Porgy Alla Salmoriglio 4.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Plate Lab Jun 25, 2015

Cashion's Eat Place has served some kind of whole, grilled fish since the Adams Morgan spot opened 20 years ago. These days, chef John Manolatos serves it with his version of a salmoriglio, a traditional Sicilian sauce, omitting the garlic in favor of the subtler flavor of celery.

One-pound porgies create a nice single-serving size, yielding 6 to 8 ounces of meat.


Servings:
4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • For the fish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 whole, cleaned porgies (about 1 pound each)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 lemons, cut into thin wheels, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Fennel fronds
  • 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 handful fresh dill sprigs
  • For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ouzo
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot lobe, thinly sliced
  • 1 tender inner celery rib, chopped (with a few leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

For the fish: Prepare the grill for direct heat, or heat a grill pan on the stove top over high heat: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (400 degrees) with the lid closed. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 6 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Brush the grill grate.

Rub the oil all over the fish, then season them generously on both sides and the inside with salt and black pepper. Stuff the cavity of each porgy with lemon wheels, fennel fronds and sprigs of thyme and dill.

Place the fish on the grill or grill pan; cook (uncovered) for 2 minutes, so light char marks form, then give the fish a quarter-turn and grill for 2 minutes, creating a crosshatch pattern. Turn the fish over; repeat on the second side, cooking for a total of 4 minutes. The meat of the fish should register 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and should feel firm when pressed with a finger. Transfer to a platter to rest for 4 minutes. While the fish is on the grill or just after, toss the lemon wedges onto the grill or grill pan and cook just until light char marks form and the fruit becomes juicy.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, ouzo, salt, white pepper and oil until emulsified. Stir in the shallot, celery, dill and parsley until well incorporated.

Spoon the dressing over each fish; serve warm, with the grilled lemon wedges.

To fillet the fish, use a soup spoon and fork to create a center seam from below the eye to mid-tail. Cut along the outer (stuffed) edge, then lift off the top fillet, exposing the skeleton. Carve around the skeleton to release it further; pull up the head to lift off the skeleton. Cut and release the remaining flesh.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from John Manolatos, chef-partner at Cashion's Eat Place in Adams Morgan.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.