Nova

    Sexy love story between you and the fish and stunning photos. Fabulous post…so entertaining.

  • Evan Thomas

    This post was hysterical. I work in a restaurant where the chef butchers everything himself, so I guess I’ve gotten used to the dead-lifeless-fish-eyes-staring-you-in-the-face look. That being said, I’ve never bought and butchered one myself. I think having to put the bleeding bones and heads into pots to make stock has turned me off from fish.

    • Russell

      Thank you! What a sad/scary image to get use to. I can understand being turned off by having to do that all day. Sometimes I just tell myself that the end product will be so delicious it is just worth it. Then again I don’t work in a kitchen and do stuff like that all day.

  • cakewhiz

    I don’t eat fish and i don’t think i can ever touch a dead one with eyes and everything. lol. you, sir, are very brave to have made this :D

  • Charissa

    Hehe, I think I could be scared of dead fish eyes too…brave man. :)

    Thanks for the friend add on Food Buzz, I love meeting new bloggers who love food just as much as me! ;)

    • Russell

      Sometimes I just have to put a brave face on! And thanks for stopping by. II too love meeting new foodies!

  • norma

    I jut accepted your frienship request from Foodbuzz and now I am following you here. What a great post and love the pictube of your boy. Can’t wait for future posts.

  • Kelly

    Hahah I plug my nose too during the seafood section! But this looks so delicious and such a perfect summer meal! :)

  • Pierre

    The way a fresh whole fish suppose to be treated and greatly presented !

  • Happy When Not Hungry

    I’ve never grilled a whole fish before, but I would def love to try! This looks amazing. Nice job!

  • Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen

    Oh heavens, seeing your grilled fish – whole – makes me so happy somehow! My grandfather was a fishmonger, you know, and when I was little I used to accompany him and sit on the scale-covered bench, pinching my nose like that kid in your photo. I love to eat fresh fish but still squirm when I have to clean and behead it myself. It’s no longer the smell that put me off, it’s the sparkling eyes staring back at me!

    • Russell

      That sounds like an incredible, albeit smelly, memory! Yeah those eyes will get ya. I had to do my best to just ignore the face. Not an easy task, especially when I had to have my hand through it to hold the fish up for that photo.

  • Isabelle @ Crumb

    Heh. I guess if you’ve never grown up eating whole fish, it can be an uncanny experience to have your dinner staring back at you. :)
    Whole grilled fish always reminds me of vacationing with family in Portugal – most days, lunch would be whatever fish my uncle picked up from the market that morning, rubbed with a little olive oil and salt and grilled whole… heads and tails and all. With some bread and a little salad on the side, there’s nothing better.
    Now I want to hop on the first flight to Lisbon so I can have some of my uncle’s grilled fish. Sigh.

    • Russell

      It was definitely an experience. And that sounds like a lovely lunch! Hey, save me a seat on the flight too.

  • Skylar

    This is food in it’s purest form, and in my opinion, it’s best. Fish stands so well on it’s own, it just needs a little prep and it can be so delicious. This is the most delicious thing I have come across in quite some time

  • Trish

    Great writing. I must say, the post entry got me a little hot. Nice post. Look forward to following :-)

  • Cristina

    Your grilled whole redfish turned out beautiful! Luv the use of all that garlic and the orange.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your writing and beautiful supporting images (I caught myself grinning and chuckling). I’m with you in that I’ve never cooked anything with the face still on it!

    Have a fantastic weekend! ;)

  • Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective

    Love fish! Gorgeous recipe!

  • Diane {Created by Diane}

    I’ve never grilled a whole fish, I just may have to now!

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    looks amazing and great to see this on a blog!

  • Jeanette

    Beautiful writing Russell – always love our poetic style. I agree – there’s nothing better than fresh whole fish right off the grill. Just made some this weekend stuffed with lemon and rosemary. The only problem was my husband swallowed a fishbone that got stuck in his throat. I’ll have to do a better job of fileting it afterwards ;).

  • Carolyn

    You need to start writing Harlequin Romances! ;) Fish looks so good, I’d love to try it grilled whole like that.

  • Kathleen

    My husband and I just finished cooking some fresh caught redfish using this recipe and it was the best fish we have had
    off the grill!!! Whole is the way to go and the cheeks are delicious!! Thanks for such an easy delicious recipe!!

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