Stuffed Whole Fish

Easy and elegant, sea bass goes perfectly with the sweet smokiness of cedar planks. A flavorful cilantro, basil and lime stuffing completes this delicious dish. Soak the cedar plank completely in water for at least three hours before cooking. The cedar plank used in this recipe creates a lovely flavor and makes handling the fish on the grill easier, but it isn't required. If you're cooking without a plank, grill the fish away from any direct flame and turn it over after 15 minutes.

TOTAL TIME:3 hours, 30min.



  • 1 sea bass, 5 lbs., scaled and cleaned
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large cedar plank, soaked completely in water for 3 hours
  • ¼ cup basil, freshly chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, freshly chopped
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • Kitchen twine
  • Squirt bottle filled with water


  1. Set the cedar plank in the center of the grill. Heat the grill to high.

  2. Season the fish inside and out with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat the fish lightly inside and out with olive oil.

  3. Stuff the fish cavity with the basil, cilantro and about ¾ of the lime slices. Tie the fish snugly closed with twine.

  4. Lay the fish on the plank and close the lid. Check the fish occasionally, or if you see a lot of smoke. Smoke may mean the plank has ignited. If the plank does catch flame, squirt it with water from the bottle to put it out safely.

  5. Grill the fish until the top is crisp and browned, about 20 minutes. Check the doneness in the cavity using an instant-read thermometer; it should read 145° F.

  6. Remove the plank and transfer the fish to a serving dish. Cut the twine. Garnish the fish with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, the remaining lime slices, and torn cilantro and basil. Refrigerate any leftovers.