It’s BBQ season, and a nice and healthy way to impress your guests with an alternative to burgers and hot dogs is grilled fish. It’s easy to be intimidated by the delicacies from our seas, but preparing and cooking them isn’t all that tough and the results can be simply delicious. Follow these 5 easy tips to put up your confidence behind the grill.
1. Choose the right type of fish. Since you are usually putting the fish directly on a dry heat source, you’ll benefit from choosing an oily fish like salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, halibut or swordfish. If you prefer a leaner fish, try to brush it generously with melted butter or oil before and during grilling to prevent dryness. If you can, choose a whole fish as they will hold their juiciness and won’t stick as easily. If you do prefer fillets, larger fishes like salmon and tuna are good for that purpose.
2. Prepare the fish. Marinate the fish in suitable sauce for one to two hours before cooking and let it soak in the fridge. Take the fish out about 30 minutes before grilling so that it can slowly warm up to room temperature. If you are cooking a whole fish, score the fish by cutting several diagonal cuts on each side. This will help to cook the fish more quickly and spread the heat evenly. Make sure the fish does not have too much marinade, since any drops of fat that fall on the flame or heat will flame up and could burn the fish.
3. Prepare the grill. Use buttered foil on the grill to avoid fishy flavours from lingering in the pan and to prevent the fish from sticking. The grill should be pre-heated for a good 10 minutes. Also make sure the rack is heated as well.
4. Grill the fish. Unsurprisingly, it’s really important to be able to know when the fish is done. Thin fillets will normally only need to be cooked on one side (skin side down) while thicker steaks and whole fishes will need to be turned over. You should check online for the recommended cooking time on your specific type of fish, but a good rule of thumb is that the fish should easily flake when pierced with a fork and the color should have changed from translucent to opaque.
5. Serve the fish. A whole fish should ideally be served immediately and often goes well with new potatoes, asparagus or green salad. Or just as it is with some extra butter and lemon. Always put salt on the table, since fish normally needs a little extra dash of it!