How-To Grill Fish

Girl's Guide To GrillingGirl's Guide To Grilling

Cooking lobster, clams, mussels and more. WH's guide to making perfect grilled fish.


Pick the Right Kind
Salmon, tuna, and swordfish steaks are easiest to prepare because they're thick and compact with less tendency to crumble. They also have more fat than other kinds of fish - good for grilling "because their fat prevents them from drying out," Raichlen says.

Buy Fish Thats Good For The Earth And You

Before You Grill
When it comes to fish, less is more. "There's no need to overpower expensive cuts with strong marinades," says Hinnerk von Bargen, associate professor at the Culinary Institute of America. A little salt, pepper, and lemon juice can be all the flavor you need. If you do use a marinade, brush the fish with any extra only during the last few minutes of grilling - the marinade will caramelize without burning, von Bargen says.

The Heat Is On
Invest in a fish basket. This tool is useful for flimsy whitefish like flounder because it keeps everything intact when turning. Regardless of your fish choice, you'll know it's cooked perfectly when it's semi-opaque throughout. Insert a knife in the thickest part and turn it slightly to get a good look inside. If the fish looks translucent in the center, give it a minute or two more - any longer and the fish will dry out and fall apart.

Grilling Gaffe
Set your delicate seafood on a dry grill - and you'll serve your guests a chunky disaster. Before the fish leaves the kitchen, coat the grill liberally with nonstick cooking spray (before you light the coals, natch) and make sure the grill itself is already fired and ready to go.

Safety First
It's pretty easy to tell when fish is done, but if you want to double-check, make sure it's at 145. Also, be wary of small bones that can linger in the fillet. "Luckily, for some fish like salmon, the bones will pop out slightly when you cook them, and you can just pull them out," says Bruce Cole, editor of Edible San Francisco, afood newsletter.

Shellfish Cooking Tricks

Extra Credit
"Soak an untreated cedar plank inwater for about half an hour and place the fish on top of it to cook. This way the fish is infused with its smoke flavoring," Cole says. "Afterward you can bring the fish and plank right to the table, making a lovely presentation."

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