How to Prep The Fish:
2-4 large fish fillets with the scales left on. Heavy-bodied fish work best—redfish, drum, sheepshead, or large croakers—but other species can also be substituted, specifically speckled trout or black bass. By the way, the same preparation technique applies for every species.
1. Wash the fillets under cold running water and pat them totally dry with paper towels.
2. Prepare the marinade you are going to use: Sicilian Garlic Marinade, Asian Teriyaki, Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette, Spicy Lemon, Herb and Soy Marinade, etc. Then totally combine the ingredients together, almost to the point of the mixture emulsifying. Now set them on the countertop for about 15 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
3. Place the fish in a shallow baking pan and pour either the preferred marinade or two 16-ounce bottles of Italian Salad Dressing plus about a half-cup of extra virgin olive oil over the fillets (the scales should be face-down in the pan). Now allow the fish to “rest” in the marinade for at least an hour (all day is better).
How To Cook The Fish:
1. When you’re ready to cook, fire up the grill to medium-high—either charcoal or gas.
2. Drain the fillets and salt and pepper them lightly (but reserve the marinating liquid to baste the fish to keep it moist as it cooks.)
3. With the grill hot (which should take about 15 minutes for charcoal and about 8 minutes for gas set on high), place the fillets—scales side down—on the grates (which should be set about 6 inches over the heat source.)
4. Now cover the grill and let the fish cook. But. . .
5. Every 5 minutes or so, check the cooking process, baste the fillets lightly, and watch that the fillets don’t burn. Total cooking time to a lightly roasted perfection should take no longer than, say, 20 minutes.
6. When the fish turn opaque and the thickest parts of the fillets flake easily with a fork, they’re done.
7. At this point, gently remove them from the grill and plate them up piping hot right in their scales, alongside a platter-full of poached, spicy, basil-buttered, new potatoes and a tomato, cucumber, red onion, mushroom, and black olive salad covered with the Italian balsamic dressing and sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese.
8. By the way, the best way to dish out individual portions of fish is with a metal spatula (egg turner)—the white, slightly-charred flesh scoops away from the scales very easily. Watch for rib bones left on the fillets, however.
Chef’s Notes: This recipe can also be done in the oven, either baked in a shallow-sided pan at 425 degrees or in a pan set about 3 inches directly under the broiler.
The baked variety should be checked, like, maybe every 5 minutes or so; the broiled variety needs to be watched closely, say, every 3 minutes or so.
Both baked and broiled varieties should be basted periodically with the reserved marinade.
An easy method of marinating the fish is to place the fillets and the marinade into a plastic zipper-top bag.
Jostling them up an down and back and forth periodically will totally prepare the fish. Marinating should ideally be done in the refrigerator overnight. . .or no less than 1 hour on the countertop.
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Alternate Grilled Fish Marinades
Sicilian Garlic Marinade:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Sicilian or Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Your favorite all purpose or seafood seasoning for sprinkling
Mix together then marinate the fish in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Then sprinkle with the all purpose or seafood seasoning and grill. Do not overcook the fish.
Asian Teriyaki Marinade:
1 bottle low sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger or grated gingerroot
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper
Mix together then marinate the fish on the countertop for one hour. Then sprinkle with the salt and pepper and grill. Do not overcook the fish.
Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette Marinade:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
2-3 dashes hot sauce
Your favorite all purpose seasoning or seafood seasoning for sprinkling
Mix together then marinate the fish on the countertop for about 45 minutes. Then sprinkle with the all purpose seasoning or seafood seasoning and grill. Do not overcook the fish.
Spicy Lemon, Herb, and Soy Marinade:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
Paprika for sprinkling
Place all the ingredients except the paprika in a blender. Then process on blend for exactly 10 seconds, liberally brush over fish, and then marinate in the refrigerator for one hour. Finally, sprinkle with the paprika then grill over medium flame. Do not overcook the fish.
To make basil butter for your potatoes, soften two sticks of butter and drop them into a food processor, along with 6 leaves of fresh basil and 2 teaspoons all purpose seasoning.
Then process the mixture until the basil is minced and the butter turns green.
Spread immediately over the hot, poached potatoes or roll up in a tube shape in either waxed paper or plastic wrap and freeze until needed.
To make the tomato, cucumber, red onion, mushroom, and black olive salad, combine as desired in a large bowl the small cherry or grape tomatoes, medium sliced cucumber with the skin left on, about a cupful of coarsely chopped Crimini or Baby Portabella mushrooms, a cup or so of pitted black olives (maybe even a few stuffed green olives), a bottle of your favorite Italian salad dressing with a little extra “extra virgin” olive oil added in, about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar, and a tad of cracked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Toss completely and chill for about 30 minutes before garnishing with shredded Parmesan cheese and serving with your grilled redfish.