The one thing I find about grilling fish and seafood is that the flavor is often so wonderful that a sauce is not even necessary. But a sauce will add dimension so we’ll talk about a couple. Fish and seafood are so flexible that a sauce you like on one will most likely work on the next one. This is a good thing.
Fish is healthy, low in calories and cholesterol and high in protein. My wife reminds me that some people call it “Brain Food” and suggests that I pick some up when I do the weekly shopping. She loves me I think!
So, let’s "Take our fish and seafood “Off of the Stove and onto the Grill”
Checking for Freshness and Quality of Fish:
The flesh should be firm so that when pressed with your finger, it doesn’t leave an indentation or mark.
The eyes should be clear and plump, not cloudy, dull or sunken.
The fish should not have a strong “fishy” odor. It should have a clean aroma akin to fresh seaweed or I’ve even heard of it referred to as a cucumber-like smell.
Look for bright red gills. Grey or yellow is a sign of loss of freshness. If the skin is on, it should be firm and elastic.
The gut cavity should be clear of blood, have no cuts into the meat, and the bones should not be torn from the flesh or easily torn away.
Fish should always be packed in ice. Check the temperature. No matter what the season, or time of year, fish should arrive at 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get your fish at the busiest fish store you can find. Chances are it will be freshest from there. Use the guidelines above. Buy it as close to when you’ll use it as possible and figure 7-8 ounce per person on boneless fillets and steaks. For whole fish that you will clean or cook whole, plan on one pound per person. Frozen fish should always be thawed in your refrigerator overnight.
I hesitate to recommend cooking times for fish or any other product on a grill. The reason for this is that every grill cooks differently, so my time on my Weber gas grill will be different than your charcoal grill of Hibachi.
But I’m going to give you a guideline anyway, because overcooked fish and seafood is basically “Cat Food” in my opinion! Here goes! These guidelines are based on direct heat cooking over a medium grill. See, confusing already!
Small Whole Fish will need about 7 minutes on each side. A little longer if stuffed.
Large Whole Fish will need about 15 minutes per side, again longer if it is very large or stuffed.
Fillets (like salmon) will need about 6-8 minutes per side, Trout fillets may only need 4 minutes per side.
Steaks (like halibut or salmon) usually need about 5 minutes per side.
Kabobs are usually cut into chunks a little over an inch thick and will need about 12 minutes turning often.
Remember Please: These are just guidelines to use in planning your meal. Every grill is different and will produce different results. Oh yeah! Remember to always cook fish and seafood like shrimp on a cleanly scrapped grill that has been brushed with a little oil or fat. Do not “Dry Weld” your fish to a filthy grill!
Cook fish on an oiled grill skin side down for the first part of the cooking time. The skin protects the fish from burning and drying out. It also can provide natural oils to your grill, so when you flip the fish it doesn’t stick.