Many people don’t like fish and seafood – too bad for them! Prepared on the grill, these dishes reach culinary heights.
Fish and seafood are not very popular – very unfairly so. In general, these aquatic animals are just as suitable for grilling as beef, pork or chicken. Your seafood buffet will certainly succeed if you follow these few practical tips.
In reality, there are no fish species that would not be suitable for barbecuing. The rule is simple: the more fat and fleshy the fish, the easier it is to grill. The following fish are particularly recommended for the novice: sardine, mackerel, sea bream or dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi), bass, trout, swordfish, tuna, halibut, salmon and saithe. Large fish can be cut very well into fillets or steaks.
Cooking fish does not require high temperatures – it burns easily over high heat. The thicker the fish, the further away it should be from the heat source, at the risk of being burned outside and raw inside. Indirect cooking is the ideal method for fish. At the same time, it is important to avoid returning it too often:
Due to its thin flesh, it is easy to remove. On the barbecue, it is therefore better to cook the fish in a basket, an aluminium tray or rolled in an aluminium foil. In the case of firm fish fillets or steaks, you can place them directly on a pre-greased grill. For seafood, we recommend skewers: this ensures that they are cooked evenly and prevents them from falling through the grill. A word of advice: if you use two skewers instead of one, the small pieces will be even easier to turn over.
If you don’t want to use an aluminium foil, you can also roll the fish in cabbage or banana leaves. Coat them with a little oil before cooking.
The barbecue board is also a good alternative: the fish is placed on a cedar board that has to be soaked before cooking on the barbecue. The wood gives it a subtle smoky aroma. It is also possible to use a Himalayan salt stone grill board: it is perfect for fillets, steaks and seafood such as scallops and shrimp. Salt gives these delicacies a particularly intense aroma.
Those who want to enhance the taste of fish will choose aromatic herbs such as thyme, parsley, basil, fennel and peppers. Marinated fish is also excellent; as flavours, citrus fruits, garlic or spring onions are perfect. But be careful: acid pickles break down the fish’s proteins; the flesh becomes soft and disintegrates. They should therefore always be cooked in a special tray or on aluminium foil.
In general, the cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish. It is cooked when it no longer has its glassy appearance and when the edges can easily be removed. If it is a whole fish, the dorsal fin test can be done: when the fish is cooked, it can be easily removed.
Skinned fillets should first be grilled on the skin side until a thin crust forms. If the skin then retracts under the effect of heat, the fish will not curl up and the fillet remains flat.
Make your grills a success
The kitchen also takes its summer quarters and as every year from the first sunny days we are taken up by an instinctive desire to eat outside! Grilling, griddle and barbecue are in the spotlight but be careful to respect some rules.
How to choose your equipment according to your tastes
The first image that comes to mind when we talk about grilling is often meat! A Black Angus rib steak à la plancha or like here a beautiful rib of beef makes many of us salivate, however with a minimum of know-how it is possible to cook everything or almost everything, fish, seafood, vegetables… provided you choose the right equipment.
Different ways to make your grills
This grill plate is a gas- or electrically-heated, striated cast iron plate that stores heat.
Advantages: you will get a nice marking at 10:10 am and the specific taste of grilling. Fast and easy to implement.
Disadvantages: no possibility to regulate the heat so reserve it for small pieces for quick cooking such as skewers, sausages, small pieces of meat, small fish. The large parts must absolutely be finished in the oven as for the prime rib. High risk of overheating and carbonization.
This is a smooth, non-ribbed stainless steel plate heated by gas or electricity.
Advantages: it allows the cooking temperature to be regulated (from 0 to 300°C) and sometimes offers two heating zones. It is therefore possible to grill and cook at the same time. It also makes it possible to recover cooking juices through a simple de-icing process. It is easy to use and clean.
Disadvantages: you will have little or no specific grilling taste, but the flavour of the products is better highlighted. You will not get this famous marking at 10:10 am either, but a nice Maillard reaction.
It is a grid placed on a bed of embers with or without a lid. Gas or electric barbecues are more like grills.
Advantages: the most primary and yet the most complete of the outdoor cooking methods. Thanks to its lid you can grill and finalize the cooking of a large piece of meat or poultry. You will have a characteristic smoky taste and the possibility to play on the taste with marinades.
Disadvantages: the temperature is difficult to control. The development of the bbq requires preparation time. Cleaning is far from being a pleasure. However, you will not have these disadvantages with the Kamado Joe which is a special case. More than a barbecue, it is an outdoor kitchen that also acts as an oven whose temperature can be controlled and cleaning is very simple.