If we didn't already hit 100 degrees here in the Lone Star State, we came darn close. Folks, it's getting hot and I hate to be the voice of reality, but the summer weather is here to stay. And, as much as I long for cool mornings, deer hunting and campfires, there is something awesome about summer cooking. Between fresh herbs, local vegetables and most everything coming in hot off the grill, summertime cooking definitely has a vibrancy that's unique to the season.
One of my favorite ways to cook fish, is to grill it over a wood fire, preferably oak. Fish absorbs the flavor of the grill more than most other meats. In fact, you should be careful to make sure that you're actually grilling and not smoking. When it comes to seasoning most fish that I plan on grilling, I tend to keep things simple, sea salt, some dried herbs and some good olive oil. It's enough to give an added layer of flavor, but not enough to overpower the entire thing, like a blackened seasoning. And, like any good simple dish, it's always nice to have a little something on the side to give you extra flavor and that is where this salsa verde comes in.
By now, you've realized that this is no traditional salsa verde. Mainly because there aren't any tomatillo's involved and the main herb is quite Italian. It's simple(maybe too simple), different, extremely flavorful and pairs well with any grilled white flakey fish, like this Snowy Grouper. The end result will deliver a great peppery punch that takes fish to a whole new place.
1 cup(packed) of fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP of sea salt(flakey)
1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
1/4 of one lemon, juiced
Freshness is the key to this vibrant topping, so using the freshest basil possible does wonders. To start, I like to chop the basil to begin breaking down the leaves. Once chopped, combine all ingredients into a mortar and pestle and begin to smash. This is supposed to be rustic and far from perfect looking, so mix until everything is at a consistency that you like. From here, drizzle over the fish and keep some on the side for extra dipping.