Grilled Fish: The Other White Meat

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Grilling fish can be a very delicate matter. More often than not, cooks fail to realize that certain species of fish tend to yield better results than others, depending on the cooking method used. However, if you take the following suggestions into consideration, you’ll put yourself on the fast track to fixing one fine piece of fish.

1. Through Thick and Thin

You think this one would seem like a no-brainer, right? But to this day, there are still those out there (who will not be named), who still can’t seem to get this rule of thumb right. To put it plainly: thicker, steak-like cuts of fish (e.g. tuna, shark, swordfish and salmon), hold up better when placed directly on the rack. I’m not saying that you’re limited to these species (we’ll get to that later…), but if you’re looking for a heartier, no-frills piece of fish to grill, this is your best bet. Note: Always remember to coat the fish with regular olive oil (which is best for sauteing and grilling).

2. The Royal Tin Foil

When dealing with very light to medium types of fish, you can still get all the aesthetics of on-the-rack grilling (i.e. grill marks, etc.) without having your fish fall apart, by just using a sheet of foil over the rack. You get all the heat you’ll need and none of the fuss. Lightly brushing the foil with oil will keep the fish from sticking.

3. On the Whole

If and only if your find yourself bored with the methods I’ve mentioned above, you can get a little more advanced and try grilling a whole fish. But before slapping a whole trout, halibut or char on the grill, be sure to ask your local fishmonger to properly clean your fish before taking it home. And by “properly” I mean gutting, scaling and washing your fish before you take it home. Some seafood places may charge extra for this service, but the truly professional ones won’t, so be sure to ask.

Keep in mind that these are merely the bare-bone basics of preparing and grilling fish. The more you delve into the subject the more you’ll find tips and tricks that will put you ahead of the curve. If you have any swell recipes or comments, please feel free to share with the class.

Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
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1 thought on “Grilled Fish: The Other White Meat”

  1. I don’t like to have aluminum touching food I’m going to eat, so I try to avoid foil. I have a grilling basket that works well by itself with firmer fish, For softer fish, I pick a few fig leaves (banana leaves and grape leaves also work if you have these plants – always check for toxicity before cooking anything in a leaf!!!), oil them well with olive oil, and wrap them around the seasoned fish before putting it in the grill basket. The leaves hold the fish together and impart a light flavor of their own as they grill. One does not eat the leaves; they’re not tasty after this use.


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