Whole fish grilled over charcoal is a central focus for the 900 km of Portuguese coast. Simply prepared, seasoned with sea salt and grilled to perfection, one hardly needs anything other than a cold bottle of vinho verde! This recipe prepares the fish by opening it across the middle to allow for a larger grilled surface, hence maximising the charcoal flavour. This way of preparing fish makes it easier to grill just the right amount. As your dealing with a relatively thin piece of fish there is no danger of having a burnt skin and a raw middle! This also makes it easier to negotiate your way through the bones as they become more visible with the fish open in half.
Sea bass and other fish can be prepared in exactly the same way.
4 tbsp melted butter
1 lemon juiced
Rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped roasted red pepper
1 small-medium bream per person
Course sea salt
1. Start by lighting the bbq then prepare the fish for grilling. Assuming the fish is gutted, place it on a chopping board belly up and cut along the belly opening through the head and alongside one side of the bone all the way to the tail. With your hands flatten the fish until it stays open. Rinse in cold water, tap dry and salt generously on both sides.
2. To make the butter sauce, mix the butter and lemon juice and stir until you get a nice emulsified texture. Add coriander, roast red pepper and the lemon rind.
3. Grill the fish for about 7-9 minutes per side carefully checking that you get a nice char grilled finish without burning.
4. Serve with the butter sauce accompanied by boiled baby potatoes and vegetables or green salad.