Monday, July 21, 2008

Beauties into Beasts: "Ugly" Fish (Grilled Pompano, Rainbow Trout, Sea Bass)

I've been quite dejected of late.

I have lost my desire for grilling fish.

Mind you, this is big news. Ding-dong, sound the gong: the death of Desire, with a capital D. (Oh no, I'm having a flashback to my pretentious years in school. Heaven forbid.)

Recalling the capital D, I do not think my lack of desire lately has anything to do with our general lack of industry. This is different: I've been foiled by failure and I'm now fearful of destroying more specimens of fishly beauty.

After those gorgeous(!) pike mackerel about a month ago, I've been having trouble grilling fish. I've tried it with three different fish now. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, because then, I can write myself a cautionary tale of how not to turn beautiful fish into ugly fish.

My goodness, indeedy, what we've created on the grill are MONSTERS.

The rainbow trout was a beauty! It was so beautiful that we were compelled to buy it! JS didn't even take a picture of it.

Here's the pompano.

The rainbow trout was under that pompano. I was trying to get a picture quickly and did not want to shuffle my fish.

We usually have pompano fried, but I thought of trying to grill these babies for a change.

What a wrong decision.

Look! Look at that skin flaking off. Ugly!

Actually, the pompano managed to escape the worst of it. Look at the rainbow trout after it went on the grill.


It's a good thing I did not take a picture of the trout prior to cooking it. I bet you I would have been flamed for desecrating it. TS tried to dress it up with the lemon slices, to hide the ugliness, but there is no denying the incontrovertible truth.

Face of the trout so badly burnt like that. Look at it! It's like the dark side of the moon or some such. Only its mother could love it now.

On a side note, the trout was delicious, though. It was dusted with salt, pepper, oregano, and basted with a garlic-olive oil mixture.

We also bought some seabass and this is how they were before the grill.

Okay, I've kind of made a mess with the slashing and the lemons, but that is not my worst crime.

Look at them after!

TS again did the best that she could. The lemon slices tried to cover their ugliness, but to no avail.

This is so embarrassing. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I wait until the grill is hot, I wipe the grates with oil, then I put my fish onto the grill.

They go in beauties, they come out beasts.

I need help!

Teehee. Not to belittle JS's pain, but this is kinda funny. Teehee.


  1. I don't remember seeing these "beasts" on our dining table! I'm sure I still would have enjoyed them though =D I might have "giggled" a little (but only a little). Poor JS... "it's ok, A-to".

  2. oh--- didn't you used to OIL the FISH first???? I remember (I think) that's how you instructed me before (a loooong time ago)...

  3. Brush the grill grated very well, wipe with veg oil, brush the fish with veg. oil too and season it.

    Make sure the grates still look "wet" with oil and that you have high heat and when the fish hits the grill...leave it alone. It should release on it's own.

  4. Hehe, this is such a hilarious post :D You sisters are too funny ;D

    The picture of the fish with the black head and the ones where u tried to cover up with lemon slices had me laughing out loud- I'm not laughing at your culinary skills, but rather at the way which u describe the situation ... it is so adorable.

    And it doesn't look that bad to me, really. The pepper and oregano marinade sounds good... Anyway, I'm sure you'll perfect the art of grilling fish soon, good luck! ;)

  5. At least the trout tasted good.

    Did you turn over the fish early to grill the other side? I heard fish should not be turned to the other side too early when grilled or it tends to become flaky. I'm not sure. Or did you bake it?

    Or maybe some fish such as pompano are not suitable for grilling? We usually use pompano (or pomfret) for steaming or deep-fried, sometimes in fish curry.

  6. I can't say anything. That looks exactly like my grilled fish.

  7. I agree with Peter. Brushing the grill and the food with oil really helps with the sticking. A high heat also helps.

  8. oh you were brave to grill fish. I dare not do it unless it's on a cedar plank! or wrapped in some leaves. I much prefer to make my fresh fish steamed with ginger, green onions &'s easier on my temperament! though I wouldn'nt pass up being served grilled fish made by someone else!

  9. Regardless of how your grilled fishies look, I'm sure they still taste great! The combi of lemon and herbs sounds tasty!

    I do not usually grill fish on direct fire, I usually wrap the fish in foil before grilling to seal in the juices.

    I think Peter M's suggestions sounds good, that's what I do when grilling meat.

  10. Thanks for the tips, guys! I'll definitely try to oil more than I've been doing. I think I've been too impatient on some of these fishies. Okay, make that all of them fishies. Patience, patience: it is a virtue after all.

    That trout is funny. . .I laughed out loud when I saw the picture. Only its mother could love it now indeed -- if its mother even recognizes him!

  11. i am all about ugly beautiful, baby!

    i've done some ugly fish myself hahaha

    check 'em out here

  12. Ugly or not they still look delicious! I agree it's funny.:)

    I had the same problem before with grilled milkfish. I remedied that by wrapping the fish in well-oiled banana leaves.

  13. You could always use a fish BBQ basket - about $26 and works great!

  14. Chef Fowke:
    So you're saying 26 bucks can save us from a lot of heartache, eh? ;D Thanks for the tip!


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