Bacon-wrapped Yellowtail

Sorry for the radio silence; Jim and I went on a road trip last week.  I figured I could slip away, under the cover of fireworks.  We set off on the fourth of July and made our way to Lexington, NC for barbecue, then Savannah, GA for fried chicken, Florida for the ocean (and, more importantly, my grandparents), then back to Savannah.  We listened to the audio version of the Iliad along the way, which made our adventure down the east coast seem all the more glorious.  But that’s all I’m going to tell you for now; we’re letting the trip digest a bit before posting.

I did prepare something for you, though.  The night before we left we snuck over, again, to Jim’s parents’ empty house to grill, this time bacon-wrapped, herb-stuffed yellowtail snapper.  By chance, we bought a way-too-big-for-the-two-of-us fish, because it looked so pristine and delicious—a good thing, because we were ready when Jim’s parents came home early from their vacation, surprising us (and themselves) in the kitchen!  It became an impromtu welcome home/bon voyage party, with fish, avocado and tomato salad, grilled zucchini, and bread and butter.

The fish is one we’ve done many times, for good reason.  You take a whole fish, yellowtail for instance, though red snapper, bronzino, and many others work as well, and stuff it with whatever fresh herbs you can get your hands on (I like to use a mix of many herbs, so that no one stands out too much) and thin slices of lemon.  Then, and this is the good part, you salt and pepper and wrap it in bacon, from the head to the tail, and throw it on a hot grill.

It only takes a few minutes to cook the fish and crisp the bacon.  We like for it to blacken on the top and bottom; sprinkled with a touch of lemon juice, the charred bacon crumbles over the fish flesh as you eat and it’s fresh and savory and ahh, well, it’s just what it sounds like. Also, we could feed four people with a fish just over 2 pounds (that’s counting the weight of the carcass), because a little goes a long way here—a welcome thing for impromptu dinner parties.

Bacon-wrapped Yellowtail

serves 4

  • 1 (2.5 pound) whole yellowtail snapper, have the fishmonger clean and remove fins for you
  • salt, pepper
  • handful of mixed herbs, parsley, dill, thyme are good ones
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • about 6-8 slices good bacon
  • lemon wedges, for serving

Turn the grill on high.  Check that the fish has been scaled fully, and remove any stray scales.  Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the fish and fill with herbs and lemon slices.  Salt and pepper the outside of the fish and then wrap in bacon, overlapping each slice with other slices (to ensure that everything stays put).  Grill 7 minutes on each side, or until the fish is opaque and tender and the bacon is crisp and beginning to blacken.  Fillet and serve with lemon wedges.

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23 thoughts on “Bacon-wrapped Yellowtail

    • I’ve been able to sustain my urges with “borrowing” the grill at Jim’s parents—so you’ve just got a find a friend with a grill. : )

  1. famdoc says:

    Wonder whether you found the yellowtail close to home….we’ve needed to go to Heller’s way the heck in Warrington, PA for better fish.

    • We usually get our seafood from Buckingham Valley Seafood (1489 Durham Rd New Hope, PA 18938 – (215) 598-9980) off 413 (right next to the Buckingham Winery.) Takes me about 15 minutes to get there. They’ve got a smaller selection than Heller’s but I tend to like them better, especially for whole fish. And it’s a lot closer.

      • famdoc says:

        Was there last weekend. Didn’t realize they had yellowtail. Sometimes you gotta ask what they have in the back. Their pompano was excellent, as were their crab cakes. I brushed the pompano with extra virgin, dusted them with some fresh herbs, grilled them and served them on lightly toasted potato rolls. Reminded me of early bird dinner in Boca.

        • I think they only had one left after we bought our fish… they seem to have a different selection daily (with a few mainstays).

          That pompano sounds great. I’m loving all the frehs herbs right now..

  2. Gorgeous! I’ve been wanting my husband to grill fish, but he says he can’t do it without a fish basket. I love that you used that pan–I can use one of our broiler pans…Thanks.

    • Oh, he was. But he had about 5 stray cats to contend with (they hang out about the yard). Champ’s actually very well behaved, though once in a blue moon will he walk nonchalantly past a plate and try to unseenly stick his tongue out to grab something.

  3. Great looking snapper. As many times as I’ve done snapper on the grill, never once have I thought of wrapping it in bacon. ME, the bacon lover! Go figure. I have half a mind to go grab a snapper right now, but alas, I have salmon to think about.

    You did motivate me to grill a cowboy steak though. I kept coming back here until I just couldn’t stand it anymore. Thanks for the inspiration!

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