I bought my first house over the winter and after a lifetime of rather anonymously living in apartments I'm getting used to interacting with "neighbours". It's a bit much sometimes! But also I live next to an older Italian man named Antonio and he brings me tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden. Recently he asked me if I liked "sardines" and I said sure I'd love to try anything!

He told me a story about the village he lived in as a boy and how that day they would be celebrating a saint's holiday and the whole seaside would be filled with people grilling fish. A little bit later he brought over 2 beautifully charred sardines and a fluffy white bun and I had the best little meal I've had in years. Now I'm obsessed with grilling whole fish and I'm going to try your recipe!!

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Love the Hawaiian shirt, Alison!

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I can’t wait to make this! I’ve always wanted to grill a whole fish, but been a little intimidated about doing it. you made it look so simple & delicious!

What other types of fish do you recommend that are good for grilling whole?

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OK I FINALLY did it! I’ve been wanting to grill a whole fish for a long time and this newsletter just sent me over the edge. THANK YOU Alison for the confidence boost!!!

The end product did come out delicious and wonderful and in fact I’m considering making it again tomorrow. BUT. I live in a coastal New England town where my local fish shop is literally getting its fish from the commercial boats that pull in directly across the street. It is amazing. But they don’t have branzino (or snapper which is what I had as my backup in my head when I went today). So my choices for whole fish were limited to what’s also native and I ended up with haddock.

It did come out delicious but I didn’t get crispy skin and it felt like I lost quite a bit on the grill despite leaving it for a while to let it naturally release from sticking. When I flipped it I basically had the filet with no skin looking up at me. Is this a haddock thing or did I mess up the technique? Any advice on adapting this to suit a fish like haddock or should I just go to my local big grocery store (Whole Foods) and get a branzino and try again?

I’m obsessed and only want to make whole fish from now on. Can’t believe it took me so long to try it!!!!

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Prepared the fish this evening. It was delicious. Roasted in the oven (too much rain and too much heat this summer to attempt grilling). Served it with sauteed zucchini/corn with toasted fennel/anchovy dressing (from your tomato salad post). Only challenge was how to debone the whole fish once it was roasted. Perhaps you could include a link with instructions?!?! At any rate, you continue to provide us with recipes that are fab.

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Dear Alison,

Fellow Virgo here and planning to make this for my bday dinner on Sunday but apparently branzino is not an easy fish to find in Vancouver (we’re lousy with salmon!). Is there another suitable fish you’d recommend instead?

PS Happy (belated) birthday!

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