The first time I ate a fish head I was in Ghana. It was the spring of 2000 and I had just finished the last part of a long and nerve-wracking college application process for which I had spent four years preparing and grooming myself. But the last essay had been written, envelope mailed, monologue performed, and so, naturally, I got on a plane to Africa. I managed, somehow, to leave for a month while school was still in session. Looking back, it doesn’t really make sense. But, the wonderful thing about growing up in Vermont is that you can spend a month of your Senior year of high school in West Africa dancing to the beat of the jimbay drums, learning to speak Ewe (even though I’d never need speak it again in my life), eating pounded cassava root, and hanging with elephants with a group of thirty student hippies from around the state and no one questions its educational value.It was at the elephant sanctuary where they put a whole fried fish on my plate. Frightened, I immediately covered it’s face and eyeballs with my napkin as it was clearly staring at me. But the best way to conquer your fears is to face them, well, head-on. And in the years since, I have always loved to eat fish in their whole, natural form, stuffed with herbs or lemons, roasted or grilled.
This trout recipe is one of my favorite things to make in the summer. It’s the perfect easy, healthy grilled dinner that tastes special every time. It’s great served over cous cous, rice, or my favorite, orzo.
Grilled Rosemary Trout with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
- 3 cups assorted colored cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Coarse kosher salt
- 4 10- to 12-ounce whole trout, gutted, boned
Finely chop a few sprigs of rosemary. Remove the green leaves from the remaining rosemary sprigs. Using both hands, toss together the cherry tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, and chopped rosemary in medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and toss. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the inner cavity of the trout with coarse salt and pepper and remaining rosemary and fold to close.
Heat grill or grill-pan to medium-high heat and cook trout until skin is brown and inner flesh is just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon balsamic tomatoes on top of fish.