If there is a food that I don’t *normally* like being served, or well, serving to myself, this is it right here.
A fish – cooked whole.
There is something about them that I *normally* find particularly unappealing.
I think it’s that to me, it looks like a carcass. ESPECIALLY after the flesh has been removed. Then that’s all your left with. A head, a tail and a bunch of bones. Speaking of which… I can’t stand bones. Not in my fish, not in my chicken, not in my meat. – Period – Well, alright. There is but one tiny little exception: Rib Steaks. Ya gotta love da bone on a ribsteak! That’s the best part! But I barely ever eat those anymore, so technically, they don’t even count.
Alright, enough about bones… Back to the fish, shall we?
For some reason, there was something about this particular fish that I found exceptionally pretty. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it, and then I had a real hard selecting my favorites!
So brace yourselves, your gonna see its face… A LOT!
My special attachment to this lil’ fella is probably due to the fact that he was given to me by one of my co-workers, who happens to be an avid fly fisherman, but who doesn’t really care much for fish. Once in a while, he’ll go on a fishing trip and bring me back a few yummy delicate trouts or a humongous, tasty salmon.
I feel sooooo privileged when he does that! I’m telling you guys, it doesn’t get any fresher than this. Or better tasting!
Or better looking! 😉
Grilling a whole fish isn’t really all that complicated you know. In fact, I don’t think there is an easier way of cooking fish. It’s so easy, you don’t even need a recipe.
First, you want to preheat your grill to a nice, cozy medium heat, around 350F-375F.
Then, all you need to do is grab your fish and sprinkle the cavity quite liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff it with a bunch of fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, dill, rosemary, marjoram or even fennel.
Then, you can add a few slices of lemon, lime or even oranges, a few cloves of garlic, a few slices of onion if you’d like, or even a few dried chilis, why not?
You can basically stuff your fish with whatever aromatics tickle your fancy. Hey, if you want to use cinnamon, be my guest! I promise not to tell anyone! 😉
So long as you keep it healthy, knock yourself out. Have fun and improvise!
Once your fish is all good and stuffed and ready to go, sprinkle a little bit more salt and pepper on top of it, then flip it around and season the other side as well.
You may also want to lightly brush the skin with a little bit of olive oil to help it not adhere to the grill. For the record, I chose to skip that step, for I feel trout is already fatty enough as it is, and still managed to lift that fish in one piece!
Now throw your fish on the grill (not literally… be delicate, you know. That fish didn’t do anything to you!) close the lid and cook until the skin gets nice and crispy with beautiful grill marks on it and the flesh starts to turn opaque. Whatever you do, DON’T move your fish. You’ll only end up breaking the skin and delicate flesh. You may gingerly lift a corner to check for doneness, but no more.
When the fish is ready to be flipped, it should detach easily from the grill. Carefully flip it over and continue cooking until the flesh is cooked all the way through.
Cooking time varies greatly depending on the size of your fish, but as a general rule of thumb, you’re looking at around 10 minutes per inch of thickness, so that’s usually about 5 to 10 minutes per side.
Carefully transfer your fish to a serving plate or cutting board.
And there you have it, a beautiful, whole grilled fish (wait a minute, did I just use the words beautiful, whole and grilled fish together in the same sentence?) all good and ready to serve. Just look at that gorgeous, tender and juicy flesh.
And yes, that IS white rice you see. Please, don’t judge me too harshly, I was feeling lazy that night and the kids had made some for themselves, so I stole a little bit… beggars can’t be choosers… 😉
I have to admit that this method of cooking fish not only confers an unbelievable flavor to the flesh, but it also keeps it deliciously moist and allows you to not waste any of it. You can literally strip your fish down to the bone and consume every last ounce of meat.
I think I’m a made me a believer!
You with me?