South Park Magazine

The fundamentals of fish grilling

Most people are intimidated about grilling fish - rightly so if you don’t know the fundamentals.Just as little league baseball players learn how to run to first, use both hands when catching a ball and the proper technique to steal a base, before grilling fish you need to know the basics.

--Always preheat and clean grilling surface - lightly oil grates with cooking oil.--Remove refrigerated proteins 30 minutes prior to grilling – this ensures even cooking.--Pat fish dry before seasoning – moisture starts a steaming process instead of a char.--Lightly oil-use a brush or your fingers to lightly coat fish with oil - too much oil will cause flareups.--Season one side generously-season flesh side liberally, this will create a nice crust.--Learn your grill's hot spots – after preheating, white spots will appear on the grill grates.--Grill flesh side first - this will be the presentation side, a long first sear creates great grilling marks.--Let grilling fish lieit will naturally release itself, don’t force it.--When it's white it’s right - when the edges of the fish turn white around the sides, its ready to flip.--Flip using a flat metal spatula - this will help support the delicate fish and slide under easy.--Serve grilled fish immediately - unlike meat products that need to rest, fish is better served right off the grill because its cools much faster than other cooked proteins.

Now that you know the fundamentals for grilling fish, start building your “grilling confidence” with this basic grilled salmon recipe, and the salsa will give you practice grilling vegetables.

Grilled Salmon with Red Pepper & Onion Balsamic Salsa

Serves 4

Salmon:

-- 4-8 Ounce Salmon Filets-skin on or off, portioned into steaks

-- To Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-- To Taste Kosher Salt

-- To Taste Black Pepper

Salsa:

--To Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil-plus extra for salsa

--1 Cup Red Onion-sliced into thick rings, about 1/2 of a large onion

--1 Each Red Bell Pepper-large

--3-6 Each Sun Dried Tomatoes-packed in oil, thin sliced

--1 Tablespoon Sun Dried Tomato Oil-reserved from jar

-- 1/2 Cup Black Olives-rough chopped

--3 to 4 Leaves Basil Leaves-rough chopped

--1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt-plus extra to season onions

-- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper-plus extra to season onions

-- 3 to 5 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar-start with a little, add to taste

To Make the Salsa:

Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to high heat. Drizzle onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides, place on grill to char, about 4 minutes per side. Place red pepper on grill to char the outside and to slightly soften the flesh of the pepper. For this salsa I do not roasted the pepper for very long, as I would if I were going to peel of the outer skin, just try to lightly char the outside and warm the flesh of the pepper. Remove both onions and peppers and let cool enough to handle. Grill should maintain direct grilling high heat to cook the salmon.While the vegetables are cooling, place the sun dried tomatoes, sun dried tomato oil, black olives, basil, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Next rough chop the onions and place in the bowl with the other ingredients. Cut off sides of pepper leaving the steam and seeds to be discarded, rough chop and add to the salsa. Add the balsamic vinegar to taste, a little at a time, if salsa is too dry drizzle in a little olive oil until it reaches the consistency desired.

To Grill the Salmon:

Drizzle both sides of the salmon with olive oil, season generously and place on the grill flesh side down, do not touch salmon until outer surface of the salmon filets turns white around the edges, about 7 to 8 minutes. Flip once and cook another 5 to 6 minutes on other side. Remove from the grill, place on a large serving platter leaving the center of the platter empty, next top each piece of salmon with a little of the salsa and place the remaining salsa in the center of the salmon pieces, garnish with extra basil and lemon wedges.

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