Grilled fish with lemon & chilli dressing

by Ginny Grant | Cuisine issue #154
Serves: 4Any type of fish is suitable for grilling in this way. I like to let the flavours of the fish come through so I don't add too much to it - here it's served with a simple lemon and chilli dressing.

600g-700g whole fish (I used yellow belly flounder – you could also use trumpeter, gurnard or tarakihi), scaled, gutted, gills snipped out
handful lemon leaves and bay leaves
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
neutral-flavoured oil such as canola for brushing

Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper then slash 3 x 3cm-long slices into the thickest part of the flesh, to ensure even cooking (you don’t need to do this with flat fish). Put a few lemon leaves inside the cavity then soak the rest in water, along with the bay leaves.

Combine the lemon zest with half the lemon juice, the chilli and the extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is the dressing.

Light the barbecue then wait 15 minutes for the flames to die down, so it is hot but not flaming.

Put the soaked leaves on the coals. Brush the fish skin with canola oil then season with sea salt and place
on the grill or hot plate. Ideally the thickest part of the fish should be on the hottest part of the grill – the tail end won’t need as much heat.

For each 2.5cm thickness, allow 8-10 minutes’ cooking time, turning halfway through. Don’t try to move the fish around the barbecue as you’ll tear the skin. Remove to a platter then serve with the dressing.

You could also roast the fish at 200°C in the oven for 8-10 minutes per 2.5cm flesh thickness.

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