Grilled Amberjack with Mint Oil
by eat in my kitchen
Here is another one of our Marsaxlokk fish market purchases, firm amberjack steaks! When I wrote about my Moscato Prawn Pasta last week I mentioned the small town’s Sunday market that turns the picturesque promenade at the seafront into a busy scene of fishermen offering their fresh catches and farmers piling up their colourful harvest. Green boxes filled with melons, tomatoes, zucchinis and peaches made my mouth water before we even started our shopping!
The small path between the stalls was packed with people looking for the nicest piece of tuna or swordfish, trying to spot the fisherman offering the freshest Maltese prawns, mackerel, barracuda or octopus. We bought far more than we had planned but we couldn’t resist when we saw all the wonderful seafood in front of us. After 30 minutes of choosing the fish we wanted and bargaining here and there, we started to feel a bit exhausted. The heat reached its peak and forced us to take a break. We ate a nice big watermelon, sweet and juicy and found a little spot in the shade right next to the colourful boats swaying gently in the crystal clear water.
Sometimes when we visit Marsaxlokk we sit down in one of the cafes at the piazza in front of the church and enjoy a little snack with our espresso, or we go to one of my beloved Pastizzerias! You can find these little bakeries all over the island selling some of my favourite Maltese treats, little pies filled with ricotta or spinach and anchovies. One of these pies is Pastizzi, a flaky puff pastry shell which is so delicate that it crumbles between your buttery fingers, you can also get these filled with peas. The other one is called Qassatat, the pastry is less rich and more like short crust. If you come to Malta you should try these traditional pastry delicacies, that’s what many Maltese miss the most (apart from their bread!) when they live abroad!
Back to the amberjack, when we came home we started the grill and cooked the fish without any seasoning. You could also sauté it in a pan and cook it in the oven for a few minutes at 200°C (390°F). It’s summertime, the kitchen is already hot and we have the gas barbecue ready in the garden so we decided to grill it. I mixed some olive oil with lemon juice and fresh mint leaves to sprinkle over the cooked fish and over a few slices of tomatoes – no salt, no pepper!
At first, my boyfriend wanted to enjoy the pure taste of the amberjack without the aromatic mint oil but when he smelled (and tasted) it on my steak he changed his mind! Fish and mint works just too well together!
Grilled Amberjack with Mint Oil and Tomatoes
For 2 hungry people you need
amberjack steaks (around 1,5cm / 1/2″ thick) 400g / 14 ounces
olive oil 4 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons
fresh mint leaves, cut into thin slices, 10
tomatoes, quartered, 3
For the mint oil, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and mint leaves.
Cook the steaks on the grill for a few minutes on both sides until golden and cooked through. You should be able to lift the fish off the bone when it’s done.
If you cook the fish in a pan, heat a little olive oil and sauté the fish for 1-2 minutes on both sides until golden. Cook in the oven at 200°C (390°F) for about 8 minutes.
Arrange the tomatoes and amberjack on a big plate an sprinkle both with the mint oil.