Wednesday, August 16, 2017  

Summer Seafood Grilling


The weather is warm and that means that it is time for cooking outside. There are many reasons we like to cook outdoors, but the most important is that throwing something on the grill adds flavor that you just cannot get from the top of a stove.
We love to hear the sizzle of a steak as it hits the hot grate, and we wait in anticipation as the smells of what is to come wafts through the air. We all have our 
summer traditions that we look forward to as the warmer weather approaches. When it is time, we break out our grills, clean them off and get ready to picnic.
But what if there was so much more you could do on your grill than the traditional standbys? Hamburgers, steaks and hot dogs are wonderful, and many of us look forward to them as the warmer weather is here. But adding a new twist on your summer traditions could become as easy as throwing seafood on the grill and teaching your old grill some new tricks.
Living along the East Coast, we have access to some of the freshest seafood at many of our smaller, local grocery stores and at specialty seafood shops. Seafood is a tasty, healthy choice for grilling. Low in fat and high in protein, seafood offers the flavors of the sea without the guilt of a higher calorie entree.
By using marinades, you let the infusion of flavors begin. Using seafood opens the door to adding various fruits and vegetables to your marinated masterpiece. Wines, vinegars, lemon juice and soy sauce all open the flavors of various fruits like pineapple, apples and pears. When grilled with seafood, the combination of flavors explodes in your mouth and instantly becomes a favorite for you and your family.
There are rules for marinade success in seafood. Some marinades that contain vinegars can make shellfish tough and possibly make various types of fish become mushy. Some fish can marinade for up to an hour, but follow the rules on the recipe to be sure. Also, do not baste your seafood with used marinade during grilling. The marinade is contaminated with raw seafood juices that could make you sick. Instead, use fresh marinade to baste with.
When choosing fish for the grill, try to find fillets with the skin still attached. Allowing the fish to cook with the skin side down for as long as possible allows for the fish to maintain the juices that make it flavorful without overly drying it on the grill. Fish should be firm and become flaky as it cooks. Any skin will easily fall off once the fillet is fully cooked.
There are various tools that can be used when grilling seafood. Shrimp, scallops and the various smaller seafood choices can be frustrating on the grill because they are small enough to fall through the grates. Grill baskets and skewers are great for controlling the pieces as well as controlling the amount of heat introduced. They can be easily lifted and lowered as the heat allows.
Planks are another great way to add flavor to your favorite seafood grilling recipes. This is uncharted territory for many summer grillers. Most cookbooks do not include a “how-to” section for using bare wood to grill seafood. However, planking adds flavor that cannot be duplicated any other way. Planking is cooking a piece of food directly on a piece of hardwood. The surface of the wood touching the food during the grilling process allows the infusion of the planks natural flavors.
Planks can be purchased at many local grocery stores and come in an array of hardwood types. Each tree is as unique as the flavors it leaves behind. From Golden Alder to Black Cherry and Sugar Maple, the planks are an amazing way to add flavor. If you would prefer to make your own, be sure to choose an untreated hardwood and sand down any rough surfaces. Nothing can ruin a great dinner like a splinter.
The planks must be soaked from one hour to overnight, depending on the size and thickness of the plank. Soaking opens the flavors and keeps the plank from catching fire. You can also use apple juice or wine to soak the planks, adding additional flavors to your seafood. Using a plank with the bark still attached is a great way to add a dramatic flair to your presentation. When grilling seafood, delicate flavors from alder and cedar are recommended.
You can even shake things up by grilling your blue crab. Rather than placing them in the traditional boil, you can get a wonderful smoky flavor that can only come from using your outdoor grill. Blue crabs can be placed on the grill as a whole crab. Each side takes only 3-5 minutes and should be served immediately. After the crab has been fully grilled, you can add flavors by trying an amazing dipping sauce. See recipes.
Although learning something new can seem intimidating, here are a few simple recipe ideas that can help make your seafood grilling excursion a huge success.

Red Snapper Fillets

Courtesy of the Sandbar Restaurant

4 6 oz. red snapper fillets
2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 paprika
1/4 black pepper
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs (such as 
    rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley
Fresh herb sprigs (optional)

Cut lemon into 8 slices, place in pairs on rimmed baking sheet covered with pan spray. Grate remaining lemon to get 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Set aside. Place each filet of fish over every pair of lemon slices. Combine salt, pepper, and paprika and sprinkle on top of fish.
Bake at 425 degrees for 13 minutes until flaky.

Grilled Rockfish Packet 

Courtesy of Capt. Faunce Seafood

1 rockfish fillet
Onion slices
Old Bay seasoning
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Place fillet on foil and top with slices of onion.  Season with lemon juice, butter, Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.  Seal foil and place on medium temperature grill.  Grill until fish flakes easily (approximately 20 minutes).

Grilled Salmon

Courtesy of Car Wash Cafe

4-6 6 oz. salmon fillets
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix together well. Pour over  4 to 6  6 oz. salmon fillets. Marinade 30 minutes or more. Cook on a medium- high grill. 5 minutes on first side, 4 minutes on 2nd side. (Be sure to spray grill with a cooking spray).
Serve with your favorite sauce and fresh lemon slices.

Cedar Plank Rosemary and Lemon Salmon

Grilling salmon on a cedar plank imparts a subtle flavor while helping the fish retain its moist texture. To begin, prepare your planks according to the manufacturer’s directions.

2 large wild salmon fillets
1 tablespoon lemon zest, lemon wedges to 
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
6-8 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 cedar planks, soaked per manufacturer’s instructions

Prepare your grill for indirect heat cooking. Place your salmon fillets onto a plate or platter. In a small bowl mix the zest, oil, salt and pepper together. Rub the marinade onto the fillets and let it sit at room temperature while your grill is getting ready.
Divide the rosemary sprigs between the two soaked cedar planks. Place one salmon fillet onto each plank. Place the planks onto the grill rack on the side without direct heat, then cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the salmon is done to your liking.

Sesame Encrusted & Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks

2 ahi tuna steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 
    to taste

Wasabi Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Wasabi
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Preheat the grill to high. Mix the olive oil and sesame oil in a small basting bowl, then liberally brush the tuna steaks. Toss both black and white sesame seeds in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Press the tuna steaks into the sesame seeds, covering all sides of the fish. Mix ingredients for dipping sauce.
Grill the tuna, searing the fish on all sides for 45 seconds to 2 minutes, creating grill marks but leaving the interior of the fish medium rare.
Remove from the grill, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, slice and serve the tuna over summer greens with a side of dipping sauce.


Blue Crabs 
on the Grill

Set your grill for direct heat and a medium-high temperature, or hot enough to allow you to keep your hand just above the grill grate for approximately 3 seconds. Arrange your crab on the grill evenly, using tongs. Place the crabs on the grill, bottom side up. This allows for the crabs to fully open up and cook evenly. It also keeps the crabs from wandering away. Grill your crab for approximately three to five minutes per side. If desired, serve with one of the amazing dipping sauces listed below.


1 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. brandy
3 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 
    to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl; stir until smooth.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small fresh red Thai chiles, sliced in half vertically
16 tbsp. unsalted butter

Heat garlic and chiles in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add butter to pan; place over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted, about 3 minutes. Skim and discard film from surface. Pour clarified butter from pan over garlic and chiles, leaving milky sediment behind. Keep butter warm and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and roughly 
1⁄2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. dark red chile powder
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 (16-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, 
    to taste
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Heat olive oil and unsalted butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chile, and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in chile powder, sugar, paprika, tomatoes, plus salt and freshly ground black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly reduced, 6–8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender. Add lemon juice; purée until smooth.