Steve's Cook Book - Barbecued Bream

Barbecued Bream with Cheesy Beans and Baked Potato.

If your barbecue skills extend to bangers and burgers but you have yet to experiment with fish here's a quick rundown on how to go about it.

  1. Buy a nice big bream to fit your barbecue. It will probably be frozen and take a few hours to defrost so allow for that. The one above would feed four people.
  2. Fire up the barbecue two hours before you want to eat.
  3. Collect your herbs; about six good sprigs of rosemary and a leaf of mint for each potato (you'll need one spud per person).
  4. Prepare the spuds: scrub them, slice them in half lengthways, put a thin slice of butter and a mint leaf on the bottom half of each then put them back together again. Wrap them in aluminium foil.
  5. When the barbecue has settled down (takes about an hour) put the spuds directly on to the charcoal, back and front of the barbecue so they don't get in the way of the fish.
  6. Prepare the fish: Soak the rosemary in cold water and lay it north to south on the barbecue griddle then place it on the draining board. Wash the fish and scrape it with a knife to remove the scales. Slit the belly of the fish from anus to gills and remove the yucky bits from inside (not as bad as it sounds, it's basically a sausage skin filled with wet sand). Wash it inside and out with cold running water and pat dry with a cloth. Put the fish on the rosemary and sprinkle with salt both sides. Pour a little olive oil on both sides and rub it in with your hands.
  7. Wash, top and tail the runner beans and pare the sides. Cut into one inch slices and put them in a colander in the sink (filled with cold water sufficient to cover the beans.
  8. You should have time for a quick slurp and a sit down provided steps 6 and seven didn't take you longer than a quarter of an hour.
  9. When the spuds have been on for half an hour turn them. Go and get the fish on the rosemary on the griddle and place it on the middle height setting of the barbecue.
  10. Give it ten minutes then go and put the runner beans on. (Salt them, bring them to the boil and simmer).
  11. Go back out, turn the fish and relax for quarter of an hour.
  12. Drain the beans in the colander, put a knob of butter in the pot, put the beans back in and sprinkle liberally with grated cheese. Stir well and dish up a portion onto each plate.
  13. Take the plates out to the eating area, remove the spuds from the barbecue and distribute one to each diner. (It will give them something to do while you're busy with the fish).
  14. Whack the fish onto a serving plate. Peel back the skin on side one. Make three incisions with a sharp knife from backbone to belly: Incision 1 just behind the dorsal fin, incision 2 down the middle and incision 3 just before the tail. With a fish slice (for preference) lift and seperate the flesh from the bones and place the two portions onto the cheesy beans. Turn the fish over and repeat with the other side.
  15. Serve with a crisp white wine. I chose a South African Chenin Blanc which went down well.
  16. Enjoy! (yes, the photo is a bit fuzzy, I must have left the camera too close to the Chenin Blanc - it obviously had a quick noggin when my back was turned).

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