Whole Grilled Fish with Vietnamese Peanut Pesto


For a Southeast Asian spin, chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly and One/Fifth in Houston creates a Vietnamese Peanut Pesto which is spread liberally over grilled whole fish.

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What You Will Need


Vietnamese Peanut Pesto

  • 2 cups roasted peanuts
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 bunches cilantro
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 1 cup Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 limes, juiced

Whole Grilled Fish

  • 1 whole red snapper, 2-3 lbs, scaled and cleaned
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 14 red onion, shaved
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 12 red chili, thinly shaved
  • garlic chives, cut into 1-inch sticks, for garnish
  • crushed peanuts, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


Step 1

Heat grill to 400 degrees.

Step 2

Make the Vietnamese Peanut Pesto: Place all ingredients in blender except for the peanuts and blend until smooth. Transfer to a food processor, add the peanuts and pulse until peanuts are chopped but still chunky. Set aside.

Step 3

Season the snapper on both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Place on a hot grill, and grill evenly on both sides, allowing fish to cook for 10-12 minutes or until done.

Step 4

Carefully remove the fish from the grill smear even layers of the pesto over the entire fish. Reserve extra pesto.

Step 5

Place fish on serving plate and garnish with red onions, red chiles, garlic chives and crushed peanuts. Serve with sliced lime wedges.
Whole Grilled Fish with Vietnamese Peanut Pesto