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Greek-Style Grilled Fish


Now that I’m back in Cincinnati and with a kitchen of my own (i.e. not living in a New York City co-op), it’s time to hunker down and get cooking. As much as it’s been nice having others cook for me, I missed being in the kitchen (i.e. a kitchen that is not industrial and air condition-less and with a broken refrigerator and freezer). So I got home and hit the ground running. I read Mark Bittman of the New York Times, regularly, but I don’t often make the recipes in his column. I do, however, own his massive tome, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. With over 1,000 pages of recipes, it’s a bit daunting but a really valuable resource since it does cover pretty much everything.

This recipe for Greek fish caught my eye though and as soon as I had access to a grill (i.e. one that stands on it’s own and does not rest on the roof of my building) I got started. I was excited about this recipe mostly for the tomatoes. Nothing beats a summer tomato. Especially local ones–you can absolutely taste the difference between tomatoes picked off the vine a day ago versus ones picked a week ago. Sorry California, you’re never going to win this one. In the process of getting ready for dinner, I discovered a new farmer’s market. I love the fact that their web site streams happy music.

So this fish. It basically tastes like summer–isn’t that enough of a sale? It calls for a whole trout, bass, or rockfish. Sadly, there were no whole fish at the store, nor any of the above fishes. I went for halibut, which ended up being a great choice for grilling–it’s really mild and the fattiness kept it moist. I always love lemon and herb dressing for fish and it was only made better by topping the fish with the fresh tomatoes, dressed in their own savory marinade. Even my dad, the fish hater, loved it.

Greek-Style Fish
Mark Bittman Recipe; Serves 4

2 cups cherry tomatoes, preferably Sun Gold, halved
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as needed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño, or more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cloves garlic, sliced, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large whole fish or 2 smaller ones (2 to 3 pounds total), like striped bass, rockfish or trout; preferably butterflied and boned, or simply gutted
1 lemon, sliced
4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat oven to 450 degrees or prepare grill; heat should be medium-high and rack about 4 inches from fire. Combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, chili, oregano, a few slices of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl; let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, make three or four diagonal, parallel slashes on each side of fish, just about down to the bone. Sprinkle inside of fish with salt and pepper, then stuff with remaining garlic, a layer of lemon slices and thyme sprigs. Rub outside of fish with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To roast, put fish in roasting pan and cook for about 20 minutes (cooking time will depend on fish size). If grilling, cook until firm enough to turn, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn and cook second side for 5 to 8 minutes. Whether roasting or grilling, fish is done when exterior is crisp and a thin-bladed knife passes easily through the flesh.

Taste tomato mixture and adjust seasoning, adding more oil if needed. Serve fish topped with tomatoes and their liquid.

One Comment leave one →
  1. penny permalink
    08/12/2010 5:36 PM

    great for all those tomatoes we bought today! halibut is a wonderful choice.
    thanks for posting.

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