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Easy Grilled Sea Bass

  • July 25, 2022

This summer’s heat wave has been unrelenting, with many places in our area reaching more than 100 degrees. Who feels like heating up the kitchen in this weather? Not I, but I still like to eat well, and can only eat out so often or get takeout before I crave a home cooked meal. This sea bass dish is so simple to make, when you use a disposable aluminum pan on your grill. It keeps the heat outdoors; it’s delicious and good for you too. I cooked the tomatoes in the pan for a few minutes first, before adding the fish, because the fish takes only five minutes on a hot grill, not enough time for the tomatoes to soften, especially since some of them aren’t on the bottom of the pan in direct contact with the hottest part of the pan. Just snuggle all the ingredients in the pan. It’s easy for us to get locally caught sea bass this time of year, but if you don’t have access to it, use another type of fileted fish, like flounder, branzino or snapper. Make sure to use abundant minced herbs. In this case, I used chives, thyme and parsley.

In addition to the capers and olives, I added a couple of small hot peppers to give it a bit more tang. It really wasn’t very hot since I didn’t split the peppers and expose the seeds, so give it a try. I also added some pickled green peppers and they gave it some zip too.

It took only five minutes to cook on the grill, resulting in this flavorful, easy-to-make meal fit for company. I’ll be making this many times before the summer is over, substituting whatever is the freshest catch in the fish market that day. If your fish is thicker, just leave it for a longer time on the grill.

I served it with some rice (and other vegetables not shown). I’ve even been known to plug in my rice cooker in an outlet outdoors, eliminating the need to turn on the indoor burners entirely.

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Grilled Sea Bass
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • one pound sea bass (or any other filleted fish like flounder, branzino, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • about 6 to 8 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half or quartered if large
  • about a dozen olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • a couple of red hot peppers
  • a few green pickled peppers
  • minced fresh herbs (I used thyme, parsley and chives)
  • half a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • a disposable aluminum pan
Instructions
  1. Place the olive oil and butter in the disposable pan.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, a litlte salt and pepper and place the pan on top of a grill.
  3. Cook the tomatoes for about five minutes to soften a little, because the fish will take only five minutes and in the tomatoes won't soften enough if you wait to put them in when you put in the fish.
  4. Meanwhile, season the fish with salt and pepper and the herbs.
  5. After the tomatoes have cooked for five minutes, remove the pan from the grill and add the fish to the disposable pan, flipping them in the butter and olive oil once to moisten the fish.
  6. More liquid will be released from the fish after a few minutes.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients, spreading them evenly around the pan.
  8. Place the pan on the hot grill once again, and close the lid on the grill.
  9. Cook for about 5 minutes, longer if the fish is thick.
  10. Remove to a serving platter aand enjoy.
 

Pescaturismo and Grilled Fish

  • August 14, 2018

You’ve probably all heard about agriturismo, but do you know what pescaturismo is? The photo above might give you some clue, but if you’re still unsure, another hint comes from the word “pescare” which means “to fish” in Italian.

On our recent trip to Sardinia, we spent a day at sea aboard the Pescaturismo Sampey fishing boat with owners Gemi and Ignazina, (and their nephew Davide) as they hauled in their fishing nets and cooked the day’s catch for us and five other people.

You never know what’s going to appear as the nets get yanked from the sea. On this day it was lots of cuttlefish (similar to squid).

But there were also plenty of finned fish, such as red mullet and sea bass.

I was hoping for some octopus, which is what happened when I took this trip with Ignazina and Gemi 12 years ago, but the sole octopus that got snared in the net managed to escape while being hauled aboard.

There were still plenty of other fish for us to eat, and for Ignazina to remove from the net!

Gemi, Igna and  Davide worked on extracting the fish from the net, cleaning and cooking them, as we were moored off the coast of a small island. Note the flag on the boat, which is the traditional flag of the island, featuring the four moors.

While they did all the work, we were free to jump off the boat, swim and snorkel in the beautiful clear, turquoise waters.

We were summoned back on board for lunch, starting with tomato bruschetta.

Several fish courses followed, cooked in Ignazina’s tiny galley kitchen, including braised cuttlefish.

She also made a seafood risotto, sprinkled with bottarga (fish roe) on top.

Ignazina used some of the whole fish for a seafood stew.

Gemi cooked the rest of the whole fish on a portable grill. We couldn’t have had seafood any fresher unless we had eaten them raw while we were in the water. All this accompanied by limitless wine, homemade limoncello and mirto (blueberry liqueur), and fruit for dessert.

If you’re ever in Southern Sardinia with a day to spare and are looking for something unusual to do, try a day out at sea with Gemi and Ignazina. Their friendliness and hospitality are a great calling card for this beautiful island.

Trying to keep the Sardinia glow alive back at home in New Jersey, I found this two pound sea bass at the local fish store, caught that morning off the coast of our summer home. I smeared the aluminum pan with olive oil, added some herbs inside the fish cavity, scattered some lemon slices and onions around the fish, then my husband cooked it on the outdoor grill.

Filleting a whole fish can be intimidating to some, but once you’ve done it, (directions here), it’s not so difficult.

Besides, when you buy the whole fish, you get the advantage of scooping out the fish cheeks (the small piece on the fork, below) – the most tender and succulent part of all.

I may be far from the crystal clear waters surrounding Sardinia, but I can conjure up those memories at home eating grilled fish, while I remember diving off the side of the Sampey boat.

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