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A World in Flames


Clean and scale the snapper, but keep it otherwise intact. Cut the tops off the fennel bulbs and finely chop the trimmings. Combine the trimmings with the olives, parsley, and garlic; 1/2 cup of the oil; and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice. Place as much of this filling as possible into the cavity of the fish, and rub remaining mixture and liquid all over.

Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the fish tightly in plastic and allow to marinate for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator.

Start a fire with wood and charcoal in a covered cooker such as a Weber grill and let it burn until just hot coals remain, approximately 1 hour. Push the coals to one side of the kettle.

One hour before serving, unwrap the fish and tie butcher's twine around the body every 3 inches. Oil the grill. Place the fish in a fish-shaped grilling basket or place on the grill opposite the coals. Roast for 20 minutes on each side with the cover on, the handle of the rack sticking out, and the vent open at the top. Lay the fish out on a platter and remove the string.

Toss the baby fennel bulbs with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill over medium coals and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden. (If using large fennel, cut into quarters vertically, then blanch for a few minutes before tossing with the oil and grilling.)

Drizzle each portion of fish with fresh oil and a squeeze of lemon, and serve with the grilled fennel.

Spiced Grilled Lamb Brochettes

Serves six.
1 tablespoon whole black pepper, ground semi-fine to fine
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice, ground fine
1 teaspoon cumin, ground semi-fine
1 tablespoon coriander seed, ground semi-fine
1 dry Thai chili, ground fine
3 whole black cardamom pods, ground semi-fine
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed to a paste
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 pounds cleaned and trimmed leg of lamb, cut into 1 and 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon salt
Juice of one lemon
Minted bean salad (recipe below)

Soak 12 bamboo skewers in water for several hours. Combine all the spices in a large bowl with the ginger, garlic, and oil. Add the cubed lamb and rub the spice mixture into the meat. Set aside to marinate for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. Thread no more than 6 pieces of lamb onto each skewer. Season with salt.

Grill over medium-high coals to desired doneness for about 13 minutes, moving the brochettes around on the grill to prevent burning (take care not to burn the spices). Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with the minted bean salad and nan bread.

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