Grilled or Broiled Fish


As fast as chicken cutlets and as fancy as beef steaks.
TIME 20 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
4 small or 2 large fish steaks or thick fillets(at least 1 inch thick; 1½ pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered, for serving


Method
1 Prepare a grill or turn on the broiler; the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Brush both sides of the fish generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2 To grill: Put the fish directly on the grill over the hot coals. Cook until it is lightly charred on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Wait for the edges to become opaque and a crust to form on the bottom. Then turn carefully with a spatula and cook on the other side until the steak is just cooked through, another 2 to 4 minutes.
To broil: Put the fish on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler. It won’t get as brown as with grilling, but you also won’t have to turn it. Watch for the top to become opaque and the flesh to feel firm. Figure anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak and the intensity of your broiler.

3 To see whether the fish is done, stick a paring knife between the layers of flesh; when the knife meets little resistance and just a touch of translucence remains in the center of the fish, it’s ready. Serve right away with the lemon wedges and any accumulated pan juices if you broiled it.

Variations
  • Grilled or Broiled Fish with Soy-Lime Marinade: Use vegetable oil instead of the olive oil and skip the salt and pepper. Before Step 1, combine the oil with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the juice of 1 lime; soak the fish in this mixture, turning once or twice, for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the steaks from the marinade, pat them dry, and continue with the recipe. Serve with lime wedges.
  • Fish Kebabs: Before Step 1, cut the steaks into chunks about 1½ inches thick. Thread them on skewers, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue with the recipe.

Tips
  • Scrape the grates clean with a wire brush right before putting the fish on. They’re easier to clean when hot, and clean grates help prevent the fish from sticking.
  • The cooking times depend on how hot your grill or broiler is, the thickness of the fish, and how done you like it. For rarer fish, cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side; for more well done, 4 to 5 minutes. For me, fish is better too rare than overcooked, but ultimately you’ll decide.

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