There´s Nothing Fishy about Barbecuing with Seafood
One of the healthiest foods around has to be fish. It´s packed full of vitamins and minerals and doesn´t have the same bad press when it comes to saturated fats and cancer like red meat does. There was a worry for a while about mercury levels in tuna and salmon but we have been informed the ‘powers that be’ are getting on top of that. Fish is also a brilliant food to cook at a barbecue – particularly when you´re on the beach.
So what are the best ways to cook fish at a BBQ?
Firstly the best type of fish to grill are those which aren´t going to fall apart the minute you lay them down on the barbecue. Fish that fit the bill in this respect is salmon, cod, shrimp and monkfish. Others are lovely thick tuna and swordfish steaks (incidentally fillets tend to fall apart more easily than steaks).
In order to ensure the fish doesn´t stick to the grill make sure there´s no food stuffs from last time lying around. Not only is this unhygenic but it´ll make your fish fall apart when you go to lift it from the grill plate. Another way to ensure it doesn´t stick is to oil it all over.
Just like cooking meats, the barbecue has to be warm enough to cook the fish thoroughly so that it´s edible right through.
Try to avoid prodding the fish on a regular basis. We know, it´s difficult, but it´s going to loosen it up and make it far more liable to fall apart. When you turn it over, as you inevitably will, it´s best to do so using a wide spatula which will take the weight of the whole fish.
Delicate fish (ie those which are likely to fall apart when picked up) can be laid in a fish basket and placed on the grill making them very easy to turn over. For the same effect (ie easy turning) you could also try lining your grill with silver foil.
Fish kebabs can be cooked over direct heat but whole fish has to be barbecued over indirect heat (to ensure thorough cooking as mentioned above).
Other tips for barbecuing fish
- It´s a good idea not to salt the fish prior to grilling. All this will do is remove the moisture from the fish and cause it to taste rather dry. If it does seem dry get a fresh lemon, cut it in half and brush lemon juice onto the fish. Melted butter has the same effect although this tends to burn easily.
- The fresher the fish the tastier the meal will be. If you´re lucky enough to be based near a harbour try and get that day´s catch if possible.
- If using flavoured butters to season fish then cook in tinfoil to ensure the juices don´t escape onto the grill.
- Shellfish are far easier and quicker to cook than whole fish and taste better if they are left in the shells (allowing the juice to mingle with the flesh).
- Use a gas barbecue for speedy cooking.
However you barbecue your fish, provided you cook the flesh throughout, we´re sure it´ll be a big success and, unlike certain meats, won´t take all night!