Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How to Grill the Perfect Fish

I’d like to be, down by the sea . . .

Fish on the grill is awesomely good eats. Simply seasoned, or with a wonderful marinade or glaze will tantalize your taste buds and elicit “ohhs and ahhs” from your guests. I will show you how to prepare the perfect fish fillet on the grill. After you have the basics down, then watch out – the sky is the limit on grilling flavorfully fishy feasts.

“How the heck do you keep the fish from sticking on the grill” you might ask? The answer to this seemingly everlasting question is this -- the grill grate needs to be very clean. If this one step is over looked you can expect to scrape your fish off the grill in fragments and bits.

Prepping the Grill:
• Set it to high heat.
• Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the top of the grate.
• Close the grill top and let it clean like a self-cleaning oven for 10 minutes. The heat will burn off any bits o’food that may have stuck to the grill surface previously.
• Open the lid and remove the foil.
• Using a wire brush scrape the grill clean.

You are now ready to dive into some awesome fish grilling.

My personal opinion is that all fish is great grilled. Some fish take more to grilling than others due to the texture of the meat. Firm fish like red snapper, grouper, tuna, salmon, or swordfish grill up nicely without the use of extra hardware like the grill basket I'll mention next.

Other fish such as tilapia, catfish, and trout work nicely with the use of a grill basket since these fish are thinner and tend to flake apart when you try to flip them over.

Nonstick Rectangular Grill Basket

Nonstick Rectangular Grill Basket

Marinating, lightly oiling, or using a cooking spray on the fish will help prevent the fish from sticking to the surface of the grill grate when they are ready to be turned over. The fish will naturally release itself when it is ready to be turned providing the following three simple rules are in place:

1. Ensure that the grill is clean.
2. Oil the fish before placing it on the grill.
3. Use medium high heat to cook the fish.

If you are ready to kick this thing off, let's get grillin.'

Fish Fillet or Steak
Olive Oil
Salt – kosher ¼ teaspoon per fillet
Pepper (black) – ¼ teaspoon per fillet

How To Make It:
1. Get grill ready for medium high heat (350 to 400 degrees).

2. Let fish stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes then brush both sides of fish fillet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Put the fish on the grill over direct heat ( directly over the heat source) skin side up and close the grill lid. (Use the chart below to determine when to flip the fish over.)

4. Turn and continue to cook for remaining suggested times. If the fish has skin attached you can remove it when taking the fish off the grill by sliding a spatula between the fish skin and the meat.

5. Remove the fish from the grill. Now it's time to serve and enjoy this very flavorful dish..

Suggested Fish Cooking Times:
If the fish is ¼ to ½ inch thick (use a grill basket):
3 to 5 minutes per side

½ to 1 inch thick:
5 to 7 minutes per side

1 to 1 ½ inches thick:
8 to 10 minutes per side

More than 1 ½ inches thick:
Plan on at least 10 minutes per inch and reduce the grill heat to 300 to 350

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