Grilled Porgy with Salsa Verde

Chef David Pasternack, Esca Kitchen


One 2-pound porgy, scales and fins removed and gutted

4 parsley stems

2 medium lemon slices

1 clove garlic, crushed

Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat the fish

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare a charcoal fire and let the grill get very hot.


Dry the fish with paper towels. Stuff the cavity with the parsley stems, lemon slices, and garlic. Rub the fish on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


When the coals are white-hot, place the fish over the medium-high part of the fire (where you can hold your hand above the coals for, say, 4 seconds). If the flames touch of the fish, move it to a cooler part of the grill. Grill 8 to 10 minutes per side. The skin should be charred but not blackened. The flesh of the fish, when touched, should gently break away under the skin.


Salsa Verde:

2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

3 sprigs rosemary, needles picked off stems

2 anchovy filets

1 clove garlic

½ cup chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup fennel tops, fronds picked off stems

6 sprigs tarragon, leaves picked off stems

3 sprigs oregano, leaves picked off stems

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon (about 1½ tablespoons)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Use a mortar and pestle, combine the sea salt and rosemary and crush to a fine dust. Add the anchovies and garlic, and continue pounding until the mixture has the consistency of a paste. Follow with the chives, fennel tops, tarragon, and oregano, pounding after each addition. Transfer the paste to a small mixing bowl and add the olive oil and lemon juice. Taste and then adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper as needed. This should be made shortly before serving so the herbs are still fresh tasting. (Leftovers can be refrigerated and brought to room temperature before serving as a condiment.)


Fillet the fish and transfer to two serving plates. Spoon a tablespoon of the Salsa Verde over each piece just before serving.

Serves 2


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