National GeographicNat Geo Wild


Here are tasty solutions to bring sustainable food to the dinner table.

There is something incredible about serving an entire fish at the table. First, by cooking it whole much of the moisture is retained giving you an incredibly tender and flavorful fillet. But I also like presenting fish whole as it allows us to better understand and celebrate that this fish is a magnificent creature that we are lucky to be able to eat!

Serves four
1 whole rockfish (wild striped bass), dressed
1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon juiced
1 cup red or green seedless grapes cut in half
1 small red onion, sliced very thin

For the fish, prepare a charcoal grill with all of the coals on one side. Mix the ginger garlic and salt with 2 tablespoons olive oil and rub all over the fish, including inside the belly cavity. When the coals have burned down to embers place the fish as far away from the flame as possible. If you wish, add a handful of soaked woodchips to the fire. Cover the grill and allow to cook for approximately 15 minutes per pound of fish. Depending on the size of the fish, you may need to add more charcoal to keep the fire going. (This is not an exact science as the fire temperature can vary. The best way to check doneness is to gently insert a knife along the backbone and lift up to expose the flesh. If cooked the flesh will be an even opaque color throughout.) To remove from the grill, it is easiest to lift the grill grate and having a partner hold a plate on top of the fish, then invert the whole grate so that the fish lays right onto the plate. Or use a partner with spatulas to carefully remove from the grill.

For the salsa, mix the sliced onion with the grapes, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season the mix generously with salt and toss to combine.

To serve, insert a spatula along the backbone of the fish and gently peel off sections of the fillet. This is best done in smaller, more manageable pieces. There is a good chance that there will be a few small bones in the fillets when done. Top the servings with a spoonful of the salsa and serve immediately.


There is nothing more seductive than the taste and texture of ripe figs. I like to pair them with the bright taste of citrus and the bite of shallots to offset the richness of the mackerel. The mackerel cooks very quickly due to its thin fillet so this whole dish can come together in a matter of minutes. I like to grill spicy greens such as mustard or turnip to accompany the meal.

Serves four as an entrée
4 each fillets Boston mackerel, skin on 5 ounces each
4 each ripe figs, either brown or green, cut into eighths 
1 orange, cut into segments
1 shallot, peeled and sliced as thin as possible
1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Prepare a charcoal grill with the coals on one side of the grill.

For the fig dressing, combine the figs, shallots, orange segments, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes for the flavors to harmonize.

For the mackerel, season generously with salt and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Brush the fillets with half a tablespoon of the olive oil and place skin side down away from the flame. Cover the grill and allow to cook for about 12 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through. Rotate the grill grate so that the fish is over the flame and cook for another minute to get the fish hot. Remove from the grill and top each fillet with a spoonful of the fig dressing and serve immediately.


I love to pair something a little sweet with oysters. The salty punch of the oyster liquor is well balanced with the aromatic sweetness of the peach and the slight bite of the paprika. This dish is great to cook over the grill if you are entertaining outside.

Serves 4 as an appetizer
16 oysters, washed thoroughly
1 large peach, diced into ¼ inch pieces
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
4 tablespoons butter
Pre-heat the broiler to high

For the oysters, open each one and discard the top shell. Slice the oyster free of the bottom shell so that the oyster is sitting freely in the shell. Reserve as much of the liquor as possible by placing the opened oysters on a bed of salt on a broiler pan.

For the peach topping heat the butter with the paprika over medium heat for three minutes. Mix the infused butter with the diced peaches and toss to combine. Cook for another 4 minutes until the peaches begin to soften. Place a spoonful of the peach mixture on top of each oyster and place under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters begin to curl and the peaches are slightly browned.

Serve immediately


The predominant flavor of the Chesapeake region is Old Bay Seasoning. It’s a secret blend of herbs and spices that was developed in the 1940s. Used primarily to season crabs, it has become a flavor that to my mind epitomizes the steamy summers and incredible bounty of the region.
It is equally welcome on fresh-sliced, summer-ripe tomatoes, French fries, and meat as it is on seafood. In this recipe I season pork chops with the spice and slowly grill them to seal in the moisture. Really it’s not any more complicated than that.

Pre-heat a charcoal or gas grill and push all of the coals to one side. Season the pork chops with Old Bay Seasoning and allow to sit for at least ten minutes for the flavors to be absorbed. Place the chops directly over the coals and cook for two minutes. Remove the chops to the coolest part of the grill and cover the grill to capture the heat and slowly roast the meat.

While this is cooking I like to grill up some peaches, which are a perfect foil for the chops. Cut a few peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush with oil and place over the coals. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they are deeply caramelized and tender but not falling apart. The chops should take about 12 minutes to cook per inch of thickness, depending on the heat of the fire.

Serve with your favorite sides, such as cole slaw, potato salad, grilled onions, or whatever you like best.


There's something both exciting and comforting about a perfectly roasted chicken—especially when it’s done on the grill. This recipe has a wonderful contrast of crispy, smoky skin and juicy, tender meat. Pair it with you favorite mix of simply grilled vegetables and you’ve got a decadent and easy meal.

Serves four
1 whole roasting chicken
½ cup of fresh soft herbs (such as parsley, chervil, tarragon)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 lbs. late summer vegetables (such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes)
Olive oil
Prepare a charcoal grill with the coals on one side of the grill.

Coarsely chop the herbs. Mix together the herbs, butter, and 2 teaspoons salt until evenly combined. Gently loosen the skin over the breasts and stuff the butter mixture into the pocket under the skin. Smooth the skin back to its original place, distributing the butter mixture as you go. Place the chicken breast side up on the non-coal side of the grill and allow to slowly roast for 1-1.5 hours, depending on the heat of the flame. The chicken is done when you can pierce the thigh and the juices run clear.

Slice the vegetables lengthwise into ½ inch slices so they don’t fall through the grill. Season generously with olive oil and salt. When the chicken has been cooking for about an hour, add the vegetables to the grill. After 8-10 minutes, flip the vegetables over. Cook until tender and slightly crisped on the edges.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.