Chefs' Recipes

Monique Fiso's grilled fish with herb dressing

A whole fish, simply grilled, and served with a herb-packed sauce – there's nothing better.

By Monique Fiso
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 6 - 8
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"We only use New Zealand species of fish at Hiakai," says Monique Fiso. "Our suppliers line-catch local fish, but look for an Australian species that's similar." At Hiakai, the dressing in this recipe is made with native kawakawa leaves (known as bush basil in New Zealand), but we've substituted basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley.

Ingredients

  • 1 kahawai (about 1kg; see note), head on, scaled and cleaned
  • 1 lemon or 2 limes, sliced, plus extra halves for grilling
  • 50 gm clarified butter, melted, for brushing
Herb dressing
  • 1½ tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 cups (firmly packed) basil, plus extra for stuffing and to serve
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) mint, plus extra for stuffing and to serve
  • 1 cup cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus extra for stuffing and to serve
  • 1 shallot golden shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp chardonnay vinegar
  • 125 ml (½ cup) sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)

Method

  • 1
    Preheat a charcoal grill until very hot. Lightly score fish skin on both sides with a very sharp knife, stuff with sliced lemon or lime and extra herbs, then truss with cotton twine. Set aside.
  • 2
    For herb dressing, add bicarbonate of soda to a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Blanch herbs until they soften completely (10-20 seconds). Strain leaves and transfer to a bowl of iced water to cool completely. Once chilled, strain leaves through a sieve lined with muslin, pressing firmly to extract any excess water. Transfer to a blender with remaining ingredients (except lemon juice) and blend until smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice and sea salt.
  • 3
    Brush clarified butter over fish and season with salt flakes. Grill fish, brushing with butter occasionally until skin is bubbly, crisp and lightly charred (5-7 minutes each side). Grill lemon or lime, cut-side down, until lightly charred (1-2 minutes).
  • 4
    Serve fish with grilled lemon or lime, extra herbs, and herb dressing on the side.

Notes

Kahawai is a native New Zealand fish that's known as Australian salmon here. If unavailable, substitute trevally or bonito.Wine suggestion: 2018 Seresin Chiaroscuro, Marlborough, New Zealand. Wine suggestion by Monique Fiso

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