Fish grilled on the framed metal bars over charcoal or wood is a favourite way of preparing fish in Dalmatia. The smell of grilled fish always evokes memories from my summer vacations at the seaside.
We used to barbecue for lunch and I remember helping my grandfather preparing the fire behind the house. No big charcoal grill, just dry wood on a small open fire. And in the evening, as I was coming home from the beach, hungry after the afternoon spent on the burning sun and sand, I would smell the grilled fish people were preparing for dinner. Even today, it is the smell of home, the sea and the summer.
Barbecue is a staple during summer and this is one of the things I really miss in Paris. In Croatia, even in the capital, far away from the seaside, there are several parks equipped with barbecues. Almost anything can be grilled on the hot bars – meat, chopped vegetables on a stick, bread dipped in olive oil. People usually gather with friends on the weekends to barbecue and feast.
On the coast, the fish is more likely to be found on the grill. Traditionally, fish is cleaned (leaving the head on), glazed with some olive oil and placed on the hot bars. While it’s being baked it’s sprinkled with olive oil using a rosemary branch for that extra touch. Once it is baked, it is put on a long serving plate, drizzled with some olive oil, chopped garlic and parsley and served with a glass of homemade red wine.