Fennel and red mullet are fantastic companions.
2 red mullet, each about 350g*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 stalks of wild fennel, cut about 20cm long (or use bought fennel)
2-3 ripe tomatoes
6 basil leaves
freshly ground pepper
* If red mullet is unavailable, you could substitute whole snapper or King George whiting.
Check fish for any remaining scales and remove them. With a knife, scrape away any traces of blood inside the fish, rinse well and dry thoroughly. Wet fish are much more likely to stick to the grill.
Brush each fish with extra virgin oil and tuck a slice of lemon in its cavity.
Arrange fish on top of the fennel leaves, preferably in a hinged fish grill for easy turning.
Heat barbecue to maximum or allow the fire to burn down to coals.
Grill the fish for five minutes each side, turning once. The skin should look blistered and crackling. (The fennel fronds may catch fire if grilling over charcoal but the flare-up will be very brief.)
Carefully open the hinged grill and ease the fish on to the serving plate. Scatter with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with additional lemon and a salad of sliced ripe tomatoes, tossed with torn basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
This recipe is featured in the book, Summer which is available now in all good bookstores RRP $34.95. To order direct call 1300 656 059 or visit www.smh.com.au/store