Grilling Fish

Quick and Easy Tips for Grilling Fish

Here's a fresh idea to entertain guests with this summer: Grill something delicious and fresh from the sea! Grilling fish is a nearly effortless way to turn your Sonoma meal into a festive event — and enjoy a beautiful summer evening while you're at it. If your past attempts at grilling fish failed because it stuck to the grill or fell apart while you were trying to cook it, try these simple tips to ensure appetizing results at your next cookout.

Choose Fish Steaks Over Fillets 
Fillets are harder to grill because they are cut parallel to the bone, which makes them flakier and more delicate. Fish steaks, which are crosscut, are less likely to fall apart. Tuna, swordfish, halibut, and salmon make wonderful steaks. If it's available, take advantage of wild salmon like Copper River Salmon, native to the Pacific Northwest and in season during these summer months. It makes for delicious steaks that are easy to grill — you won't want to miss out!

Steps for Grilling Fish

  1. Clean and oil the grates on the grill (Find out how in Grilling 101).
  2. Choose fish steaks no less than one inch thick, and no thicker than one and a quarter inches. This thickness allows the steaks to cook evenly but retain their moisture.
  3. Season on both sides of the fish steak with kosher salt and ground black pepper to bring out its natural flavors. If you'd like to add more exotic flavors, there are endless possibilities when it comes to spice rubs, marinades, and dressings to accompany your grilled fish.
  4. Give the fish enough time to develop grill marks on one side before you turn it over. If the meat sticks to the grill, you've turned the fish too soon. A thin spatula can be helpful for lifting the meat cleanly off the grill. You could also try using fish grates — they hold the fish together as you turn it over — to put an end to that pesky sticking.

Get Creative: Plan Future Fish Meals 
Grilled fish can be a fantastic addition to a salad the following day. Flake the fish the way you might separate canned tuna and mix it with your favorite veggies, pasta, and dressing. Try grilled fish in a sandwich with a flavorful spread such as pesto, herbed mustard, or spicy chutney. Or, try one of my all-time favorites: fish tacos prepared with a fresh salsa, cilantro, and lime.