[Editor’s Note: More about how to grill fish in a moment. First, a word on entertaining.] Lately, it seems, cooking has become very complicated. Brine this. Marinate that. Make a sauce that takes 3 days. It seems like you have to take a week off to throw a dinner party.
We want to dial it back, to get out from under the yoke of complex formulations and intricate preparations. We want to take you back out to the grill, where cooking can be spontaneous and the food can be easy. Because one of the best things about grilling is that it is a supremely simple process. In addition to being simple, grilling should be easy. We hope to remind those of you who already know, and show those who don’t, that big flavor does not need to be the result of big effort.–Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
LC Ichthyophobia Note
We know that lotsa folks fear fish. (It’s a thing, the fear of fish. It’s known as Ichthyophobia. And no, we can’t pronounce it.) Actually, we think it’s not the fish themselves lotsa folks fear, it’s the cooking of said fish. The tricky part is, although the fear of cooking fish is understandable, it’s unwarranted. (Unless we’re talking piranha, in which case fear is a useful and evolutionarily savvy response.) But when cooking fish, there’s nothing to fear, not when you have a simple and reliable-to-the-point-of-foolproof cooking technique for fish fillets such as the one that follows. Go on. Try it and let us know if it lowers your fear factor—and your blood pressure. Our only caveat is that this is less a recipe than a technique. As such, the timing and temperature and instructions are impeccable, but there’s not much in the way of seasoning. Feel free to fancy up your fish fillets with a squeeze of lemon or lime, a spice rub, a salsa, maybe even a fruit relish of some sort. Or leave it plain. As you wish.
How to Grill Fish Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 25 M
- Serves 4
- 4 fish fillets or steaks (6 to 8 ounces each and similar thickness), such as salmon, mahimahi, bluefish, or halibut
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1. Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash, and the temperature is medium (which means you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 4 to 5 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
- 2. Rub the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Put the fillets on a fish tray or in a fish basket on the grill rack, situating them directly over the coals. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes on the first side. Carefully flip the fillets and cook until the fish is opaque throughout, 3 to 8 minutes on the second side. The exact timing will depend on the thickness of the fillets. To check for doneness, make a small cut in the thickest part of one of the fillets and peek in to be sure it’s just opaque all the way through. If the fish isn’t cooked through, transfer it to the side of the grill that’s free of coals until it is opaque throughout. When the fish is done, use a spatula to transfer it to a baking sheet and transfer it to individual plates. Serve at once.
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How to Grill Fish Recipe © 2014 Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Photo © 2014 Ed Anderson. All rights reserved.
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