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Fish on the grill

Cook fish in your backyard. Grill prep starts the process.


Fire up the barbie — but, please, not for an artery-clogging beef steak. Instead, prepare fish on your backyard grill for a tasty and quite healthy meal.

Wow your family and even party guests with main courses chockfull of flavor and flair, such as barbecue salmon, fish tacos, tuna steaks, grilled tilapia and other scene-stealers.

All types of seafood can provide the thrill of the grill, say those-in-the-know. “But firmer fish such as salmon, halibut, trout, walleye, swordfish and tuna are easier to manage on a backyard grill,” points out Aleda Zink, owner of Dayton Fish Co., on North Main Street in Dayton.

“Scallops are fun and easy to grill because they are meatier and don’t fall apart,” points out Executive Chef Michelle Brown of Jag’s Steak and Seafood on West Chester Road in West Chester. “With scallops, the more caramelization the better, so don’t be afraid to use high heat.”

Great backyard seafood dishes start with proper grill prep. “Fish likes to stick to grill grates so make sure you have a clean grill to start, by heating it and using a metal brush to remove particles,” advises Matt Klum, executive chef at Jay’s Seafood Restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District.

Klum recommends using tongs to rub a hot grill down with paper towel soaked in canola or vegetable oil — but do so cautiously. “Because you’re doing this while the fire’s hot, you’ll get some flare up, but use long tongs,” he says. There’s also a Pam for Grilling spray for the less adventurous.

Keep seafood refrigerated before cooking, of course. Klum says fish does not need to be washed; just dry it off with paper towels before seasoning it and rubbing it with a little bit of olive oil. “Let the seafood sit for a few minutes before putting it on the hot grill,” he says.

“I like to marinate fish in Italian dressing or another product before grilling,” says Zink. “That helps with the sticking and adds flavor.”

How long to grill fish? Zink says the rule of thumb is 10 to 15 minutes for each inch of thickness. “Flip it just once,” she says.

“For flakier fish, such as sea bass or halibut, prepare a foil pocket with the fish, herbs, lemon and olive oil,” says Michelle Brown. “Cook it on the grill, but not on the hottest part of the grill. Keep the lid shut. Ten minutes at 450 t0 500 degrees should do it.”

TERIYAKI SALMON

4 salmon steaks (about 6 oz each), skinned, or 1 to 1.5 lbs fillet, skinned

1¼ cups soy sauce

1/3 cup sake (Japanese rice wine) or mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)

6 Tablespoons granulated sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 Tablespoon minced or grated ginger root

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. To prepare the salmon: quickly rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Divide each steak into 2 pieces by cutting along either side of the central bone and then discarding the bone; alternatively, cut the fillet into 8 equal pieces.

Place the salmon in a shallow glass or ceramic container and pour 1 cup of the marinade over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning the fish occasionally. Let the salmon come to room temperature before cooking.

Prepare grill. Remove the salmon from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Place the fish on an oiled grill rack. Position the fish 5 to 6 inches from the heat source, turning once and brushing with the reserved marinade several times, until the flesh is just opaque, 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Serve the salmon at once with reserved marinade as dipping sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Dorothy Lane Market

Fish school

Facts about fish and nutrition:

• Seafood is a great source of protein, high in heart-healthy essential Omega-3 fatty acids.

• It’s naturally low in fat, calories and carbs.

• Decades of research show that eating seafood can decrease your risk of obesity, heart attack and stroke.

• Four major health organizations including The American Heart Association recommend eating seafood twice a week.

• Americans are not eating enough seafood. We’re eating about 3.5 ounces per week, half what the USDA recommends.


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