090514_SU_PEIXE editado.jpg

Fish – Size matters

Size, when it comes to fish, definitely does matter. A large fish, unlike almost anything else we eat, is invariably tastier than a smaller fish of the same breed.
Take sea bass for instance: a small plate-sized wild bass is a tasty meal but bears no comparison to a fish double the size to be shared between two, and so on – the bigger the better.
The rather ugly beast in the photo is a “cherne” (generally known as wreckfish in English and actually a variety of grouper). I took this photo at Armação de Pêra fish market last Saturday before this specimen, weighing nearly 20 kilos, was chopped up into steaks to be sold. I intervened to have them chop me off the tail section which was then filleted ready for me to grill on the barbecue.
The result was two huge fillets with skin on one side, weighing over 1 kilo each without a bone in sight. What I love about the meat of a large “cherne” is the fattiness of the meat that keeps it moist whilst grilling and caramelises to a nice golden crust. And, of course, with fish fat being one of the healthiest things we can eat, this is all good news.
I rubbed my fillets with a little garlic, olive oil and wild thyme before grilling over charcoal.
By Patrick Stuart [email protected]