Grilling Fish and Seafood

Now that the good weather is here, grill fish and seafood outdoors. A delicious change of pace!

By FamilyTime


Grilled tuna or salmon, shrimp, sole, or flounder. Sound good? You bet!

The outdoor grill, whether charcoal- or gas-fired, is a great place to cook fish and seafood. But because grilling is a form of cooking with dry, fairly intense heat, being successful is a little more tricky than tossing the fish on the fire and walking away.

Prepare the Grill
For fish and seafood, which cook relatively quickly, direct heat grilling is the best method. This means the food is set directly over the hot coals -- not off to the side as for indirect grilling.

Before you begin, remove the grilling grid from the grill. Spray it with non-stick vegetable oil spray to prevent the fish from sticking.

Light hardwood charcoal or briquettes in a kettle or hibachi-style grill or preheat a gas grill. Avoid using briquettes that are impregnated with lighter fluid.

Use an electric starter or a chimney to start the charcoal. When the coals are covered with a light gray ash, they are ready for cooking. Have patience -- don't begin cooking until the coals are ready.

How to Cook the Fish
If you are cooking a tuna, halibut or swordfish steak, set it on the oiled grid and cook it for eight to 10 minutes per inch. Turn it only once and use tongs or a wide spatula so you don't pierce it. Fish falls apart more easily than meat.

You may want to marinate the fish briefly in oil, lemon juice, and herbs. Fish left in a marinade for longer than two hours will taste cottony when cooked. By then, the acid in the marinade will start to break down the protein in the fish.

While large fish steaks do well put directly on the grilling grid, a fish grilling basket makes it easy to turn them on the grill. These apparatus are also handy for grilling whole fish.

Begin testing for doneness after seven minutes. Insert the tip of a small, sharp knife into the fish to see if it separates into moist flakes. Some people like tuna rare, so do not let it cook until it flakes but only until it is opaque and still moist.

Grilling Tender Fish and Seafood
Tender, delicate fish such as fillet of sole, flounder, and cod do best when grilled with moisture. To achieve this, wrap the fish in foil with a little wine or broth, herbs, and perhaps vegetables such as sliced carrots, scallions, tomatoes, or squash.

Shrimp and scallops are too small to grill directly on the grilling grid. They will fall through to the coals beneath. Thread them on metal or bamboo skewers or put them in a perforated grilling basket.

The grill imparts lovely flavor to fish and seafood and cleanup is a breeze. This summer, use the grill for the denizens of the deep as well as for meat, poultry, and vegetables. You will be glad you did!