Summer Fish Recipe: Whole Grilled Fish with Lime

Photo by Chris GentilePhoto by Chris GentileRecipe by Charlie Hollowell, Bon Appétit

With a dish this simple, you need the freshest possible fish-and good technique. Score the flesh down to the bone to encourage even cooking, and be patient when making the first turn: If you oil the grill grate well and give the fish time to cook through, the skin won't stick.

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Ingredients

1 5-pound, two 2 1/2-pound, or three 1 1/2-pound head-on fish, such as gray or pink snapper, black sea bass, or branzino, scaled, gutted
Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for oiling and drizzling
2 limes or 5 Key limes (preferably from Mexico), thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch each basil and cilantro, stems and leaves separated

Preparation Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Score fish: Cut 1 slash lengthwise down to the bone, then crosswise in 2 places, spacing apart; repeat on other side. Season fish cavity and skin with salt; drizzle fish with 1/4 cup oil. Stuff some of the lime slices (reserve a few for garnish) and herb stems inside fish.

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Clean and oil grill grate well. Grill fish, resisting the urge to turn it, until skin is nicely crisp and charred and flesh is flaky and opaque down to the bone. (This can take 6-15 minutes, depending on size of fish. Don't mess around with it until it's ready.) Place a metal spatula underneath fish (a pair of metal tongs on top of fish also helps for support), then lift and gently roll over to the other side. Cook until flesh is flaky and opaque down to the bone, 6-15 minutes. Use a small knife to check for doneness; if it slides easily through the thickest part of flesh, fish is done. If not, finish cooking fish on grill or in a 450° oven.

Place fish on a serving platter; drizzle oil and lime juice over. Garnish with reserved lime slices, basil leaves, and cilantro.

Hungry for More? If you have a question about this recipe, contact our Test Kitchen at askba@bonappetit.com. To see more recipes like this one, check out our Fish Recipes Slideshow.



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