Summer Grilling in September

Around this time of year, we start to pack up our summer salads and ceviches, and brace ourselves with soups and chowders as we start to think, “Winter is coming.” But don’t put away that grill – technically summer isn’t over until September 23rd. It’s not too late to soak up those summer rays and experiment with grilling new types of seafood. We all know Salmon, Shrimp, Bronzino, and Swordfish are great grilling options, but here are a few other delicious seafood options that will really light up the barbecue!

Clams and Oysters are surprisingly easy to grill. It’s important that you have grates small enough to prevent the shellfish from falling through. For Clams, we suggest Top Necks or Cherry Stones. The best way to cook them is to shuck the Clams on the half shell and top with fully rendered sausage or infused butter. They will be done 30 seconds after the juices begin to bubble. If you don’t have the time to shuck, grill them whole, but keep an eye on them. Once they open, they’re done. Oysters are in the same boat. Shuck beforehand, and let them cook.  A simple addition of butter, lemon, and toasted breadcrumb makes this a staple that will “wow” your guests.

Remarkably enough, you can grill Crabs too! From Soft Shells to King Crab – the possibilities are endless. For the Soft Shells, we suggest getting some grill marks with direct heat, then either finishing in the oven, or cooking on the top tier of the grill. For pre-cooked Crabs like Dungeness, Snow, or King, you’re simply reheating them, so you can use direct or indirect heat. We love doing this with a curry sauce. It is important that the Crab thaws completely before grilling, otherwise you’ll burn the shells but still have cold meat.

Swordfish Fillets and “Shrimp-on-the-Barbie” are mainstays for grilling.  However, we love using bone-in Sword Chops and head-on Shrimp. Just like their land equivalents, fish and shellfish tend to keep more flavor and moisture with the bone in or shell on. Swordfish works great with an easy marinade of zesty Italian dressing and soy sauce. This simple preparation brings out the steak-y flavor with hints of smoke. For Shrimp, the head helps maintain a high level of moisture and flavor, while creating a great presentation piece. You can marinade ahead of time, or grill and serve with a simple sauce or herb garnish.

As mentioned, Bronzino is a great grilling fish, in the same vein, most oily fish work too. The strong, “full bodied” flavor that comes from the high oil contrasts the smoky Maillard reaction you get from grilling. Ranging from Mackerel, to Salmon, to Rouget, one of the best preparations is simply scoring and seasoning the fish. One of our favorites is Sardines paired with a mustard herb sauce. To experiment with high fat/oil grilling, try the belly of your favorite fish. The belly is often trimmed off, but we suggest using them for skewers! The high fat content will ensure that the skewer is moist and delicious. Salmon, Cobia, Tuna, Grouper, Stone Bass, and Barramundi are all great options.

Grilling underutilized fish cuts often results in a tasty treat. Fish Collars, known as “chicken wings of the sea,” are often discarded, but are some of the most flavorful cuts. Located right behind the head, this area gets a lot of exercise, allowing the flavor to develop. One of the most popular ways to prepare this is with miso or soy marinade and grill skin side down until the skin is crisp. Serve with an acidic sauce on the side, or with bitter greens to cut through the fat. Fish Cheeks are quite delicious as well. We highly suggest Tilefish, Grouper, Halibut, Bluefish, and Skate. Just like the collars, these get a lot of movement. The little nuggets range in size from the diameter of a quarter to a U-10 Scallop. That being said, if you’re cooking cheeks for the first time – use a grilled Scallop recipe. A quick marinade or simple sauce will work quite nicely.

If there is something you want to try, your Samuels Agent is here to give you more information or even a sample if it’s available!