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Fish & Seafood: Fresh From The Water To The Grill

Barbecued salmon, fried potatoes and vegetables on wooden background

Even if fish and seafood are no longer a rarity on the grill, the correct preparation definitely needs to be learned. Overcooking these fine ingredients in particular often leads to poor results: fish fillets that end up on the plate much too dry, and prawns and mussels that come across as very rubbery.

The protein structure of fish and seafood is very different from that of meat, so even preparing it in parallel in the “surf and turf” style becomes a risk. In addition, fish with skin, in particular, tend to stick to the grill grate or simply fall apart when turned. The result of such barbecue escapades rarely looks like the food that was originally put on the grill.

Read also: Discover Food Options for a Healthier You

However, if you take a closer look at grilling fish and seafood, you will quickly realize that the methods of preparation are extremely varied and the level of difficulty is not too much for you. Whether fish on the smoking board or scampi from the salt plank, whether smoked whole or cooked on a skewer: Seafood and fish are a real enrichment for every barbecue lover and they are now also available frozen in good quality.

Barbecued salmon, fried potatoes and vegetables on wooden background

Fish: fine and varied flavors for the grill

The flavor spectrum of fish is extremely large but can be divided into two groups for better differentiation: High-fat fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon differ significantly in their more intense taste from lean, white-fleshed, and rather mild fish such as cod, sole, and Monkfish.

For the preparation, this means that the more fatty fish is combined less strongly with intensive spices or ingredients. You like to let the aroma speak for itself and possible herbs or spices should rather provide lightness. Traditionally, lemon or lime juice makes an almost mandatory contribution. But please do not put it on the fish until after it has been grilled, otherwise, the acid would already pre-cook the raw fish. Also good: simply grill the lemon or lime and then spread the warm juice over the fish.

With white-fleshed fish, on the other hand, the combination with aromatic ingredients is recommended. Dill is a true classic here, but aniseed and tarragon are also excellent. And even bacon – think of the “Finkenwerder Plaice” – is a great addition to mild fish.

When it comes to buying fish, you should not only buy fresh quality like vegetables but if possible choose a fish that is in season. Because not every fish is available at all times (in the best quality) – just think of the May plaice or the winter cod.

And another tip: To prepare a whole fish on the grill, we recommend a special fish basket. With it on the grill, skin sticking to the grate is a thing of the past.

Seafood: scampi, mussels, and co.

It is not uncommon for not only whole fish or fish fillets to be grilled on a barbecue evening, but also seafood. In addition, “surf and turf” is very much in vogue, so steak and scampi, for example, find each other in true harmony on the grill. A brief explanation of this English term: “Surf” obviously stands for the seafood from the water and “Turf” stands for the piece of meadow on which a (grazing) animal grazes.

However, seafood prepared “on its own” also opens up an incredible range of tasty ingredients. Shrimp is certainly the best-known representative on the grill. Rightly so, because black tiger prawns in particular are a treat for the palate. Fully cooked and previously marinated with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, they make a simple but amazingly delicious grill dish.

But also prawns or – particularly noble – lobster tails can be prepared much more deliciously on the grill than on the stove. The grilled taste seems made for these animals. And now scallops and oysters are also finding their way onto the grill. There are no limits to creativity when it comes to spices and marinades. You can go the classic Mediterranean, but Asian flavors also go well with seafood.

How about grilled shrimp in sweet chili sauce, for example? To do this, simply stick the five to seven prawns as tightly as possible on a skewer and brush them with sweet chili sauce (now available in every supermarket) and leave them to marinate for half an hour. Then cook over direct, high heat with the lid closed for two to four minutes, turning once. When they are firm on the outside and the flesh is no longer translucent, they are done. Garnish with some sesame oil and fresh coriander if desired. Also, refined with a little lime juice for the necessary “acid kick”. Extremely easy. Extremely tasty.

Final thoughts

Fish and seafood are not just for grilling. Many people also like to eat it raw. That’s why it is always important to buy fresh, live seafood as much as possible. As part of the 2022 complete foodie guide, in Holbox Mexico, you can be sure that the seafood you ordered is fresh at Maria Carmita Raw Bar. The bar features live tanks that house fresh seafood for the picking. Their menu is very simple. You can choose from their wide array of seafood platters too.