The "half shell" in this classic Texas dish is actually the scales-on skin of the fileted fish. Ask your fishmonger to leave the scales on.
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp. finely chopped thyme
- 1⁄2 tsp. chili powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. paprika
- 4 (10–12-oz.) boneless redfish, snapper, or sea bass filets, scales left on
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 thin lemon rounds
Build a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to medium.
Put butter, shallots, cilantro, thyme, chili powder, and paprika into a bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip mixture until fluffy. Brush scales of fish with oil. Flip filets; season flesh with salt and pepper and smear each with 1 tbsp. butter mixture. Top each filet with 3 lemon rounds.
Place fish, scale side down, on grill and cover. Cook, basting occasionally with remaining butter mixture, until scales are blackened and fish is cooked through, 12–15 minutes.