Episode 305: Charm City ‘Que

Grilled Rockfish with Shallot, Fig and Pomegranate Sauce

Grilled Rock Fish with Figs

Other Recipes from Episode 304: Charm City ‘Que


Grilled Rockfish with Shallot, Fig and Pomegranate Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4
  • Method: Indirect grilling


You’ll also need:

  • Fresh fig leaves; perforated grill tray or basket large enough to accommodate the fish; fish spatula

For the fish:

  • 1 3-pound rockfish (known as striped bass outside of Maryland), cleaned and scaled
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Several sprigs each of fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and chives, plus bunches of these herbs to scent the fire
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 fresh fig leaves or grape leaves
  • 4 heads garlic, preferably organic, with stems
  • 4 ripe whole figs
  • 8 leaves purple sage or other fresh herb (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 large shallots)
  • 6 ripe figs, stems trimmed off, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern markets and online)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter cut into 4 slices
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper

Finishing spice:

  • 2 teaspoons each sumac, za’atar, and coarse salt (sea or kosher)

Recipe Steps

1: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high (400 degrees).

2: Prepare the fish: Using kitchen shears, trim off the fins. Rinse the fish, inside and out, with cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Make several parallel slashes to the bone on top of the fish. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with lemon slices (save some for a garnish, if desired), fresh herbs, and the butter. Salt and pepper the top of the fish, then drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil.

3: Slice the tops off the garlic heads and reserve the tops. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the cut side of the garlic heads, then top with 2 leaves of purple sage (or your herb of choice). Replace the tops and arrange beside the fish with the figs.

4: Arrange 3 or 4 fig leaves on a perforated grill tray or grill basket and arrange the fish on top, flanked by the garlic and figs.

5: Add bunches of fresh herbs to the coals to generate fragrant smoke. Indirect grill the fish until cooked, 30 to 40 minutes. The flesh will flake easily when pressed with a fork.

6: While the fish grills, make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until hot (use your side burner or the stovetop). Add the shallots and sprinkle lightly with salt.

7: When the shallots are lightly browned, add the figs. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and thyme. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce cook until it is syrupy. Before serving, whisk in the butter

8: Sprinkle the fish lightly with the finishing spice. Carefully remove the fillets from the rockfish with a fish spatula and arrange on plates or a platter. Add the garlic, figs, and extra lemon slices, if desired. Whisk the sauce once more and spoon over the fish or serve on the side.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 3:

Project Fire Sponsors 2021

Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

Big Green Egg Fire Magic Grills Green Mountain Grills Shun Kaiusa Knives Kudu Grills Basques Hardwood Charcoal Blue Rhino Maverick Thermometers Rougette Bon-Fire Workman Publishing