Fennel-Grilled Bass Flambeed With Pernod / Loup de Mer au Fenouil Flambe'

Serves: 4
Total Calories: 96


2 sea bass, , whole (each about 2 pounds), cleaned and trimmed of fins, heads and tails left on (see note)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 to 12 fennel stalks, dried (see note)
3 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
1/4 cup Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
lemon wedges, for serving


1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

2. Rinse the fish, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Make 3 diagonal slashes, to the bone, in each side of each fish. Season the fish, inside and out (including the side slashes), with salt and pepper. Place 2 dried fennel stalks in each cavity. Brush the fish on both sides with the oil and season again with salt and pepper.

3. When ready to cook, arrange 6 fennel stalks on a serving platter and set aside. Place the remaining fennel stalks directly on the hot coals and oil the grill grate. If you’re worried about the fish sticking, use hinged fish grilling baskets otherwise, place both fish directly on the hot grate and grill until the skin on the first side is dark and crisp and the flesh is cooked through to the bone on that side, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn each fish carefully with a long spatula and cook on the second side until the flesh breaks into firm flakes when pressed with a finger, another 10 to 15 minutes. During the last 2 or so minutes of cooking, warm the Pernod in a heavy saucepan at the side of the grill don’t let it boil, or even get too warm to touch.

4. Using the spatula, transfer each fish carefully to the fennel stalknlined platter. Pour the warmed Pernod over the fish and then, making sure your hair is tied back and your sleeves are rolled up, avert your face and ignite the liqueur carefully with a long match. Carefully bring the flaming fish to the table, then, when the flame dies out, fillet the fish and serve at once, with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Note: Loup de mer is a long, slender, dark gray fish with a fine-flavored, tender white flesh. While it corresponds most closely to North American sea bass, snapper, striped bass, or sea trout could be substituted here.

Fennel-Grilled Bass Flambéed with Pernod II

Prepare as described in the main recipe, substituting a bulb of fresh fennel, trimmed, for the dried stalks. Cut the fennel into thin lengthwise slices. Place a few slices in the cavity of each fish and toss a few strips on the coals before grilling the fish. Brush the remaining fennel slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then grill, along with the fish, until tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side, turning with tongs. Arrange the grilled fennel slices on the serving platter and place the grilled fish on top. Flambé as described above and serve. (The advantage of this method is that you can eat the grilled fennel.)

Nutritional Facts:

Serves: 4
Total Calories: 96
Calories from Fat: 90

This Fennel-Grilled Bass Flambeed With Pernod / Loup de Mer au Fenouil Flambe' recipe is from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

More Recipes from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook:
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Fennel-Grilled Bass Flambeed With Pernod / Loup de Mer au Fenouil Flambe'
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