Recipe: Charcoal-grilled fish with burnt herbs and citrus

Renee Casteel Cook

It's a testament to both the inclusiveness of the Columbus food scene, as well as her distinctive culinary perspective and personality. Her fans have followed her to cooking classes at The Commissary, pop-up dinners at House Beer in the Short North and, most recently, Sudamericana Empanada, a weekly pop-up dinner she hosted at Platform Beer Co. with Brooke Kinsey from Bleu & Fig.

But just as quickly as Díaz arrived, she'll be moving to Copenhagen, Denmark, in June, as she and her husband pursue new professional opportunities. To cement her legacy, we asked her to leave us with a favorite recipe. Below, Díaz shares a dish similar to one featured in her Spanish language cookbook “Todo a la Parrilla.” It's perfectly suited to the grilling season and serves as a thank you to the many people who welcomed her as a Buckeye.

Charcoal-Grilled Fish with Burnt Herbs and Citrus

Serves: 4


  • 1 large (2–3 pound) or 2 small (1–2 pound) fish like branzino, sea bass or sustainably farmed tilapia (head and tail on, scaled and gutted)
  • Fresh bunches of bay leaves, rosemary and sage, or any other aromatic herb, washed and cut to about 3/4 the length of the fish
  • 2 lemons, one thinly sliced in half moons, the other halved for serving
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 1 small orange, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large drizzles of extra virgin olive oil
  • Butcher's twine


Allow fish to come to room temperature.

Rinse, pat dry and lightly oil fish with vegetable oil. Rub the cavity of the fish with salt and pepper; tuck in slices of lime, lemon and orange.

Place 2 or 3 bunches of herbs along each side of the fish. Secure tightly using twine.

Heat a charcoal grill (preferred, or gas grill) to medium-high heat and oil grill lightly.

Place fish on one side for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Don't move it until ready to turn. To turn, lift very carefully from the bottom.

Transfer fish to a plate, clean and oil the grill again, and grill other side for 2 or 3 minutes less than the first.

Check doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest part of the fish; meat should look white, shiny and tender, and juice should run white. Herbs will have burnt partially or completely, leaving a smoky aroma.

Using scissors, cut twine and discard burnt herbs.

To serve, lift the skin on one side and season with salt, a squeeze of lemon and olive oil.