Tips on grilling fish:
- A hot fire is key. You want to cook seafood quickly to retain the natural juices and flavor.
- A clean grill rack is equally important. Fish will stick to a dirty rack and make turning the fish difficult.
- Oil the rack when the barbecue grill is hot, just before you’re ready to cook. Also, oil the fish whenever possible. Use a high-temperature oil, such as grape seed, peanut or plain olive oil.
- Skin side up or down? Conventional wisdom says to cook the skin side first, but doing the opposite gives a nicer, crusted surface on the non-skin side and the skin helps the fillet hold together for turning. The result is a moist, more appealing fillet.
- Fish will hold together better and be less likely to stick if you leave it alone during grilling. Cook it for the estimated time, then try lifting it carefully. If it pulls away easily, it is ready to turn.
- A wide, thin spatula is essential for turning and removing fish from the grill.
- If you’re grilling thin fillets, you can place them in a double-sided, long-handled grilling rack used for hamburgers and steaks. There are also specially shaped ones made for grilling whole fish.
- A good rule of thumb is to grill fish for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness (measured at the thickest point.) So if you have a half-inch thick fillet, grill it for about 3 minutes on one side, then turn and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Avoid sugary marinades or glazes, especially with thick fillets or whole fish, as the sugars can burn and turn bitter before the fish is fully cooked.
- As with other methods, fish is fully cooked when it begins to flake and is opaque at the center. Some fish, like salmon and tuna, are often served while still somewhat ‘rare’, like steak.
- Tuna, salmon, swordfish, halibut, mahi mahi, barramundi, trout, mackerel, yellowtail and sea bass are some of the best fish to grill.
When most of us think of swordfish, we think…well, isn’t it endangered? The answer — at least for American swordfish — is no. It is true that swordfish stocks were hurt in the 1980s and early 1990s, but a nationwide movement to give swordfish a break worked. Now, North Atlantic stocks are on the rebound and environmental watchdog groups list them as a “good alternative.”
Grilled Swordfish With Caponata
Swordfish is made for the grill. It is firm, like steak, and many non-fish eaters will readily eat swordfish over other types of fish. Its texture also helps prevent the steaks from falling apart on the grill, a huge plus. Note: Halibut steaks or firm white fish fillets, such as red snapper, tilapia, cod or orange roughy, can be used in place of swordfish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 swordfish steaks (see note above)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 each Italian frying pepper and orange and yellow bell peppers
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled or unpeeled according to taste
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
Mix ingredients in a large ziptop bag. Add fish, seal; turn to coat. Leave at room temperature while preparing the caponata.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers; sauté 2 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds and add eggplant, cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in marinara sauce, cover; reduce heat and simmer, stirring twice, 12 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender.
Add vinegar and capers to the caponata. Cover and simmer 5 minutes to develop flavors.
Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill or a stove-top ridged grill pan. Remove fish from the bag; discard bag with the marinade.
Grill fish 4 to 6 inches from the heat source on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan, turning once, 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.
Serve fish over the caponata.
Healthy sides to go with your delicious grilled fish.
Spinach & Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
- 4 large vine-ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for the tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Heat the oven to 450°F.
Rub the inside of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil and set aside.
Using a serrated knife, cut off the top fourth of each tomato and discard the tops. Cut 1/8th off the bottom of each tomato, so that they’ll sit upright in the baking dish; discard bottoms.
Using a small spoon (a grapefruit spoon works the best), scoop out the seeds and pulp from each tomato and discard. Sprinkle the insides of each tomato with a little salt. Place the tomatoes upside down on a plate layered with paper towels and let them sit for 30 minutes to extract excess tomato juice, which may make the filling soggy.
Heat the remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and yellow pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and Italian seasoning. Cook 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in rice, salt and lemon rind. Cook 4 minutes or until heated through.
Spoon rice mixture into the tomatoes and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
Braised Spring Vegetables
- 1 spring onion or 4 green onions, trimmed and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chicken broth or water
- 8 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound of peas in the pod) or frozen peas (thawed)
- 1/2 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
In heavy 12-inch skillet, combine spring onion, garlic, oil and broth; heat to simmering on medium heat. Cover; cook about 2 minutes, or until onion softens slightly.
Add asparagus, sugar snap peas and peas and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until beans and peas are heated through. Add escarole and basil; sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until escarole wilts and asparagus is crisp-tender.
Stir in lemon peel and juice. Season to taste with kosher salt.
Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with chives and grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Spaghettini with Lemon and Ricotta
- 12 oz spaghettini (thin spaghetti)
- 3/4 cup good-quality fresh whole-milk ricotta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons
Heat a large saucepan of salted water to boiling on high. Add spaghettini; cook 6 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix ricotta, oil and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Finely grate the peel of 1 lemon and stir it into ricotta. Season with kosher salt.
Add cooked spaghettini to ricotta mixture; stir well, adding reserved cooking water, if needed to make a sauce that coats the pasta. Season to taste.
Divide pasta among 4 plates. Finely grate the peel of the remaining lemon over the pasta and serve.
Tomato & Fennel Salad
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 pound tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool
Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
Add tomatoes, fennel, parsley and pine nuts; toss to coat. Serve.
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Anchovies
- 2 pounds broccoli rabe, stem ends trimmed and chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 anchovy fillets, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot or Dutch oven of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli rabe and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until the garlic is very light brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the broccoli rabe, toss to coat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes more. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.