Grilled Fish – Video Recipe
Summertime at the grill with a whole fish is quite easy to do. A whole fish does not fall apart easily, like a delicate fillet of fish. You do have those tiny bones to deal with, but if you take your time you will be rewarded with crunchy fish skin and tender flaky flesh. So check out my video recipe below for Grilled Fish, to bone up on how I do it.
Grilled Fish – Video
Play it here. Video runs 1 minute, 26 seconds.
I usually get whole cleaned Tilapia fish from my local Latin grocery store for around 99 cents per pound. Of course you can use any fresh fish you catch.
Most fish is sold with the fish scales removed. If you are not sure just take a spoon and rub the fish skin, in all directions, to see if any scales pop off. They are tough like fingernails so you want to give your fresh fish a quick check to make sure they are all removed.
Be careful when handling a whole fish as their fins may have sharp bones that can easily pierce your fingertips.
And if you are feeding the family, make sure to give the kids pieces of cooked fish that have been carefully checked for those pesky tiny fish bones.
Before cooking whole fish give it a quick rinse before coating it with any seasonings or marinade.
I keep it simple, just rub on a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you have any favorite herbs then feel free to sprinkle them on, or add a few sprigs into the fish stomach cavity.
I grill with cheap Tilapia fish, but you can use any locally caught fish, or fish from a farmers market. Any defrosted fish you buy should be cooked within a day or two, at most. Fresh fish is extremely perishable so get to cooking it soon.
Fish on a grill cooks fast, so don’t walk away for too long to refill your glass of wine or retrieve another can of beer. I use a gas grill and the heat is controllable, but if you are using a charcoal grill you can cook the fish off to the side – it’s easier to monitor that way. You can oven-broil a whole fish too, just keep an eye on it.
Fish is done when it’s flaky and firm, but still a little moist. It’s always okay to break off a piece of fish to taste for doneness.
I like to cook fish with skin on. Some Japanese restaurants even serve grilled fish skin as a special appetizer. For thick and meaty fish cutting a few slices into the thickest part will make a more even doneness – it’s also easier to flake off a small piece of flesh to test.
If a whole fish is thin then just oil and season it, and start grilling. My recipe is delish however you slice it!
If you buy fish fillets on sale they need to be handled carefully over an open flame. Make sure to oil the grill or the fillet, so the fish will not stick and fall apart when you turn it.
I like whole Grilled Fish because it’s quick to do, but oh so tasty. Just remember to watch out for those tiny bones, it’s well worth picking around to get to all that smoky grilled seafood goodness.
Ingredients (one serving)
1 whole fish – I used a cleaned tilapia fish. Okay to use any local caught fish or fish fillet.
1 tablespoon oil – I lightly coated the fish. Okay to just add oil on the grill.
Salt and pepper to taste – okay to use favorite seasoned salt.
Check fish for freshness. It should not smell off – just a clean fish smell. Fish skin is shiny and not over-slimy. Fish eyes are mostly clear, not too cloudy. Go by look, smell and feel – hey, it’s a fish so there will be some smell and sliminess, just not too much.
Also check that the fish belly is cleaned out. Sometimes there are small bits of stomach or intestines left, just pull out any leftover pieces.I also rake a spoon edge over the fish skin – sometimes a few fish scales are still attached. They will come loose when you rub the spoon over skin, but you need to make sure to rub skin from tail-to-head direction. Scales will fly off, so place fish on large plate or a sheet of newspaper, or on a bag.
Okay, now time to get the fish on the grill.
If the whole fish is a big one, then make a few slices into the thickest part of fish, this makes it easier to check for doneness. Also the fish will cook more evenly. Some fish has a thick side and a thin side; you only need to slice into the thick side. Some fish is thick on both sides so slice away. Once you’ve grilled fish a few times, you can grill it without the slices, just go by touch – fish is done when it is firm to the touch.
I prepare my whole fish simply, just a little olive oil, salt and pepper – that’s it. You can brush on a little of your favorite oil or just drizzle and rub it all over the fish. When fish is oiled, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper. For a lighter version leave off the oil and just add some to the grill where the fish is cooked. Adding oil to the fish keeps the flesh from sticking to the hot grill grating.
You can also sprinkle on any favorite herb, or add a few sprigs into the belly cavity. If you have a favorite marinade you can use it.
Heat up the grill and when it’s hot add the oiled and seasoned whole fish.
Cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of the fish and how hot the grill gets. My whole tilapia took about 3 minutes for each side.
It’s easy to overcook fish, so you want to check on it often, at least every minute or two. When fish goes from semi-transparent to a solid color, then it is done. You can always break off a piece of fish to test by tasting.
Since fish cooks quicker than chicken or steak, it’s best to have all your side dishes set out and ready to serve when you (wo)man the grill.
My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.