Looking for something different to grill this summer? Something lighter, healthier, and equally delicious? Think fresh fish and seafood!
Red Lobster Senior Executive Chef Michael LaDuke offers helpful suggestions for cooking seafood on the grill.
Keep it clean. Prior to igniting the grill, make sure it’s clean. You also may want to brush the grill grate with a light coat of oil or nonstick cooking spray to prevent fish from sticking.
Don’t soak it too long. If you’re going to use a marinade or sauce, only allow the seafood to sit in marinade for 45 minutes to an hour to infuse it with the flavor. Any longer will not intensify the flavor, but will actually start to cook the fish. Be careful when selecting the marinade, because a marinade heavy with sugar can cause the fish to stick to the grill as the sugar caramelizes. Before putting it on the grill, drain off the excess marinade.
Baste it. While cooking, you can baste the fish with the marinade or sauce to create a deep, rich glaze. With grilled foods avoid using the marinade or sauce the fish was soaking in, as it can contain bacteria. Instead, set aside some extra marinade or sauce for basting.
Olive oil works, too. Another way to season the fish is to brush it with a light coat of olive oil and then add your favorite seasonings. Try using black pepper, kosher salt and a touch of lime or lemon juice.
It’s gotta be hot. When you’re ready to cook, make sure the grill is hot. If it’s lukewarm, the fish may stick. Put the fish on the grill with the bone or uneven side down first. (If you put the flat side down first, the fish may crack when you turn it.) If grilling more than one piece of fish, make sure you leave enough space for air and heat to circulate between the pieces.
Fish cooks fast! The fish should sizzle when you put it on the grill. Fish cooks fast, so make sure you keep an eye on it. Cook it until it’s about 60% done, then use a wide spatula to turn over each fillet. All fish will cook firm. Overcooking will result in very dry tasteless fish.
Skewer ’em. To grill shrimp, place them on a skewer, one on top of the other. Watch them closely, because they will cook quickly. To grill scallops place them on a skewer with the flat side up. This allows them to pick up more flavors from the grill. If using wooden skewers, soak them overnight in water so they do not ignite on the grill.
Put shellfish in a basket. Shellfish, such as oysters, mussels and clams, cook even faster than fish. To prepare them, place them on the hottest part of the grill. They’re done when the shell opens up. It is best to place them in a grilling basket to make it easier to handle and also to create some steam as well as the direct grill heat
Choosing a wine. Several wines pair perfectly with grilled seafood, such as an oaky Chardonnay or a light Pinot Noir. If you’re adding spices to your fish, a lighter, sweeter Riesling is a great match.
Sauces that pair perfectly with grilled seafood and fresh fish
Sweet Mustard Glaze (great for grilled shrimp)
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Store covered in refrigerator.
Chili Spiked Mayonnaise (great for grilled salmon)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce (sold in markets usually near ketchup and hot sauces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot sauce to taste (use your favorite to add as much spice as you like!)
Combine ingredients in bowl and mix well. Store covered in refrigerator.
Blackberry BBQ (great for grilled tuna)
2 cups BBQ sauce (use your favorite, preferably plain, not flavored)
1/2 cup blackberry preserves (you can use jelly or jam)
Â½ cup sweet Thai chili sauce (in Asian section of market, do not use the tomato based version sold near ketchup)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1. Combine BBQ, Chili Sauce, and Soy Sauce in heavy saucepot over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Add blackberry preserves, and continue to stir until they are completely incorporated into sauce.
2. Place sauce in container and store covered in refrigerator
3. Remove sauce from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before service
For more tips on preparing great seafood visit www.redlobster.com.