Grilled Orata (Gas Grill version)

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My Mom and I couldn’t resist a trip to the Bronx and Little Italy today.  After all, it’s Friday, and Friday’s demand fish.  Who better to visit than Randazzo’s fish Market, on 187st and Arthur Avenue, in the “Little Italy” section of the Bronx.   
My Mother isn’t so adventurous in her cooking, like I am.  

She is very old fashioned (at times).   I combed through their terrific selection and came across a Mediterranean fish called “Orata.”  Who could resist?   My Mom’s old grill grate came to mind too.  
That must be older than me.  

 What a perfect combination.  
I never cook on a gas grill at home.   I believe in Charcoal.  My Mother, like so many of you, turned to a gas grill out of convenience, but will admit that charcoal is always bet.  In an effort to succeed, I delicately stuffed the cavity of the fish with citrus and herbs.   Although the gas grill was turned up high,  I noticed the temperature never got above 350 degrees.  The top is left opened for better control.  The slow cooking time ensures a moist fish that holds together nicely after it’s cooked.   Here is the recipe.  I hope you give it a try.  
2 whole Orata fish, cleaned and descaled by your fishmonger.  Keep the head on.  (Actually, those cheeks have wonderful high nutritional  value). They weigh about a pound each (16 ounces)
two teaspoons of salt
two teaspoons of pepper 
some red pepper (to taste)
one lemon sliced plus more for serving
handful of fresh parsley
2 large cloves of garlic (smashed)
One tablespoon of capers (Optional)
1/2 cup of white wine 
Preheat the gas grill on high for 20-25 minutes.  Your fish will cook on an open grill, so it must be very, very, hot.
Give your fish a delicate wash under some cold running water and place them in a baking dish.
With the edge of your knife or a tooth pick, poke tiny holes into each fish.  Lay them in a baking dish.   
Pour some wine over the fish.
Salt and pepper inside and out.
Insert some lemon slices into the cavity along with the smashed garlic clove, parsley, capers. 
Gently place in your grill grates.  Place some additional lemon slices on top before your close the grates.  Squeeze some additional lemon across the fish.  
Gently place on the grill.
Be sure the handle is sticking outside the grill so it doesn’t get to hot to grab it when turning.   If it gets to hot, depending on the size of your grate, grab some oven mitts to have handy.
Leave on your open,  hot grill for 15 minutes each side. This open cooking method is a little unusual, however it ensures moist, fish that will hold together throughout  the cooking process.  Do not worry about that “High” setting, although settings do vary.  So if you see a high flame, turn it down a touch.  Take the temperature of your grill.  Mine never got above 350. Perfect for a gentle, slow, cook. 
Turn your grill off and turn over again for additional five minutes.
Perfect every time.
Your fish will be moist on the inside and cooked through.
Extra squeeze of lemon before serving.   You can also clean it ahead and serve with lemon and parsley.  I prefer a more informal setting and cleaning it, right at the table.   

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Buon Appetito!  

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