Grilling fish and other seafood is catching the interest of grillers everywhere because of it being low fat and healthy. Grilling… it’s not just for steaks anymore. You have an ocean of choices.
Fish is healthy, a favorite of many, it goes great with grilling, and it cooks quickly. It’s also a great choice for entertaining. It sounds so perfect. What could possibly be wrong with grilling fish.
That wouldn’t be such a problem except for the fact that fish is so tender and delicate. Usually you think of that as a good thing. But that becomes a problem when it comes to the grilling fish.
Whether you want to grill or slow smoke, that flimsy little piece of fish will have to be put down on some kind of grate. And you know what grates are like… they are full of slots, gaps, holes and places for things to fall through.
Fish doesn’t take very long to cook. Even if it sticks just a little bit, it may be hard to keep it together while turning it. Remember the grate gaps? That’s when they take a bite of the fish, while you are trying to turn it.
Because of this turning problem, I usually grill salmon filets or steaks. Tuna would be another good choice. As long as it is relatively firm and thick. It is easier to turn that way.
It can still be done with more delicate and smaller pieces of fish, but
1. The grate must be clean.
2. A little bit of oil should be applied to both the fish and the grate.
3. Heat should be medium high to high.
4. Use a wide spatula (or two) instead of tongs or a fork to turn it.
Even this may not work on all grills. Some grills have a very small surface area verses open space area (grate gaps). If you really like grilling fish, your best bet is to
5. Get a grate with more surface area than space.
Because fish is so delicate, many people have come up with their own ways of grilling fish (so it won’t fall apart). One way is to
6. Leave the skin on.
But some people (like me) prefer no skin. Without the skin, fish will take on the flavors of smoke, seasonings, sauces, etc.
So, what else do we do? Another way is to
7. Use aluminum foil.
Using a piece of foil on the grate under the fish will keep it from falling through.
8. There are also what I call fish baskets available.
They are like a pan with small holes in it.
Grilling fish is much more common now than it used to be. It would probably be done more often, too, if the sticking problem were solved. The fish is already tender. And once it is cooked, it tends to flake apart very easily.
That may be the biggest obstacle of all. Sticking just makes it worse. I guess even if it didn’t stick at all, it still might be hard to turn over on the grill. So use the suggestions as you see fit. Eliminate your sticking problems, but be prepared to deal with all that tender falling-apart fish.