Lemon basil barbequed fish

serves 6

In my mind spring is all about fresh ingredients and simplicity. In NZ we have quite a barbeque culture and as soon as Spring hits someone makes the call for the weekend barbeque and weather prevailing people descend with plates of food in hand. Typically if you’re lazy you turn up with some sausages and beer but in the day and age where food is getting more and more refined there is a competitive spirit to bring something ‘different’ along.This idea (I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it a recipe) came from a good friend. We were trawling the supermarket isles for offerings for an imminent barbeque when we encountered fresh whole fish. I dared him to take one and being in an adventurous mood he accepted. We decided that being a white fish (red cod) light but refreshing herbs would suit and as fortune would have it the supermarket had lemon basil.

The result of our discussions and browsing was light full flavoured shards of fish steaming hot off the barbeque. I’m not a huge fan of fish but this managed to pass my tastes. I recommend using whole fillets (skin on) though, as it will cook more evenly. Try cutting the fish down to the skin, once cooked it will easily lift off the skin to make for neat delicious parcels of fish.


1 whole white fish (snapper, red cod, blue cod, trout) scaled and gutted
or 2 large fillets
50g butter cut in batons
1 cup of lemon basil leaves
½ cup of chopped Italian parsley
1 lemon sliced thinly
Rock salt
Cracked black pepper


1. Wash the fish and pat dry. If using the whole fish stuff with the ½ cup lemon basil leaves, the chopped parsley, lemon slices and butter. Season with the rock salt and pepper.
2. If using the fillets cut across the width into 70mm pieces, cut just to the skin. Evenly distribute the butter, parsley, lemon, and lemon basil across each surface, season.
3. Wrap in tin foil ensuring the fish (or fillet) is neatly enclosed.
4. Place onto a hot barbeque and cook for ~10min each side. Remove from foil and serve. The fillet pieces should lift easily using a fish slice.