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Prep 10 mins
Cooking 15 - 20 mins
Serves 4 - 6

When you braai an absolutely fresh fish properly, it’s guaranteed to be a great meal, an anchor in a world of uncertainty. I cannot stress enough how important it is that the fish you braai is fresh. Now, as mentioned before, you can either braai a whole fish ‘open’ or ‘closed’ and the choice is really a matter of personal preference. Braaing the fish open exposes a larger area of the fish to direct heat and braai flavour, and it is also quicker.The crucial piece of equipment for this recipe is a hinged grid (toeklaprooster) and attempting to turn the fish without one is silly. Fish like Cape salmon, cod and yellowtail are popular on the braai but there are many other types of fish you can also braai so ask the fishmonger’s advice and try to ensure the fish you buy is not on an endangered list. Ask for your fish to be gutted and scaled and for its head to be removed. If you caught the fish yourself then I assume you know how to do that


  • (1.5 kg fish feeds about 4; 2 kg fish feeds 6)
  • 1 whole fresh fish (something like Cape salmon, cod or yellowtail)
  • ½ cup butter (melted)
  • 1 tot apricot jam
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tot chopped parsley
  • olive or sunflower oil
  • Cape Herb and Spice MEDITERRANEAN ROAST


Melt the butter and mix in the garlic, lemon juice and parsley. You will use this sauce to baste the fish while it is braaing.

An ‘open’ fish has two sides, a flesh side and a skin side. Rub or paint the oil onto both sides and then spice the flesh side only.

Place fish in a hinged grid and braai it on medium-to-hot coals, flesh side down, for about 3–4 minutes until the flesh gets a light golden colour. Now turn the grid over and braai the fish skin side down until done. Total braai time should be between 14 and 20 minutes depending on the size of the fish, the height of grid and the heat of the fire. Baste throughout with your sauce made from the melted butter, lemon juice, parsley and garlic. Although you should try and keep it to a minimum, don’t worry if the skin side burns slightly here and there – you’re not going to eat the skin. I treat fish skin at the braai as a natural tinfoil.

The fish is ready when it has turned white, comes away from the bones when you try to loosen it or flakes when you insert a fork into it. Remember the golden rule: If you think it’s ready, it probably is.


Recipe and pictures by: Jan Braai