One of the most exciting aspects of living near a body of water, be it a river, lake, or ocean, is the ability to have fresh seafood, any time of the year. Whether you’ve gone out on the water to catch your own or leave it to the pros, you only need the freshest seafood available in your backyard when it is time to grill. The difference between fresh, frozen, or store-bought seafood is enormous, and can even change your guests’ and family’s perception of seafood in general. If you’ve never experienced the freshness of seafood directly from the water, you’re also in for something truly exciting. It is pretty incredible how big of a difference there is in the taste, but it is certainly an unexpected, but cherished treat.
Different kinds of seafood that can be caught in rivers, lakes, and oceans, and their preparation for grilling depends on your personal preference and the type of seafood you have caught. If you are not near a body of water that enables you to catch your seafood and place it on the grill, consider reaching out to a farmers market or other natural seafood supplier. It is worth the extra effort, guaranteed because the taste is simply out of this world.
Types of Seafood to Grill
Several different types of seafood can be grilled and enjoyed. In general, fresh river fish can be cooked on the grill with minimal processing. They can be bony, but the bones are attached to the spine and do not usually require extensive work to remove after gutting. Due to the fast-flowing water, they tend to be lean and muscular, with a light flavor. Fish, such as trout, can be lightly buttered and seasoned, typically with a mixture of aromatic spices and garlic, or possibly with some caramelized onion.
Some exceptions to this are fatty river fishes of the North, such as salmon, which can be grilled slowly over a lower heat to allow the fat to flavor the meat. These can be grilled with a crust of peppers or breading and are relatively insensitive to over-cooking. This type of fish is a delicious choice for guests who do not typically care for fish. In cooking these fish, using an open flame on a charcoal grill can enhance the natural flavor of the fish.
Lake fish can be prepared similarly, but fish, such as bass and carp, require more care with bones. One simple, typical way to prepare lake fish is to gut, scale, and clean them, and then grill them on a sheet of foil over either a charcoal or gas flame. The marinade for these fish can be as simple as a mixture of butter, onion, garlic, and salt, or as complex as a mixture of hoisin, soy, ginger, scallions, garlic, and lemon, depending on your tastes.
Ocean fish are the most diverse group, ranging from the bony flounder to the meaty tuna. The techniques for grilling these fish can vary. For example, flounder can be prepared similarly to the lake bass, while tuna are typically prepared more similarly to steak. In the case of tuna, the surface can be coated with an umami rub with sesame, black pepper, cayenne, or other seasonings. Then sear it directly over a flame and high heat just to bronze the surface. These can be served as is or with a sauce, and can be made to accompany any vegetable or starch dish.
More than Fish
Although fish is one of the best seafood choices for grilling, it is certainly not the only option that you have. Let your imagination soar and enjoy the delicious concoctions that you create. A few other seafood items that you might consider placing on the grill includes scallops, lobster, shrimp, oysters, and clams. These items can be grilled by preparing the seafood minimally and cooking over medium heat for a short period for a new spin on the seafood favorites that you love. A bit of butter and olive oil are the only items that you need when preparing these seafood greats. Their natural flavors hit full throttle when they are prepared on the grill.
An Unforgettable Grilling Experience
When you are grilling out this summer, make sure that you include a variety of seafood options in the fun. As you can see by the list above, the possibilities are endless, and you’ll love the delicious foods that result. Use fresh fish from the water and you will create a dish that no one can resist. Fresh seafood is absolutely delicious- flavorful and enticing, and can be cooked to sheer perfection on the grill. Use the various cooking techniques listed above, experiment with different types of seafood, and plan for an unforgettable summer with many new favorite foods added to your list.