Grand Prize - Charcoal Smoked Sea Bass

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 35m

Serves 2

Entered by: Larry Fisher Waukegan, Illinois
My wife and I are both chefs and we love our work but prefer not to spend a lot of time cooking elaborate meals at home. This recipe works well because the marinade is pretty simple and quick to make and the fish absorbs the flavors in a very short amount of time. To make it even more hassle-free, the pepper sauces can be omitted but I think they're worth the time. I prefer snapper, yellowtail or black sea bass. Lots of different firm-fleshed fish will work fine but bear in mind that most groupers will take a while longer to cook.


  • For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Fish:
  • Two 7-8-ounce sea bass fillets
  • For the Pepper Sauce:
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


I prefer a charcoal fire and if that's what you're using, start it now. Also, start a few wood chips soaking. Fruit woods like apple and cherry work better than hickory or mesquite and less is better than more.


Combine the ingredients. This paste-like marinade can be made ahead of time and in larger batches. It's useful for grilled poultry, pork and lamb, as well as most seafood.

NOTE: It's much better to do the chopping and mincing by hand rather than with a food processor or hand blender. As useful as those machines are, for this type of preparation, they puree the herbs and garlic too much and blend air into the oil, making the ingredients burn at a lower temperature.


Roast the peppers over the fire, turning as the skins blacken. Try not to break the skin or you'll lose the juices inside the peppers. When the skins are blackened and will peel easily, close the peppers in a plastic bag.

If necessary, skin and bone the fish. Coat with the marinade and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

While the fish is marinating, remove the peppers from the plastic bag. Here is where a hand blender or small food processor works great. Hold the peppers over a bowl and slit the bottom, draining the pepper juice. Split and seed the peppers and blend the two colors separately in the blender cup or food processor bowl, adding the olive oil and pepper juice equally to both color peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Clean the grill thoroughly and oil it with a cloth dipped in cooking oil held with a pair of tongs. Lift the grill and sprinkle a few of the wood chips on the coals. If you're using a gas grill, put the chips on a double-folded piece of foil and lay them on the lava rocks. Remember that you are flavoring the fish, not curing it, so don't use too many chips.

Drain the excess oil from the fillets and lay them skin-side down on the grill. Close the cover immediately to avoid flames, which will cause soot to collect on the fish. Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the fire and the thickness and type of fish, but four or five minutes should be plenty on the first side. Turn the fillets, move them off of the direct heat and close the lid again to finish cooking.

After only a few more minutes the fish should be done. Remove the fillets to serving plates and garnish with pools of the two pepper sauces.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 3240

nutrition information per serving

863 calories; 68g total fat; 81mg cholesterol; 145mg sodium; 23g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 41g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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