Cooking a whole fish might seem a bit daunting, but it's actually very easy to do, especially on the grill. And the flavor is so much better than just cooking bland fillets.
It's also very inexpensive to cook whole fish like tilapia. At my local supermarket whole, gutted and scaled tilapia sell for under $1.50 apiece. So, give it a try!
1 whole tilapia per person, gutted and descaled by your butcher/fishmonger.
Lemon slices, cut in half
Sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
1 clove peeled garlic, lightly mashed, per fish
I like to first trim the tail and fins from the fish with heavy scissors, since they tend to burn on the grill.
On a large plate or platter, salt and pepper the cavity of each fish and stuff with lemon pieces, garlic clove, and a couple of sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
Generously drizzle olive oil over the fish, on both side. Salt the fish on both sides, as well.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
When the grill is hot, brush the grate or grill pan with oil.
Place the fish directly on the grill grate or grill pan and cook for 7 minutes.
Carefully flip the fish over (the skin might stick some, as it did here when I cooked it) and grill for another 7 minutes.
Remove the stuffing from the fish cavity and serve with your favorite side dishes.
Photos by Ted Scheffler