A whole cooked fish is not as complicated as you think. The most important thing is making sure your grill is very hot. Barracuda is a delicious and underutilized local species here in San Diego. Double the recipe for a crowd.
Ready In 1 hour Makes 2-4 servings
1 whole Barracuda, scaled and gutted
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cilantro Garlic Butter (see bottom of page)
Sea salt and pepper
2 lemons or limes, sliced into rounds
A few sprigs of cilantro, parsley, and mint
Flaky sea salt
1 Heat a well-oiled grill to high heat. Starting behind the gills, use a knife to cut slits on both sides of the flesh. Slits should be about an inch apart.
2 Coat the fish inside and out first with the olive oil and then with the butter. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the inside with citrus rounds and herbs.
3 Place the fish directly on the grill grates and cook, undisturbed, for 20-25 minutes or until the skin is crisp and charred and lifts easily from the grill. If the fish sticks, it isn’t ready to be turned, and it needs another minute. Flip the fish with tongs or a large fish spatula, and cook the other side for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. The skin should look crispy and the flesh should be opaque and flake easily.
4 Transfer cooked fish to a platter and finish with flakey sea salt. Leave to rest for five minutes before serving.
CILANTRO GARLIC BUTTER
Place ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature in a large bowl along with ½ cup finely chopped cilantro, 1 whole head of chopped garlic, juice from 2 limes, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir mixture until well blended and thoroughly combined. Butter can be made in advance, rolled tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and frozen.