Roma’s Guide to Grilling Fish

It’s officially summer— and it’s high time you brought some fresh surf onto your turf. We’re here to help you become a master at grilling fish; a feat that might sound daunting. Fish isn’t known for being “easy” to grill, but with our tips on how to grill and, most importantly, WHAT to grill, you’ll be planning cookouts with everyone you know to show off.

It’s important to note that not all fishes are created equal, especially when it comes to grilling. While everything might sound delicious or look similar at the store, it doesn’t cook or taste the same once you’ve fired up the grill. The last thing you want is that beautiful piece of mahi mahi crumbling through the rack of your grill, fueling the flames instead of your eager stomach. Here are the top five types of fish we recommend when it comes to throwing (read: placing with care) onto the preheated grate; and while they all play nicely with a variety of flavors, we’ve picked a few just to give you some mealtime inspiration:

Swordfish: A good “in-between” flavor on the mild to fishy scale, swordfish steaks are absolutely divine. Acidic tones only enhance the flavor, and it is summer, after all— smother with a basil-packed pesto to indulge in all the freshness the world has to offer.

Tuna: Not the “in the can” kind. Tuna steaks are hearty and hardy. They’re extremely flavorful on their own, but if you want to get a little jazzy, we recommend glazing with a mix of ginger, soy sauce and green onion.

Salmon: While this tasty fish is now common in households throughout the U.S. year-round in frozen form, there is nothing better than a fresh salmon fillet. The stronger flavor of salmon pairs nicely with a lemon and dill sauce.

Mahi mahi: Hailing its name from Hawaii, this tropical white fish has a mild, semi-sweet flavor and pairs well with other tropical delicacies. Compliment with a Thai coconut sauce.

Red snapper: A less well-known fish in our neck of the woods, red snapper fillets have a relatively mild flavor; comparable to salmon, but slightly sweeter. Pair with a mango salsa to enhance the sweetness in the best way.

So you’ve picked your grilling fish, found a recipe, and now you’re ready for your time in the sun (and we mean that both literally and metaphorically). Before you get started, here are a few tips to help you ace this grilling challenge, whether it’s your first attempt or your five-hundredth:

  • Make sure the fillets or steaks are thick and hardy enough that they won’t fall through the grate when they start cooking.
  • Clean the grate really, really well before you fire up the grill so that the fish won’t stick.
  • Preheat the grill to high— the higher temperature will keep the fish from sticking (fish cooks quickly).
  • Oil BOTH the fish and the grate before you grill.
  • The long-standing rule of thumb for grilling fillets and steaks (which is usually the cut you’ll grill when it comes to fish) is 8-10 minutes for every inch of thickness. Cook for a tad longer on the first side, and only flip once.
  • Grill with the lid down to lock in moisture and flavor.

TASTY TIP: Enhance the flavor of any fish on a charcoal grill by adding wood chips into the charcoal. Soak the wood chips in water, wine, or another liquid of your choice for about 30 minutes just before grilling; place the chips in the charcoal, and grill as normal! They’ll come out with a nice, smoky flavor.

Good luck, happy grilling, and don’t forget about Roma Foods when you’re hailed the next Grill Master!

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