Grilled Whole Fish

Dave Pasternack lets fish come to room temperature and dries it well before grilling. "An ice-cold fish gives off steam, making the skin stick to the grill," he explains. 

Grilled Whole Fish
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • One 2-pound fish, such as branzino, red snapper or sea bass, cleaned and scaled

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing and drizzling

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 4 parsley stems

  • 1 crushed garlic clove

  • 2 halved lemon slices


  1. Light a grill. Let the fish stand at room temperature for 20 minutes; pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Brush the fish all over with olive oil and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the parsley stems, garlic and lemon.

  3. Brush the grate with oil. Grill the fish over moderately high heat, uncovered, until lightly charred and it releases easily from the grate, 10 minutes. Turn and grill until the flesh is white throughout, 10 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes. Drizzle with oil and serve.

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