Grilled seafood is so versatile. It’s the perfect addition to pasta (mmm…shrimp over lemony angel hair) and it’s a great way to add a bit of oomph to a colorful salad. And, one of the great things about grilling seafood is that it cooks quickly so you can prepare summer suppers in a flash! Read on for some tips and favorite recipes to help spark your creativity with seafood on the grill. Tips for grilling fish:
- Oil fish well with a neutral-flavored oil such as canola to help keep it moist.
- Fish cooks quickly using the direct heat method. Remove it from the grill as soon as it's done; it will continue to cook once it has been removed from the fire.
- Once you put fish on the grill, don't touch it for at least three minutes. A crust needs to form on the outside, which will allow the fish to naturally pull away from the grates. Once the crust has formed, it can be flipped over without sticking or falling apart.
- Thin pieces of fish can be wrapped in cornhusks, banana leaves or grape leaves and then placed on the grill, or foil can be used for a similar effect.
- Placing fish on cedar planks when grilling imparts a subtle woodsy flavor (cedar is the most common type, but try different woods for slightly different flavors). Soak the plank in water for at least an hour prior to grilling to prevent it from catching on fire. Most fish fillets will cook on a cedar plank, without turning, in about 20 minutes.
- Fish is naturally tender and should not sit in an acid-based marinade (like lemon juice) for longer than 20 minutes, or it will start to "cook" the fish, turning it mushy.
- Choose jumbo varieties, which are easier to handle. These can also be butterflied (leave the tail intact when shelling, then slice along the back of the shrimp without cutting all the way through).
- Shrimp should be marinated (with or without the shells) or brushed lightly with oil.
- Cook shrimp until it turns pink, about 5-7 minutes. Turn it halfway through cooking. Take care not to overcook or it will become tough.
- When done, shrimp should be pink and the flesh should turn opaque white.
- An oiled grill basket is a great tool for containing shrimp so it doesn't slip between the grates. Skewers work well too.