Great Fish, Lousy Execution
I was supposed to be in the Middle EAst this week and love the fresh fish out of the Mediterranean. Trip cancelled so I brought the fish to me. On the way home i bought whole Branzinis at my local fishmonger. Walked out to my herb garden and grabbed some sprigs of tarragon, some fresh lemon slices, oiled and S&P'ed the outside. Onto the grill.
What a major challenge from there. I thought I could pull it off without a fish basket, and that was a major mistake. lots of sticking to the grates, a little flare up but in the end my DW, DD and I had an incredible meal.
This fish is one of the best I have ever eaten, moist, grabbed the smoke flavor beautifully from the grill and the bones are big enough if one gets in your mouth, not a big deal in removing.
Next time fish basket for this great addition to my power rotation.
I adore branzino. Make it at least once every week-and-a-half or so. One of my favorite recipes is Hazan's Grilled Fish Romagna Style. Since I live in Manhattan, it's an indoor gas grill for me. I'm sure it would be even better over wood or charcoal. Recipe is not dissimilar to yours: sprinkle fish with s&P; turn in mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and chopped rosemary. Add 1/3 cup of bread crumbs, turn the fish until covered in the oil-soaked crumbs, and marinate for 1 to 2 hours at room temp. Perhaps the longer soaking in oil would help the sticking problem?
Lately I have been cooking whole fish with herbs, lemon, garlic, maybe some scallions and sea salt. I put the ingredients in the cavity of the fish as well as make a bed of the items on the foil and rest the fish on top. I then make a package of foil and put the whole thing on the grill. Ive tried it with swordfish, snapper and salmon with great results each time.
A *very* general rule of thumb is 10 minutes per inch (measured at the thickest part of the fish). This rule of thumb was supposedly developed and tested by the Canadian Dept of Fisheries.
Now, clearly, actual cooking time depends on the shape of the fish, the heat level, the cooking medium, the air temp, and of course your own personal taste. Use the above rule of thumb as a guide, or starting point, if you will. You can also gently press the fish to get an idea about its firmness. You learn by experimentation.