Grilled Whole Red Snapper Marinated and Filled with Baby Fennel and Nicoise Olives
Serves four to six.
4-to-5-pound whole red snapper
6 baby fennel
1/2 cup Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 lemons (2 juiced, 1 cut into wedges)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
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.