A dear friend of mine was kind enough to offer the bounty of fish (porgy!) caught by her husband this past week.
Last year, we received a similar bounty of fish, and my older daughter pointed to them, solemnly stating, “Fish sleeping.”
After the girls went to bed, I decided to grill a few, and freeze the others to save for when my brother and his wife came over, so they could also savor the delicious fish.
I find grilling the entire fish on the barbecue (we have a gas-grill) over medium heat to be wonderfully convenient, and it also provides a nicely crisp, slightly charred skin, surrounding the moist and mild flesh.
I pre-heated the grill – I don’t recall the actual temperature to be very honest – as I tend to often cook by “instinct” – and placed the cleaned, de-scalled porgy directly on the grill. The best perk of grilling whole fish, is that unless you plan on eating the skin, you don’t need to de-scale it.
My grill has three burner “levels” that run horizontally. I usually keep the furthest back burner on high, and leave the middle and front burner levels at low.
For these fish, I turned the back burner to high, and the two front layers to medium low.
I then placed them on the front-most section of the grill, and shut the lid.
I checked on the fish occasionally, and flipped them over once the skin was crispy – about 8 minutes on each side, depending on the size and thickness of the actual fish.
I then commenced to de-bone the fish – at our house, chopsticks do the trick. The meat is very moist and mild, and I managed to sneak a few morsels as I removed the cooked flesh.
My labrador paced around the periphery of the kitchen, and both of my cats proceeded to weave around my legs, meowing and begging for a bite or two. (All three enjoyed the fruits of my labor).
To serve, unless we eat the grilled fish immediately (and I debone the fish at the table, sprinkle a little freshly squeezed lemon juice) I often re-heat the fish (very quickly) in the microwave, and serve with a bowl of steamed rice, veggies, and a soup for a truly “traditional” Japanese meal. Other times I add into an omelette, or add to soup – either miso, or a clear shiitake/dashi based soup.
Either way, we love our grilled fish!