Grilled

Grilled

By
Nathan Outlaw
Contains
6 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493727
Photographer
David Loftus

Other than pan-frying, grilling is probably the most popular way to cook fish. It takes little effort, after all, to pop a fish under the grill and there is nothing wrong with an easy option – some of the best seafood I’ve eaten and cooked has been grilled. However, it is vital to keep a close eye on your fish when it’s under the grill, so that you can adjust the heat – or move the grill pan up or down – to slow down or increase the heat as you wish. In the restaurant kitchens we use salamander grills, which offer precise cooking control. If you grill a lot, you might want to consider investing in one of these – they are great to use.

Long before the invention of gas and electric grills, fish was grilled over wood or coals – as, of course, it is on a barbecue today, but I deal with that technique in the next chapter.

Before you start, it is important to heat the grill to the correct temperature for cooking. If you don’t preheat your grill the skin won’t colour and lightly crisp before the fish is cooked through and you’ll be disappointed with the result.

Generally, a medium to medium-high heat is used, depending on the thickness and density of the fish you are cooking. For example, mackerel can handle a fairly high heat, whereas bass needs a medium heat to ensure that it cooks through to the middle before overcooking on the outside.

Size is an important consideration when you are grilling fish. A large fish will dry out on the outside before it is cooked through, so I rarely grill a whole fish that weighs more than 1 kg. Filleted portions can be grilled successfully provided they are of a reasonably even thickness.

For me, it is pretty essential to grill fish with the skin on. The skin protects the delicate flesh from the intense heat and it is delicious to eat as it acquires a delicate crispness and slightly caramelised flavour under the grill.

I suggest you use a really strong grill tray that doesn’t buckle under the heat, and oil it lightly before you add the fish. I have a favourite sturdy tray for grilling my fish, which works a treat.

I always oil and season the fish before putting it under the grill too – this helps to prevent the fish sticking to the tray. Remember that the tray remains very hot when you remove it from the heat source and will continue to cook the fish. If the fish is ready, you will need to transfer it to a warm plate or platter straight away. I normally take it from under the grill when the fish is almost there and use the heat of the tray to finish the cooking while I plate up everything else.

Best seafood fish for grilling

Scallops, bream (all types), dab, small gurnard, haddock, smaller John Dory, lobster, mackerel, megrim, witch, smaller plaice, Dover sole, lemon sole, prawns, red mullet, razor clams, sardines, queenie scallops, scampi.

Accompaniments and garnishes

Garlic and parsley dressing, Green sauce, seaweed butter, red pepper and saffron dressing, parsley and mustard mash, char-grilled courgettes.

Recipes in this Chapter

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