Tips to barbecue fish and Mediterranean Sea Bass recipe

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Fish is one of the healthiest and most delicious foods you can prepare for yourself. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation for being difficult to barbecue. If you love fish but are apprehensive about putting it on your grill, don’t worry, I am going to make it easy.  My tips for barbecuing fish will have you feeling confident and ready to grill your favourite fish recipe for your next meal.

While each technique is unique, the preparation for grilling both variations is the same.

Preparation
First step when grilling anything, especially fish, is to preheat your grill on high. This does a number of things. Bringing the grill up to temperature will help in caramelizing the fish and provide the defined grill marks that supply the immense flavor you love. Having the grill preheated will also lessen the amount of time your fish is on the grill, resulting in less opportunity for your fish to dry out. Lastly, preheating the grill will prevent the number one fear …sticking. Even though fish is very lean, it will naturally release itself from the cooking grate when it is finished cooking if the grill was preheated correctly.

Another constant when it comes to grilling fish is the temperature. Whether skin is on or off, the temperature should be at a medium to high heat, depending on the recipe, around 200-225 Celsius or 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now that your grill is preheated, you’re almost ready to start grilling your fish. The last thing to do is clean the cooking grates with a stainless steel brush to remove all prior cooking debris that may still be left over. Just a good rule of thumb, clean cooking grates are a necessity no matter what you are grilling to aid in easy removal of your grilled cuisine.

If you’ve experienced fish sticking to the grates in the past, chances are you didn’t preheat your grill to the correct grilling temperature or clean your cooking grates properly.

Technique
Check out the tips below to perfect your favorite fish dish.

Skin on:

  • Allow your fish to sit for five to ten minutes to bring it up to room temperature before generously oiling and seasoning it prior to putting it on your cooking grates. This will help to eliminate the possibility of sticking.
  • If you want to sear the flesh side, first be sure to oil the flesh side of the fish and place it flesh side down directly on the grate and grill according to recipe. The fish will naturally release itself from the cooking grate once it is finished being grilled on that side. If searing is not on your grilling game plan, simply place the fish skin side down directly on the grate.
  • Be sure to stick with the general rule of thumb that allows for eight to ten minutes of grill time per inch of fish. Therefore, if your fish is an inch in thickness, grill each side for about three to four minutes. However, always be sure to consult the instructions on your recipe.
  • When it comes time to take your fish off the grill, slide your spatula in between the area where the skin and flesh meet. Using a side-to-side motion, make your way between the two areas so that the layer of skin remains on the grate and only the flesh piece is removed from the grill.
  • As always, make sure you allow adequate time for your fish to rest after it is off the grill. Three to five minutes is a sufficient amount of time to let the fish relax and allow for the juices to run back into your cut of fish, making it more tender.

Skin off:

  • Allow your fish to sit for five to ten minutes to bring it up to room temperature before generously oiling both sides and seasoning your piece of fish prior to putting it on your cooking grates. This will help to eliminate the possibility of sticking.
  • Be sure to stick with the general rule of thumb that allows for eight to ten minutes of grill time per inch of fish. Therefore, if your fish is an inch in thickness, grill each side for about three to four minutes. However, always be sure to consult the instructions on your recipe.
  • Only flip your piece of fish once while grilling. Do not repeatedly turn and flip it. This will heighten the chance of it breaking apart while being grilled.
  • When it comes time to flip your piece of fish, do not force your piece of fish off the grill. Be patient and allow your fish to naturally release itself from the cooking grate on each side. This will indicate that the fish is done being grilled.
  • As always, make sure you allow adequate time for your fish to rest after it is off the grill. Three to five minutes is a sufficient amount of time to let the fish relax and allow for the juices to run back into your cut of fish, making it more tender.

Always remember to grill with your lid down. Each time you open the lid, you add additional cooking time to your meal.

With these tips, you’ll be grilling up a flawless fish dinner that will impress even the pickiest seafood lover at your dinner table. It’ll be easy to bring the taste of the sea to your backyard barbecue any time you desire. *

 

RECIPE
If you cannot find sea bass, this works beautifully with cod or halibut as well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless sea bass fillets, each about 170g and 2 1/2 cm thick (6 ounces and 1 inch)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Preparation:

In a small bowl whisk the first 6 ingredients
Spread the paste evenly on both sides of the fillets
Allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes
Grill the fillets over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the flesh is opaque throughout and starting to flake, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once
Remove from the grill and serve warm with lemon wedges
Enjoy!

 

*From Weber International website

Chocolate and cherry cake

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A super moist and delicious almond sponge, studded with juicy cherries and covered in chocolate and almonds. It will keep for several days – if it lasts that long!

Ingredients:

200g / 14 tbsp butter, softened
225g / 8oz fresh cherries, pitted and halved
140g / 1 cup flour
200g / 1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1½ tsp baking powder
75g / 2/3 cup ground almonds
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
200g / 8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp toasted flaked almond

 

Preparation:

Heat oven to 160C / 325 F
Grease a loaf tin
Toss the cherries in 1 tbsp of the flour, then set aside
Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl, and whisk until light and fluffy
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well between each addition
Fold in the remaining flour, the baking powder and ground almonds
Stir in the milk, the vanilla and almond extracts, and half of the chocolate with a spatula
Pour half the cake mixture into the tin, scatter half the cherries over the top, then add the remaining cake mixture and the remaining cherries
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely Melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave in 20-sec bursts, then drizzle or pipe over the top of the cake and scatter with the almonds
Wait for the chocolate to set a bit before slicing
Enjoy!

Lapin à la moutarde / Rabbit in mustard sauce

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It’s easy to see why mustard is a classic ingredient in rabbit dishes. It’s delicious. This kind of thing would be really good made with chicken thighs and legs too. I’d take the skin off to minimize the amount of fat if using chicken. Domestic rabbits (farm-raised, not wild) give a very lean white meat that is not at all strongly flavoured.

Serve with rice or sautéed potatoes.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

1 rabbit (about 3 to 4lbs / 1 1/2 to 2 kg), cut into serving pieces
3/4 bottle of dry white wine (I used a Chablis)
3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used a combination of classic Dijon and wholegrain)
250ml / 1 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 shallots, finely sliced
3 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 carrot, sliced thinly (optional)
1 cube of sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped roughly

Preparation:

Coat the pieces of rabbit with the Dijon mustard (3 tablespoons)
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat
Add the rabbit and brown on all sides
Meanwhile bring to the boil, in a saucepan, the wine with the bay leaves, thyme, garlic, sugar and carrot
When the rabbit is nicely browned, remove to a plate and keep warm
In the skillet add more butter, if needed, and cook the shallots until translucent
Add the rabbit and the wine mixture
Season and allow to simmer for about 1 hour
In a bowl, mix the cream, the 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard and some parsley
Remove the rabbit when cooked and place on a serving platter
Add the cream and mustard mixture to the wine cooking juices and cook for 2 minutes, do not allow it to boil
Pour the sauce over the rabbit and serve
Bon Appétit!

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