Recipe courtesy of Gavin Parsons
Episode: Santa Barbara
Grilled Whole Fish with Black Rice, Sambal and Citrus Salad
1 hr 30 min
30 min
1 hr
2 servings
1 hr 30 min
30 min
1 hr
2 servings


  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced and crushed
  • 1 cup Fresno chiles, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 7 shallots, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Thai chiles
  • 2 cups sherry
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • Chicken stock, as needed
Black Rice:
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup black or forbidden rice
  • 1 cup sherry
  • 5 cups chicken or fish stock
Citrus Salad:
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 blood orange, supremed
  • 1 orange, supremed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Whole Fish:
  • One 28-ounce branzino, rock cod or Thai snapper


For the sambal: Pound the lemongrass in a mortar and pestle until it's a fine paste. In a large, straight-sided pot over medium heat, sweat your Fresno chiles, shallots, garlic, Thai chiles and lemongrass and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Deglaze with the sherry and reduce until almost dry, about 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and lemon juice and cook on very low heat, about 15 minutes. Finish with the brown sugar and turmeric and continue cooking until the sambal has achieved desired consistency; it should be spreadable, almost to the point of being pasty. Add chicken stock if it becomes to dry.

For the black rice: In a large, straight-sided pot over medium-high heat, cook the garlic, leeks and onions until tender, about 7 minutes. Add your black rice and sweat for 1 to 2 minutes. Deglaze with the sherry, reduce until almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add your chicken stock and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

For the citrus salad: Add the green onions, arugula, oranges, cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil to a bowl and toss before serving.

For the fish: Scale and gut the fish and if you need to, gently run water through the belly to remove any impurities and blood. Season your fish with salt and pepper. Take pains to ensure your grill is hot and clean (a dirty grill will result in the fish sticking and the flesh being pulled apart). Place fish on hot grill, 6 minutes per side until finished. If you can't tell if your fish is finished on a particular side, an easy way to tell is if the "collar" of the fish has turned from pink (raw) to white (cooked). Serve the fish with the sambal, rice and salad. 

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.

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