With the arrival of summer, the grilling season is in full swing. People celebrate summer nights by lighting the grill for flames, food, and fun. But the grill isn’t just for steaks and burgers. It’s perfect for seafood, too! Grilling seafood is easier than you think.
Pick the Perfect Catch
Firm-fleshed fish are perfect for the grill: striped bass, halibut, snapper, or grouper. Other fishes to grill include tuna, mahi, wahoo, tilefish, swordfish, and salmon. Note: Grilling fish with the skin on can make the process easier, reducing the likelihood of sticking to the grates.
Fire Up the Grill
Preheat the grill for at least 15 minutes and clean the cooking grates. Fish, unlike other proteins, has a high-water content making it challenging to snag a flavorful sear. Sprinkle filets in salt, then wrap them in paper towels and allow them to rest, drawing out moisture. Lightly brush filets with oil to prevent sticking. Sear the top of the filet for two-thirds of the grilling time for desired grill marks and flavor. Note: Charcoal grills are more labor intensive but can get hotter than most gas grills, making them superior for cooking fin fish.
Don’t Overcook It
The general rule for grilling fish is 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Thinner filets are best-grilled cold. Thicker filets should be at room temperature before cooking. Most fish are done when they reach 145 degrees. Aim for 110 degrees for tuna which is medium rare. Allow one good set of grill marks, flip the fish, and lower the heat for the remaining cooking time. Note: Thin, flexible spatulas work best.
Grilled shrimp is the easiest and quickest seafood to cook. To avoid having dry, overcooked shrimp, look for larger varieties, often labeled 16/20. Shell-on shrimp protects the meat and retains more moisture. Rinse shrimp in cold water and pat dry. Place 4 to 6 shrimp per stick, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the skewers on the hot side of the grill and allow the shrimp to cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until they are slightly pink with opaque flesh. Drizzle them with olive oil and fresh lemon juice or melted butter. Note: Serve immediately.
Always support your local seafood market or seafood counter, look for the “catch of the day,” and use these simple tips to grill more seafood this summer!