When I saw the weather forecast for this weekend, without a shadow of a doubt the barbecue would have to make an appearance. I love my barbecue. I don't think I could do without it. When the British weather gives us the opportunity to get the barbecue going, it should be a crime if you don't. The weather also gave my Dad the chance to light his Chiminea for the first time. It was a birthday present from my Mum earlier this year, but he hadn't had the chance to use it.
Apparently you have to 'cure' the Chiminea first, by lining it with sand, using small amount of newspaper and kindling and not letting the fire get too intense. This is to stop any damage or cracks to it when you first light it.
Recently my Uncle gave us a couple of beautiful sea bream that he caught when he went fishing. Now I'm not a big fish eater. Cod, Tuna, Sea Bass and Salmon is about as far as I go. However, I want to try more fish and 'make' myself like seafood. So this was the perfect opportunity.
I wanted to give the sea bream some extra flavours that would compliment the sunny weather we were enjoying. So I went for a Thai/Asian influenced marinade. It was just simply garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chilli, coriander and lime zest. I didn't want this to be a heavy marinade or flavouring, just something light. That when you eat it, you can taste each individual aspect and not one of them being overpowering.
I'm not one for gas barbecues, for me it has to be the real deal if you want the authentic taste from barbecuing your food. You just can't get that taste from gas. Yes they maybe quick to light, and you don't have to wait until the coals are glowing white. But if you going to do it, do it properly with a real barbecue.
When the fish was laid onto the grill, you hear that wonderful sizzle. Then the aroma of ginger hits you, then garlic and then the lemongrass. You can actually hear the skin crispen up. Turning the fish over was a bit of a pain, as I had the fear that it might stick - and it did. Well one of them did.
I had a dilemma of thinking what to serve with it. I wanted something soothing in case the chilli had a little too much of a kick. So I had the idea of a mint raita potato salad. I don't know why - its not as if you have mint raita with Thai/Asian food. I'll be honest with you - that idea was a bit of a disaster. One I wont repeat again, it just didn't work or taste nice. I also served a simple salad of thinly sliced red onion and tomato, with coriander leaves.
The fish tasted wonderful, it had lovely soft white flesh, and had taken on the flavours from the marinade perfectly. Each time you took a mouthful, you could taste each of the different aromatics individually. Woohoo!! That's another type of fish I will now eat. Considering I have never cooked fish on the barbecue before, I have to say to was cooked to perfection - yep beginners luck!
Barbecued Sea Bream with Ginger, Garlic, Chilli, Lemongrass and Lime
2 Sea Bream, gutted and scaled
1 clove of Garlic, finely chopped
1 large Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 sticks Lemongrass, finely chopped
1 thumbsized piece of Ginger, finely chopped
1 bunch Coriander
1. Finely grate the zest of 1 lime, and place in a bowl with the garlic, chilli, lemongrass and ginger. Finely chop some of the coriander and add to the bowl. Pour in enough oil just to loosely bring them all together.
2. Slash the sea bream down to the bone on both side, to allow the flavours to penetrate into the fish. Slice the lime that you zested, and place in the cavity of the fish with some of the coriander. Smear the fish with the marinade on both side, and ensure to work into the slashes on the side. Leave for 30mins for the flavours to mingle.
3. Once the coals are glowing white on your barbecue, place your rack over the coals to warm up. Lightly brush the rack with oil (be careful as this may cause the barbecue to flair up). The place the fish on the rack. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the fish is cooked depending on the heat of your barbecue.
4. Cut the remaining lime into wedges, squeeze some over the bream and serve the others with the fish.