Not much beats a grilled whole fish, especially one served with a piquant tamarind sauce.
I bought this beautiful branzino and couldn't wait to get it on the grill.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, then rub it down, inside and out, with a paste of garlic, lime juice, Thai chili, and ginger, and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
While the fish is marinating, make the sauce.
In a saucepan over low heat, heat the coconut milk, tamarind extract, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne until the tamarind is dissolved.
Leave the marinade on the fish and put the fish in an oiled grill basket,
and brush the fish with some of the tamarind sauce, inside and out.
BTW grilled lemons are wonderful, and make sure you put some lemon slices inside the fish also.
Using a grill basket is great for turning over delicate fish without damaging it, or having it stick to the grill.
Cook the fish flipping it every few minutes and basting it with the sauce.
And you end up with a beautifully grilled fish.
I have yet to figure out how to check a fish for doneness without ruining the appearance.
I used only one Thai chili and the sauce was spicy enough for me, and I like spicy.
Grilled Whole Fish with Tamarind
1 2–3-lb. whole fish, such as red snapper, porgy, or striped bass, cleaned Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 green Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup tamarind extract
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for brushing
1 Put fish into a 9″ × 13″ baking dish and cut 3 evenly spaced ¼″-deep crosswise slits into each side of fish. Season fish cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Combine garlic, chiles, ginger, and lime juice in a small bowl and rub cavity and skin of fish with garlic mixture. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2 Meanwhile, heat coconut milk, tamarind extract, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne in a 2-qt. saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring often until tamarind is dissolved, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, arrange a rack 4″ from broiler element and heat broiler.) Brush the inside of a grilling basket with oil. Uncover fish, transfer it to grilling basket, and brush with some of the tamarind sauce. Cook fish, flipping every few minutes and basting often with tamarind sauce until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer fish to a serving platter; serve hot or at room temperature.
COOK’S NOTE This recipe works best with a grilling basket, a narrow steel cage with a long handle that allows you to turn over flaky fish without damaging it.
Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook
And That's that!