You knew I’d be ending this year’s month of grilling with a truly wicked recipe.. one that’s very dear to me. This grilled stuffed fish is one of those dishes we try to make at least once a year (summer) when my best friends and I meet. One from Dominica, another from Jamaica and myself the Trinbagonian, connect in a sort of mystical way as we dive into our individual red snapper stuffed with Jamaican callaloo (amaranth, spinach or chorai bhagi) along with some cold beverages. The only talking is after we’re good and stuffed and each of us eying the last piece of boiled sweet potato or fried plantain.
2 Sea bass * (medium sized)
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper diced finely
3 cups Jamaican callaloo
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
Notes: I much prefer using red snapper for this dish, but the prices were too high for my wallet (the reality of not living in the Caribbean). If you can’t source Jamaican callaloo, you can use spinach or any of your favorite greens (Swiss Chard, Pak Choi.. collard greens?).
Wash, trim and chop the callaloo into 1/2 inch pieces and allow to drain dry in a colander. Heat the olive oil on a medium flame then add the sliced garlic, onion and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and let that soften up for a couple minutes. Now add the cut callaloo and top with the salt, black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper and coconut milk. Turn the heat up to bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook with the pot uncovered for about 7-10 minutes.
It will wilt down and go a bit darker in colour.. that’s normal. If there’s any residual liquid in the pot after 7 minutes, turn up the heat and burn it off. Then set aside allow to cool for stuffing the fish.
As it cools, lets make the seasoned oil for adding extra flavor to the fish as it grills.
In a deep bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley,chopped scallion, juice of a lime and finely diced scotch bonnet pepper. Slice the onion in rings and set aside.
Make sure your fish is scaled, washed and dry. Cut a couple slits (not too deep) across the belly of the fish so some of the seasoned oil can get in to do it’s thing. Then spread a (double) sheet of tin foil and brush some of the seasoned oil where the fish will be placed. Now add some of the onion rings and place the fish on top of that. Take 1/2 of the now cooled cooked callaloo and stuff the cavity of the fish. Then pour some of the seasoned oil on top of the fish (spoon it on) and top with a few of the onion rings. Wrap the tin foil to encase the fish and create a package.Repeat with the next fish!
It’s just a matter of grilling as you would normally grill fish. In my case I did it over a charcoal fire (love the flavors you get) but you can also use a propane grill or if you don’t have a grill.. the oven (about 375 F for about 25-30 minutes). I grilled away from direct flame (so indirect heat) and it took about 30 minutes or so (the last 4 minutes I placed the packages over direct heat to ensure I get a flaky fish when it was done cooking).
Do remember to be gentle when flipping them and when it’s done cooking allow to cool for a minute or two or risk getting burned when you open the packages as steam will form.
Serve with some lemon or lime slices and I love having this with boiled sweet potato or steam okras!
I do hope you enjoy this years month of grilling and I look forward to bringing you some more exciting dishes off the grill in July 2014! BTW, do you have any sort of recipe or tradition in place for when you meet with your dearest friends.. friends like mine who took the place of my siblings when I moved to Canada many moons ago?