A grouper is a fish that belongs to the Serranidae family which also includes sea bass. It is lean and moist, and it has a distinctive yet mild flavor. It has large flakes and a firm texture.
Groupers can be red or black. The Red Grouper has a flavor that is sweeter and milder than that of the black, but the black is considered to be tastier.
Serve with an orzo salad, a traditional Greek salad, or an herb and greens salad tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Note: Have your fishmonger remove any scales, gills, guts, and fins, leaving the head and tail intact This recipe is for each fish.
3/4-pound whole snapper, ( or other whole mild, white-fleshed fish)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 very thin slices of lemon, cut in half into 12 half slices
1 ounce fresh thyme
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 whole lemons, quartered
1 cup pit-in green and black olives, like Kalamata and Sicilian
Fire up your grill to medium-high heat.
Make sure each fish is trimmed, rinse it, and dry it thoroughly inside and out with paper towel. Season each fish with 2 tablespoons olive oil: pour roughly 2 teaspoons inside the cavity, and rub it into the flesh. Then pour the remainder of the 2 tablespoons on the outside of the fish, and rub it into the skin, making sure every inch of the fish, from head to tail, is oiled (this prevents the fish from sticking to the grill). You’ll want to oil the fish on a wide platter, to catch any oil that will run off, which can still be used to marinate the fish. You should have ¼ cup olive oil leftover for later.
- Season the fish with salt. If you use Maldon salt, which is flaky sea salt that you will create a great crust on the outside of the fish. Sprinkle about a third of the teaspoon into the cavity of the fish, and use the remainder of the teaspoon to season the skin.
Stuff the cavity of each fish with 6 thin half-moons of lemon, and 1/2 of the thyme.
- Season the outside of the fish with pepper, about 3 grinds on the peppermill on each side of each fish. The fish should not be on a platter, stuffed and seasoned, with olive oil pooling on the platter beneath.
- Make sure the grill is nice and hot. Get the fish nicely coated on both sides in the olive oil on the platter. Place the fish on the hot grill. Do not try to move it.
Dip remaining cut lemons in the oil on the platter and place the lemon quarters, cut-side-down, on the grill.
Cook the fish 7 to 8 minutes on each side, until the skin is nicely charred and releases easily from the grill with the help of a pair of tongs and spatula. The flesh will be flaky and white.
Remove the lemons whenever they are charred—it takes about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Place the fish and charred lemons on a rustic serving platter, and pour the remaining fresh extra virgin olive oil right on top of the fish.
Scatter the olives around the platter, and top the fish with a few decorative sprigs of fresh thyme. Serve immediately