Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grilling Whole Fish a la Chef Bill Beck

Grilled Whole Fish from Reading Terminal Market, now that's good eating!

We've talked before about grilling burgers.  And most everybody loves a tasty burger, but sometimes we crave a more elegant repast.  In the summer months, however, that elegance must still be executed on the grill.  I don't care if the Queen is coming for dinner, I am not cranking up my oven in the dead of summer.  Now, for all we know, Her Majesty may love to sink her royal choppers into a thick juicy burger, but probably not with a Commoner, and certainly not an American.  With that in mind, we sought the advice of a pro.  

We caught up with our friend Chef Bill Beck of Beck's Cajun Cafe in Reading Terminal Market recently and he gave us some great ideas for a more refined-though still grillable--repast.
Whole Branzino, before Bill got hold of it.

For the main dish, Bill offered up  a whole branzino, about 1 lb.  He recommends the following preparation:   Stuff the cavity with a handful of fresh herbs--oregano, dill, thyme--whatever you have on hand.  Coat the outside of the fish with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.     Place the fish on the heated grill, and cook about 5 minutes per side til fish flakes easily.  When the cooking is complete, let the fish sit for 5 minutes; this makes for easier serving as the skin and bones will pull away from the flesh.

As a side, Bill suggests grilled sweet potatoes.  These need significantly more time on the grill than the fish, and are cooked at a lower temperature, so should be done ahead of time.  Prick the potatoes and wrap loosely in foil.  Grill them slowly for about 1 hour on indirect heat til completely soft.  (check for doneness at 45 minutes)  Split the tops and serve with a sprinkle of Devil Dust, a slab of butter and a drizzle of molasses.

We're sure even Her Majesty will approve of this spread.

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