Super duper Red Grouper and a really wild Sea Bass


Red Grouper and Wild Sea Bass ready to go on the BBQ

I was supposed to do some kale shit last night, but as I happened to walk past the local fishmongers I decided to look in. I only noticed this shop a few days ago and I don’t think they have been there for very long. It was a lovely hot day and I thought it would be a crime not to light the BBQ.

There was a big open counter in the front of the shop covered with ice and fish. They had all kinds of fantastic fish, which you kind of expect from a fishmongers. I was so excited being used to the supermarket sea basses and Greek sea breams, which are perfectly lovely, but it’s so nice to try something different. At the back of the shop there was a guy leaning back on a chair asleep.

I didn’t know what to do to wake him. I couldn’t very well go and poke him. I would have found that really embarrassing for both parties. In these kinds of situations I always pretend that I haven’t noticed that anything is amiss. I’m the person not to be around when you have spinach in your teeth, your fly's open or your skirt is stuck in your knickers, because I won’t tell you.

Red Grouper and Wild Sea Bass ready to go on the BBQ

And sleep is such an innocent and vulnerable state. Plus sleeping at work – even more embarrassing. I have only done it once and it was fully intentional and therefore not embarrassing, maybe more incriminating in the eyes of the employer though. But I was young and reckless then. There was this fantastic riverside music festival in the town where I lived every summer and I had been out all night and was really hungover, so I locked myself in the marketing materials cupboard which was big enough for me to curl up on the floor on pile of babyfood posters for a little nap. I was the babyfood brand manager after all, so it made sense really.

With the fishguy still sound asleep I wanted to make some noise as if by accident, so that he would wake up and I’d then pretend that I just noticed him there (in plain sight) and say – “Oh hello, I was wondering if you have any fish”, or similar. But there was nothing I could use to make accidental noises with unless I started slapping two fish against each other. So I tried to shuffle my feet really loudly walking back and forth by the counter examining the fish.

After a few minutes of this zorbas action the guy finally got up, so appearing surprised I said “Oh hello, I was wondering if you have any nice fish for barbecuing?” He did! He told me what all the wonderful fishes were and I chose a lovely big wild sea bass, which originally I was against because we have sea bass so often, but he promised it is completely different than the non-wild ones. I also took a red grouper because it looked so much fun with it’s crazy face, which looked even crazier when the guy had cut it in half as he butterflied the fish beautifully.

It was way too much fish for just the two of us, but oh well. It’s one of those things, when you finally find something you’ve been looking for a long time, you sometimes go a bit over the top.

Red Grouper and Wild Sea Bass on the BBQ

BBQ red grouper and wild sea bass

I wanted to keep things really simple. On our honeymoon last year in Santorini we had fantastic grilled fish a couple of times in gorgeous little seaside tavernas. And the fish was perfect, just served with grilled vegetables. I wanted to make my fish just like that. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and filled them with lemon slices, dill and parsley and brushed with oil before putting on the barbecue just so it wouldn't stick. I also tossed some asparagus, courgette, peppers and aubergine in olive oil. lemon, salt, pepper and dried Greek herb mix.

Ooh it was so lovely. The fish turned out absolutely fantastic, lookswise I think I can improve. My tong action was a bit clumsy and the BBQ was too full so I struggled turning the fish over. But overall a resounding success. The seabass was soft and melty and the grouper light and flaky. We actually ate it all, I am not ashamed to admit. I think when you are responsible for taking a life the least you should do is cook it with love and eat it all.

I will definitely pop back in and tell the sleepy guy how nicely it turned out and try some more of his fish. I might also ask a few questions about his daytime sleepiness, because it could be related to a serious medical condition. And I need to have a discussion about where he gets his fish (I bet nothing more exotic than Billingsgate market) and about the sustainability, carbon footprint etc. I just did some reading and I think this red grouper for instance was flown in and apparently is also overfished. So next time I will be a better citizen and friend of the planet and not just think about own belly.

Butterflied coal barbecued red snapper

You Might Also Like


  1. BBQ! Shame on you for casting the kale aside though! I managed to sneak broccoli into the mackerel fishcakes earlier...they were nothing very spectacular, and I won't be sharing the recipe as I won't be making them again. Now these, well that's how fish should be eaten. We had our pre-wedding honeymoon in Croatia last summer and like you we ate a lot of fresh can't beat it!

    Oh and I was always asleep in one of my old jobs, everyone was. Working nights, doing 12 hours in a boring office where the managers used to disappear for hours, it was sleep or chair racing! :D No need for sneaking of to store cupboards! :)

    1. :) Will get to the kale eventually - it just scares me a bit - might try something tonight. I love fish like this, so simple and healthy too.

  2. Wow again this just looks and sounds gorgeous. When I went to Malta on holiday I ate fresh fish every day :)

    1. The are few things better than coal barbecued fresh fish, preferably somewhere warm with sand beneath you bare feet...

    2. The are few things better than coal barbecued fresh fish, preferably somewhere warm with sand beneath you bare feet...