Cooking a whole fish feels like an adventure and accomplishment—a delicious one, at that.
1 (1½ to 2 lb.) whole fish (Mediterranean type like branzino or snapper), scaled and gutted by your fishmonger
2 large lemons, 1 sliced and 1 cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4–5 sprigs woody herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove gills and fins; make 3 slits, about 1/4 inch deep, on each side of fish. Season fish inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with lemon, garlic, and herbs; use twine to tie in 3 places. Rub fish with olive oil. Preheat grill (charcoal or gas).
Place fish on the hottest part of the grill and brown until fish turns easily with tongs, 3–5 minutes. Avoid tearing skin. Turn fish and brown other side in similar fashion. Transfer fish to the cooler part of the grill, cover, and cook until fish is opaque inside the slits you made. (See this page for doneness advice.)
Remove fish to a platter scattered with more herb sprigs. Remove twine. Slice fish lengthwise through one side, exposing spine and rib bones; remove these. Serve with lemon wedges.
The Cincinnati native spent 16 years in New York, where he co-owned Brooklyn Fish Camp. The chef and his wife, Jocelyn, returned to their hometown and opened The Anchor in Over-the-Rhine in 2012. Located not on OTR’s “restaurant row” but instead across from beautiful Washington Park, The Anchor features a classic East Coast seafood menu spotlighting raw oysters, beach-food favorites, and fresh fish.