Seafood on the grill

The 4th of July weekend is staring us full in the face.  Across the land people are planning their picnics and cookouts.

While others may be thinking about chicken, pork, or beef for the grill I’m still in the throes of a seafood obsession.   For those of us located near the coast and a ready supply of fin and shell fish, there are many easy and tasty ways to prepare seafood on the grill.

I’ve already written about charbroiled oysters.

Off the grill and ready to serve

But that is just the beginning.

Many enjoy clams either raw on the half shell or steamed during their summertime picnics.  Why not take some of those well scrubbed steamers and pop them on a hot grill just until they open (approximately 5 minutes, depending upon size).  Put a half dozen or so in a shallow bowl and serve with your favorite hot sauce, some melted butter and or a squeeze of lemon.  Don’t forget the bread to sop up the juices that have collected in the bowl.

Crabs are another summer season delight, but preparing and then picking a bunch of blue claws can be tedious.  Why not grill up a soft-shell or two instead?

Readily available in most seafood markets, soft shells are easily cleaned: snip off the “face” by making a shallow triangular cut spanning the eyes and mouth; remove the apron from the underside; and lift the points of the top shell and remove the lungs from either side of the crab.  That’s all there is to it, but if you want to view a video on the procedure check here. If you are squeamish or unsure about this ask your fishmonger to clean them for you.

Once cleaned and ready to cook, pre-heat your grill.  Brush your crabs with a mixture of olive oil and herbs or softened butter mixed with garlic and herbs and place on the hot grill.  Cook about 4 minutes and then carefully flip and cook another 4 minutes or so.  Remove from grill and serve.  You can eat these as is, dress with tartar or cocktail sauce, serve alongside a fruit and chili pepper salsa or use them in a sandwich.

Crab cakes and soft shell right off the grill

If you’re a crab lover who is not interested in eating the whole beast, make your favorite crab cake recipe and grill them over medium heat instead of frying them.

Calamari lovers can also bypass the frying pan and grill the little critters.  I’ve not tried this yet, but rest assured I will have done it before the summer is out.

 Of course, shrimp can be grilled up for a tasty treat.  One of our favorites is to toss cleaned and peeled jumbo (21-25 per pound) un-cooked shrimp with some olive oil, salt, pepper and a splash of Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce. Skewer them and place on a medium hot grill for 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from heat, dress with a little squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve.  (Black beans and yellow rice are a perfect accompaniment).

 Even the venerable lobster can be prepared on the grill.

  1. Parboil two lobsters, 1 ½ to 2 pounds each in a large pot containing about two gallons of boiling water for about six minutes.
  2. Remove from pot and drain.
  3. Place lobster upside down on cutting board.  Starting from the tail and working towards the head, cut the lobster in half.
  4. Cut a slit in the claw on the side of the shell that will face up during cooking.
  5. Place lobsters shell side down on a grill pre-heated to medium.
  6. Baste lobsters with melted butter or oil.  You can flavor either of these with herbs and spices of your choosing.
  7. When meat at the thickest part of the tail is white and opaque, lobster is done (about 10 minutes).
  8. Remove from grill and enjoy.

Fin fish fans need not feel left out.  Your favorites can be cooked on the grill, too. 

  1. Soak a cedar plank in water for an hour or so.
  2. Lightly oil the top side of the plank and place a piece of salmon filet on it, skin side down.
  3. Salt and pepper the fish lightly, add a pat of butter.
  4. Put the plank on a pre-heated grill. (Medium heat).
  5. Cook until the fish flakes easily and is just turning opaque at the thickest part.

 If you are lucky enough to find a really nice piece of high grade tuna steak at least an inch thick, you can grill it directly on the grill just like a small sirloin or large filet.

  1. Rinse and dry the tuna thoroughly.
  2. Rub with a little olive oil.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh herbs (Italian parsley, oregano and/or thyme are good).
  4. Place on a well oiled grill over high heat for two to three minutes depending upon thickness of the steak. (Check the sides of the fish, it will lighten in color as it cooks and you will want to flip it when it has cooked about 1/3rd of the way through)
  5. Flip fish and cook another two minutes.  Remove from grill and serve.

 This will give you a rare to medium rare piece of fish.  If you insist on cooking it through, leave it on the grill for another minute to a minute and a half.  But no longer!

Grilled tuna steak

 Show a streak of independence and try some seafood on the grill this 4th of July weekend.

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3 Responses to “Seafood on the grill”

  1. Grilling Recipes Says:

    People are always looking for new ideas and recipes for cooking on the grill, Good job!

  2. Pizza on the grill « Dj'eat? Says:

    […] noted in a previous post, this doesn’t only mean hamburgers and hot dogs.  All manner of seafood can be grilled.  And so […]

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