Yesterday evening the fisherman brought us an amazing 3 kg Zander from the Balaton lake…I already shared some recipes with this fish (HERE), but since the weather is still sunny I soon thought “that’s a perfect fish to grill tomorrow” 🙂 and I was definitely right 😛 one of the most simple ways to prepare food, and it will be always one of the best ways 🙂
Saturday morning, sunny weather, birds in the garden…let’s light the fire!
But before we must make the fillets (I did it already yesterday evening), and then we have to put them to marinate in extra virgin olive oil, with some little garlic and chili, adding also some little freshly ground black pepper and salt. Personally I don’t put too many spices on the fish, when I have a fresh fish I like to preserve as much as possible its natural taste, especially if it’s a good quality fish like the zander, moreover to grill it on a fire will add also taste to it. But feel free to use the spices you prefer, or also lemon.
The fish in my opinion should stay about 1 hour in that oil, I usually do about 30 minutes on one side and 30 minutes on the other side (in this case I used only one fillet, as I said it was a bigger fish, just one fillet it was about 800/850g, enough for 4 not too much hungry people 🙂 ).
Once the embers are ready, we can start to grill the fish. Start to grill it on the skin side, the time it depends on the fillet size obviously, in this case (800/850g) it took about 20/25 minutes to be ready: 13/15 minutes on the skin side and about 10 minutes on the other side (I didn’t count the time, you must see with your eyes when it’s ready 🙂 ), don’t keep it too much close to the embers, if not just in the last few minutes to make a nice crust. For smaller size zanders/walleyes it will take probably 6/8 minutes on each side.
Oh, don’t think to throw away the oil of the marinade! We will keep adding it to the fish while it’s on the grill, on both sides, I suggest to use a sprig of rosemary as a brush.
And take care when you turn it, it’s very easy to break it and the skin will easily attach on the grill: to avoid or at least reduce this problem you shouldn’t remove the scales from the fish, but in this case the fisherman had already removed them so I used two grills (if you have it, a double face stainless steel grill is perfect), and when it was time to turn the fillet I put the second grill on the fish (like a sandwich) and I turned it upside down fast 🙂 then I helped myself with a knife to remove carefully the first grill from the skin of the fish. In this way I didn’t break the fillet 🙂
Don’t cook it too much, the fish must have a crunchy skin (don’t worry if it burns a little bit in some points, it’s just the skin, you can always remove it later in that case) and a nice crust on the other side, but in the middle it must remain nicely soft, wet and juicy. If you manage to leave it like that, then you don’t need extra sauces when you eat it, or maybe just a drizzle of a good extra virgin olive oil, it will be enough in my opinion 🙂
Once it’s ready serve it to your guests! We chose grilled vegetables as side dish (zucchini, eggplants, onions), my wife did that while I was grilling the fish. But choose the seasonal vegetables you prefer.
Enjoy it with some sun, if possible 😀 and of course with a white wine (usually with fish I prefer dry white wines, but in this case we decided to give a try with a Tokaji Furmint, and I have to say that it also fitted quite well with it, especially in this early autumn weather!)