Grilled Fish

Balik Izgara

Çipura is a very common fish to be found along the Aegean coast and it is much liked in Izmir. It is best eaten grilled over charcoal. It can also be dipped in flour and fried. Small mackerel, red mullet or snapper can be prepared in the same way, as can steaks of larger fish.

Ingredients

  • 4 çipura or other small fish
  • 300 g/10 oz onions
  • ½ tsp salt

For the Marinade

  • onion juice (see below)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 bay leaves

For Basting

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the Seasoning Sauce

For the Garnish

  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tbsp onion juice (see below)
  • lemon slices

Method

Onion juice is used for all kinds of fish and meat dishes in Turkey. To prepare it, grate the onions, crush with the salt, and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Then put the onions in a muslin cloth, and squeeze to extract the juice: there should be about 100 ml/ fl oz. Reserve 1 tbsp juice and mix the rest with the ingredients for the marinade.

Clean and wash the fish, leaving the heads on. Let them drain for 5 minutes, then brush inside and out with the marinade and leave to stand for 2 hours in a cold pantry or in the fridge.

Just before cooking beat the lemon juice with the olive oil. Have a small brush ready for basting. Beat together all the ingredients for the seasoning sauce. Leave it to stand in a cool place. Mix the parsley with the reserved onion juice for the garnish.

Brush the grill with the basting liquid and place the fish on it. Place the grill 10cm/ 4 inches above the glowing coals and cook for 10-20 minutes – depending on the size of the fish – turning them as they cook and brushing on more basting liquor when they become dry.

Place the grilled fish on a serving dish. Put the chopped parsley in their mouths and garnish with lemon slices. Pour over the seasoning sauce, and serve hot, with a tomato salad.