Grilled sea bass in spicy lemon marinade
Herbs, garlic and olive oil contribute richness and big flavor to this fish recipe.
One of the great things about planning a fish dinner is how quickly the main course cooks. You cook the side dishes – say, rice and a vegetable. While they're sitting comfortably on the stove, set the table. Or persuade someone else to set it. Mix up a crisp salad or two. About 15 minutes before you plan to serve, slide the fish under the oven grill, and set the timer. Fetch a cold drink and award yourself a few minutes to rest before calling everyone to the table. Then bring out the steaming fish, with its rich aroma of lemons and herbs, and serve it right away. If you can warm the dishes, that's even better, because fish cools down rapidly, and you really want to eat it at its peak moments.
It's an excellent, light summertime meal, but if you serve a hearty soup, with good bread and butter beforehand, you can count on it for a quick cold-weather main dish too. In any case, keep plenty of that good bread on hand, because you don't want to lose a drop of the fish's delicious juices.
- 4 firm, mild white fish fillets such as grouper, sea bass, flounder, cod or halibut, each about 6 oz.
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon or lime zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Optional: 1 lemon or lime, quartered
- Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Place the fish fillets in a shallow baking pan lined with baking parchment. Season lightly with salt.
Combine the onion, ginger, cilantro, garlic, chili, lime zest, pepper, lemon or lime juice and olive oil in a food processor fitted with the knife blade. Pulse until a paste forms.
Rub the paste evenly over both sides of each fish fillet. Cover and store in the refrigerator 2-4 hours.
About 15 minutes before serving, heat the oven grill to its maximum temperature. Cook the fish under the grill without turning it over, for 10 minutes. A certain amount of sauce will form in the baking pan. Spoon it over the fish before serving.
Transfer to warmed individual plates. Serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges, if desired.