Use this simple, indirect heat technique to grill flaky fillets with irresistibly crispy skin.
Our attentions turn outdoors and our palates to lighter fare in the warm summer months. This brings us to the union of seafood and the grill, flattering fillets with the smoky charm of a live fire. But it can be intimidating to grill fish, given its fragile texture and the common belief that fish skin inherently sticks to the grill. To avoid mishaps, I like a method called indirect grilling.
Try this weeknight favorite four different ways.
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Indirect grilling uses dual cooking areas, one hot and the other more gentle. For gas grills, simply heat on high. Lay the fish, skin side down, with head-to-tail parallel to the hot grill grate, and sear over high heat for a minute. Then turn off the burner under the fish, cover the grill, and finish cooking. For charcoal grills, place the coals on one side of the kettle, arrange the fillets as described above, and sear them. After a minute, rotate the grill grate 180 degrees, cover, and finish cooking over indirect heat. Notice I don’t move or flip the fish, which eliminates the need to touch it until I remove it from the grill. Lastly, a little char is OK—it accentuates the sweet flavor of the fish.
Try It: Grilled Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri
The trout has a nice smoky flavor that is cut by the freshness and acidity of the chimichurri. For a less smoky flavor, seek out thinner fillets (which will take less time to cook).
View Recipe: Grilled Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri
Barton Seaver is chef and director of Harvard's Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative