Nina’s Tips & Techniques Grillmaster Series: Fish

grilled salmon

When I try to grill fish it sticks to the bars and then falls through. What am I doing wrong?
There is one major reason why food sticks to pans, grills, etc. —HEAT. In nearly every case, fish sticks to a grill because the grill is not hot enough. More forgiving foods, like meat, usually release themselves from the grill bars after 5-10 minutes of cooking, but since fish cooks rather quickly you have to have your grill at a super-high temp to ensure an easy release. Here are some simple rules for cooking fish on the grill:
Get your grill hot, and I mean REALLY hot. Turn it on high and let it run for at least 20-30 minutes, covered, before trying to use it. If you have a grill with cast iron bars, wait until they turn almost white – this is a sign that they are hot and ready! If your grill has no cover try covering the grill bars with a sheet pan—this keeps some heat in and helps get the bars of the grill hot before you cook on them.
Pat your fish dry before grilling it and then make sure it is coated with oil.
Use a flexible spatula to turn your fish and slide it under the fish in the same direction that the grill bars are running. This way if you get any sticking the spatula will easily release the fish instead of tearing it.

I’ve seen people line the grill with foil; should I do that?
If you follow the rules above I don’t think it’s necessary. Plus, by covering your grill with foil you prevent smoke and flame from making contact with your fish and then you don’t get that super tasty grill flavor you are going for! Stick to good technique and you won’t need Band-Aid solutions, like foil.

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Shaved Spring Asparagus and Creamy Goat Cheese