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Whole Grilled Black Bass Stuffed with Fennel and Lemon

From Bradford Thompson, the Phoenician Restaurant
/ Source: TODAY

Servings: 2 entreé or 4 appetizer portions


  • 1½ or 2 black bass (gutted with scales removed)
  • 1 head fennel (remove tops and save for stuffing)
  • 2 lemons (one thinly sliced; one juiced)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 10 sprigs parsley
  • Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the grill to high temperature. Remove the Filets carefully from the fish and pat dry any blood or water. Lay one fish filet, skin down on a platter and place half of the thyme, parsley, fennel and lemon on top. Carefully place the spine over the filet and then place the other half of herbs and lemon on top, followed by the second filet. The fish should now look “whole” again. Gently tie the filets with three pieces of string. You can do this up to six hours ahead and keep refrigerated.

Season with salt and pepper and brush liberally with olive oil. Place on the hot grill (try to avoid direct flames) and let the fish cook for 4-5 minutes, checking occasionally. Turn the fish carefully and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The fish should be crispy and well marked from the grill. Remove to a platter.

Take the head of fennel, remove the core and shave crosswise as thinly as possible. Soak in ice water for 5 minutes and drain. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Serve over the fish.

If Black Bass is not available, you can use loup de mer, daurade or snapper.