Barbecued fish beg that their bellies be filled with herbs, garlic and zest. On Saturday mornings the fresh food market comes to our village. Sometimes we’ll stop there to buy a couple of fresh Sea Bass (Branzino in Italian), and then head straight up to Monte to light the fire. The General tends to the coals, of course, while I let my imagination loose in the kitchen.
Sea Bass Barbecued with Herbs and Zest
Last Saturday, I poked around and found this: a small stick of celery with leaves, a branch of sage, two cloves of garlic, salted capers, and a lemon which I zested using our fabulous Victorinox Serrated Peeler. I stripped the leaves from the sage, quickly rinsed the capers to release the salt, and squashed the garlic.
Then, I took that faithful wiggle-wobble sea-saw half moon knife and went to work, reducing the lot to a course pesto.
Even if the fishmongers have cleaned the fish, I always like to check them: often you’ll find the heart and possibly the inner tract have been left as a sign of freshness. I withdraw the lot to avoid a nasty confrontation with bitterness later on. Rinse well, pat dry with paper kitchen towel. And then stuff the hollow!
Surprisingly enough, they hold together nicely as they are cooking. You want to grill them over hot coals, not flame. And be very gentle as you’re turning them – roll them onto their backs, obviously, so the stuffing doesn’t fall out. They won’t take long – about 10 minutes on each side.
We served them with a fresh salad, lemon wedges and tzatziki. The herbed and zested stuffing was gorgeous – fresh and powerful at the same time. Not to be eaten by the fork-full, but rather sampled sparingly with the flaking flesh of the fish. Wonderful!
This post has been shared on the AIP Recipe Roundtable.
On the Side
More Great Summer Essentials
- Oregano Crackers with Avocado and Mint Dip – great for munching on while you’re watching the grill.
- Moroccan Inspired ‘Cous Cous’ Salad – this will get people talking – they’ll never guess it’s based on cauliflower!
- Salsa Verde – the Summer Condiment – absolutely perfect during the hot months, for fish, meat, eggs, and for dipping.
How do you stuff your fish? Be sure to let me know in the comments – I’m always up for new inspiration.
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- 1 small stick of celery, leaves included
- 1 small branch of sage
- 1 tablespoon salted capers
- 2 cloves garlic+
- Zest of half a lemon
- Rinse and clean thoroughly the Sea Bass. Pat dry, including the cavity.
- Using a sharp knife, a vegetable peeler or a zester, remove the zest from half a lemon. Remove the white pith from the zest.
- Strip the leaves from the sage.
- Rinse the capers quickly.
- Squash the garlic, discarding the dry skins.
- Place the celery, sage, capers, garlic and zest onto a chopping board, and chop until all is reduced to a course pesto.
- Stuff the cavity of the fish with the pesto and press to close.
- Grill over hot coals, taking care when turning - roll the fish onto their backs to avoid losing the stuffing.
- Serve and enjoy!