7 Seafood Grilling Tips continued...
2. Skin Side Down. Grill fish fillets with the skin side down, and don't worry about turning them. The skin holds the delicate package together and protects the flesh from the flame. If you want to scorch the flesh side of your fish fillet, just let it grill flesh side down for one minute right at the beginning, then flip to finish cooking with the skin side down. You can remove the fish from the grill by sliding a spatula between the skin and the flesh -- the charred skin is left behind on the grate.
3. Direct or Indirect? Indirect grilling is when the heat is on either side of the food, not right beneath it. This technique is generally used for foods that require 25 minutes or more of grill time -- which generally is not the case for seafood. But indirect grilling is also used for items that are delicate in texture, like fish fillets. If using indirect heat, try not to peek while the fish is cooking. Every time you lift the lid, heat escapes and this can prolong the cooking time.
4. Is It Opaque? White-fleshed fish fillets are usually done, but still juicy, when their centers just turn opaque. (Opaque means you can't see any light through it.)
5. Keep It Dry. Be sure to pat dry any fish fillet or seafood you are about to grill or brown in a pan (use paper towels). This is important because wetness on the surface can prevent browning.
6. Add a Coat. Add a light coat of oil or cooking spray on your seafood before grilling. This will help it brown and keep it from sticking to the grill.
7. All in Due Time. The general rule for grilling fish fillets or steaks is four to five minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness, and 8-10 minutes per 1 inch of thickness. For other seafood items, here are some grilling recommendations from the Weber-Stephen Products Co.:
- Shrimp --2 to 4 minutes over direct high heat.
- Scallops -- 3 to 6 minutes over direct high heat.
- Mussels -- 5 to 6 minutes over direct high heat. Don't eat any that do not open.
- Clams -- 8 to 10 minutes over direct high heat. Don't eat any that do not open.
- Oysters -- 3 to 5 minutes over direct high heat.