Few main dishes look as impressive as a whole fish, which is easier to grill than you might think. Look for fish no thicker than about 1 1/4 inches at their most portly point and about two pounds--enough for two servings. Fish are relatively easy to handle at that size and provide an optimum proportion of grilled surface to moist interior. Rubbing the outside and stuffing the inside of the fish with fragrant and flavorful ingredients double the flavors.
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup vertically sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 (2-pound) cleaned whole red snapper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into 8 slices
Fennel fronds (optional)
How to Make It
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and fennel bulb, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside.
Score skin of fish with 3 diagonal cuts. Combine fennel seeds, rind, salt, and pepper. Rub each fish with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and half of fennel seed mixture. Stuff half of onion mixture and 4 lemon slices into each fish cavity.
Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 8 minutes. Carefully roll fish over; grill 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
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