July 23, 2018
Grilling fish on the barbecue can be an intimidating task, but delicate fish cooks quickly over high, direct heat, and salmon and steelhead trout in particular benefit from the slightly smoky flavour the grill imparts.
There are a few ways to keep it from sticking, even without a grill basket —start with a skin-on filet and cook it skin side down, which will make it crisp, crackling and delicious. For extra reinforcement (or if your filets have no skin), lay it or them on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, or in a cast iron skillet set directly over the heat of the grill. You could also toss a halved lemon, cut side down, directly on the grill to warm and char as the fish cooks; the lemon will then release more of its juices more easily over the fish when it’s time to eat.
Salmon and steelhead trout are oily fish, high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and are ridiculously versatile—you don’t need more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper, but fresh herbs such as dill, thyme or even cilantro are a welcome addition, and if you rummage through your spice drawer, most multi-purpose barbecue rubs are delicious rubbed over the surface of the fish. You could do this a day in advance to allow the flavour to penetrate the flesh, but it’s enough to do it as you preheat the grill—it’s real fast food.
Grilled Salmon or Steelhead Trout
Serves as many as you like.
1 (or more) salmon or steelhead trout filets, with or without skin
olive or canola oil, for drizzling (optional)
your choice of barbecue rub
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh dill, thyme, oregano, cilantro or other herbs (optional)
Preheat your grill to medium-high (or your oven to 425˚F). If you like, place your fish filet on a piece of foil, or preheat a cast iron skillet on the grill.
To prepare your fish, drizzle it with a bit of oil if you like (it’s not necessary with oily fish, but can make it easier to add seasonings) and sprinkle generously with your spice rub, salt and pepper. Rub with your fingers to coat the surface of the fish. If you like, sprinkle with sprigs of fresh dill or cilantro, or the leaves of oregano or thyme.
Place directly on the grill, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the fat starts rising to the surface and the thin edge of the fish flakes with a fork, but the thicker part of the filet is still moist. (To cook it in the oven, place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.)
When firing up the grill, it's easy to default to the usual suspects: hamburgers, chicken, pork chops or steak.
Fresh salmon is real food fast—it cooks in about ten minutes in the oven, on the stovetop or grill, and simmers quickly in soup or curries.
Cod is a lean, mild-flavoured whitefish, with dense flesh and not-too-fragile fillets that are easier to handle in a skillet without falling apart.