How to cook Joachim Hayward’s grilled sea bream with crispy shallots from Crosley
Chef Joachim Hayward of Crosley reflects both his West Coast origins and his experience in European kitchens—as well as Toronto’s very own Brothers Food and Wine—in his cooking (RIP). Everything is a little bit elegant, even while he’s cooking on the grill at home. When he wants fish, he prefers entire, head-on fish with deceptively easy sauces—this one is a Grenobloise—that can be made while the fish cooks. Because of its thick, sweet meat and grillability, sea bream is one of his go-to fish. It’ll stay moist even if you keep it on the grill for an extra minute or two.
1 entire sea bream, head-on, cleaned and gutted
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 medium-thick green asparagus bunch
2 medium onions, finely diced; 2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp drained and chopped brined capers
1 small bunch parsley (Italian), plucked and coarsely chopped
1 dill bunch, plucked and coarsely sliced
7 tbsp chopped cold unsalted butter
Note that if sea bream is unavailable, sea bass or white snapper will suffice.
Place the shallot rings in a small saucepan to make the crispy shallots. Cover with olive oil and cook, turning periodically, over medium-high heat until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, remove the shallots and set them on a paper towel-lined dish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pat the fish dry with a paper towel to eliminate extra moisture. Then, gently oil the fish all over with 1 tbsp olive oil, inside and out.
- Preheat a gas grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring briquettes to a white ember stage for charcoal.
- Trim the bottoms of the asparagus stalks and mix with 1 tsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt while the grill warms up.
- Place the fish horizontally across the grill and cook for about 4 minutes without moving it.
- Arrange asparagus on the opposite side of the grill while the fish cooks. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until beautifully browned but still somewhat hard, moving them around with tongs to achieve even charring. Place on a chopping board to cool.
- Lift the fish’s tail gently with tongs or an offset spatula to inspect it. Flip the fish over and cook for another four minutes after the skin is no longer clinging.
- Preheat the grill to high and place a small saucepan on it. Whisk in the chopped butter until the browned milk solids are equally distributed. Remove from the fire once the shallots are finely diced and add the capers, chopped herbs, grated lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the equation.
- When an instant-read thermometer reads 110°F, remove the fish and set it on a serving plate.
- Slice the asparagus into small coins and pour them on top of and around the fish, along with the herb butter.