Monday, May 31, 2010


So summer is here and thus begins one of my favorite seasons of all :

Grilling Season!

Everyone has grilled hamburgers and hotdogs... maybe a steak or two. I decided to try something I haven't tried before - Grilled Snapper! Forget ground beef! How can you really get more crazy than throwing the entire carcass of a dead animal on an open flame?!

I've heard good things about grilling fish, and, like I mentioned in my last posting, I'm trying to cook more fish for me and the hubby. Here goes nothing!

(Little Kylie Bear was excited about grilling the fish too!)

The Stuff

( Look how cool the whole fish looks!)

I stopped by Wegmans to take a look at the fresh fish selection. I told the guy behind the counter that I wanted to grill a whole fish, but had no idea what I was doing. He kinda laughed at me, then brought me to the whole fish section. He described the 2 or 3 fresh ones that were sitting on ice. I think bronzini was one of the other choices. He said that Red Snapper was a very popular fish for grilling whole. I chose one that looked pretty fresh. The eyes are supposed to be clear and not milky. Also, there isn't supposed to be a fishy smell. The fish guy took it in the back, removed the scales, and the fins, then wrapped it up. He said that I should put a few cuts into the sides and I could put some ginger or scallions in the fish to give it a bit of flavor.

(Hello everyone, don't I look yummy?!)
I decided for a side dish we should have some veggies. I absolutely love grilled zucchini and mushrooms. Curt isn't a big fan of mushrooms, but I just eat the ones he doesn't. I cut up the veggies and tossed them in some olive oil, garlic, and salt, then stuck them on skewers. I let them rest for a few minutes, letting them marinate.

(not many things better than grilled veggies)

I took the laid the fish out on the cutting board and put a few thick slits in one side. I had read that doing this prevents the fish from curling as it cooks. It also is supposed to help with ensuring that the fish cooks evenly throughout. I then flipped the fish over and put a few slits on the other side.

The fish guy had removed all of the guts from the snapper, so I didn't have to worry about finding a grilled liver or stomach on my plate. Although he mentioned putting ginger and scallions in the fish, I've never been a huge fan of ginger. I decided to use a shallot, garlic, and what else? Bacon! I had some leftover bacon from the day before, so I figured that would be a good little addition.

I cut up the shallot and garlic and then stuffed the bacon all into the stomach cavity of the fish. I took a few slices of garlic and stuck them in the slits that I had made on the sides of the fish.

(The garlic, bacon, and shallots all inside the fish!)

Now it's ready for the grill!

( The veggie skewers are all nicely placed on the grill with room for the fish too)

I heated up the grill to medium heat and placed the veggie skewers on the grill. They don't take very long to cook, but I threw them on first to make sure they had enough time to cook.

(veggies never looked so good!)

Next, I threw the snapper on the grill and just let it cook. I wasn't too sure how long to cook the fish. Internet pages had said to cook it until it begins to flake.

(look how pretty!)

I let the fish cook for maybe about 10 minutes. The smells were starting to really come out of the grill and waft through the air. Luckily, it was a gorgeous night and standing on our deck with a cold beer, waiting for dinner to cook was so perfect!

(Flip it!)

After the fish had grilled for about 10 minutes, I decided to flip the fish. There was a moment of grossness during the flipping process. The eyeballs were still intact when I put the fish on the grill. I guess, during the cooking process, it had dried out, or something crazy. When I flipped the fish, the eyeball fell out into the bottom of the grill. It was pretty gross seeing the goopy white eyeball on the bottom of the grill... but oh well!

I flipped all of the veggies after I flipped the fish. It took another 10 minutes or so to finish grilling. I just took it off after the fish looked totally cooked. Because there were slits in the sides of the fish, I was able to see that the whole fish was cooked.

(Not the prettiest looking meal in the world)

I let the fish rest on a foil lined pan for a few minutes to let everything cool down. I know that when you cook most meats, you need to let it rest before you start cutting it so that the juices have time to redistribute. I don't know if that's the same for fish, but I figured it couldn't hurt to let it rest a little bit.
There was definitely a LOT of meat on the fish, so Curt, Billy, and I all sat down and dug in! We just sort of scooped the fish off the bone. It pulled apart very easily and we were able to pick out any pesky bones. Since I'm Asian, I had made some brown rice to go with everything. I pulled the veggies off the grill and put them aside.
Altogether, the veggies, brown rice, and fish were absolutely delicious! I really enjoyed everything. The fish had a nice, mild flavor and you could taste the bacon, garlic, and shallots.

We all ate until we couldn't eat anymore! This was all that was left!
Now, I know that my sister, in Cape Verde would do the right thing and eat everything off the fish... including the meat from the head. However, I'm not in Africa, and I haven't quite warmed up to the idea yet. Curt did try a bite of the grilled tail! :)

Anyone want a bite?!

Not much left to eat!
So, in conclusion, my experiment with trying to grill a whole fish turned out to be a great success! Everything was delicious and quite healthy! It was very simple too. I would say that this is definitely a MUST for anyone who likes fish and likes grilling!

(family picture)

Here's the result of a full meal of fish! Kylie isn't asleep yet because we didn't let her have some of the fish... we're awful parents, huh?