Adding seafood to your diet is even easier in the summer because fresh fish is plentiful and the grill makes it easy cook in a flash. Here’s a simple guide to getting the best flavor and texture from your fresh seafood.
Fish – Pat the fish dry and season. Add a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic after cooking. Marinating fish before cooking makes it more likely to fall apart. Heat grill to medium-high heat, then oil it thoroughly and lower it to medium just before adding the fish. If your fish has skin, oil the skinless side well, sear it for 2 minutes then gently flip and allow the skinned side to take the heat as it finishes cooking. You only need to flip fish once – multiple turns makes it more likely to dry out. Cook fish 10 minutes for every inch – if it’s 1/2” thick, cook for 2 minutes, flip and finish for 3. When you’re taking the fish off the grill, gently separate it from the grill grates – if it has skin, use a thin metal spatula and slide it between the skin and filet. It should lift off, leaving the skin behind. Allow the fish to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Shrimp – When you’re grilling shrimp, get the largest shrimp you can find. Leaving the shells on keeps them from drying out, but if yours are cleaned, be sure to oil them well. A grill basket for smaller shrimp makes it easier stop them from falling through the grates. Shrimp cook very quickly – the shells will look bright pink and the flesh will look opaque when they’re done. Large shrimp cook in about 5 minutes, smaller shrimp cook in a flash, so don’t leave your grill unattended. You can season them and marinate them before OR after you grill them, but after imparts a stronger flavor – when you take them off the grill toss them in your fresh marinade and serve. Toss them with pasta if they’re shelled, or serve atop and let your guest peel them as they eat.
Mussels & Clams – These guys do all the work for you. Pick through them, choosing only the ones that are still closed, scrub them, toss them on the grill and close the lid. Peek after about 2-3 minutes, and remove them as they open. It’s that easy. Don’t serve any that don’t open after 5-6 minutes – they probably weren’t fresh. You can drizzle them with olive oil and fresh herbs or lemon. Serve with flavored butter – like paprika, celery seeds and cayenne, rosemary and parsley or chili powder. Put an empty bowl out for shells and dig in!
Lobster – Grilling lobster is a great way to get the most flavor! By not introducing additional water, the flavor is intensified and the resulting texture is tender and moist. Split the lobster lengthwise, starting behind the eyes, then flip and cut in half from the underside. Clean the yellow-green tomalley and break off the claws to cook them separately. Grill on a medium-hot grill, flesh-side down for about 4 minutes, then flip, season with butter, herbs, and garlic, then close the lid and grill until firm – about 5 more minutes.
Fish – 10 min./1” thickness
Shrimp – 5 -6 minutes, until the shells are bright pink and flesh is opaque
Mussels & Clams – 3-5 minutes, until shells open
Lobster – 10 minutes, until flesh is firm
There is a lot of information about which types of seafood are safe to eat, and there are also concerns about sustainability. For the most part, the seafood you purchase from a grocery store or fish market will be safe, but it’s important to know about safe handling and potential health hazards. This guide will help you make the healthiest choices.
Try Something New Tonight!
Adding fresh, grilled seafood to pasta is a great way to eat light! You can try something with a kick, like Spicy Linguine with Shrimp, grill extra salmon for a Salmon Pasta Salad, or Penne Primavera with Shrimp. Cook something different tonight and you may find a new favorite recipe!