If we’re at a restaurant and see grilled fish on the menu, we’re definitely ordering it. That’s because while we love the tender, flaky, slighty charred flavor of grilled fish, cooking it at home can be a total disaster. From floppy fillets that stick to the grill grates to acidic marinades that turn your fish to mush, it’s just a lot to deal with. But Martha Stewart just shared two hacks that make grilling perfectly craveable fish at home a possibility. The first has to do with the cut of fish you use, and the second is all about the marinade.
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First things first, you need to stop trying to grill flimsy fish fillets. They just aren’t able to stand up to the heat of the grill, and they always seem to stick to or fall through the grill grates. Instead of fillets, Stewart uses halibut steaks in her fool-proof recipe. Fillets are made by cutting a strip of meat from the side of the fish, while heartier steaks are made by cutting the fish horizontally, into cross-sections. It gives you a thicker, sturdier cut to work with, one that can be flipped on the grill without falling apart. Stewart calls for halibut steaks that are 1 1/2 inches thick – look for these at your regular grocery store, a seafood store, or Whole Foods (their seafood department tends to have a great selection).
The second hack has to do with the marinade. While acidic marinades are great for tenderizing things like beef steaks and pork, they can be too harsh on the delicate flesh of your fish, and you could end up with a meal that’s mushy and pasty rather than flaky. To combat this, Stewart actually marinates her fish after it’s cooked. This way, the proteins in the fish are cooked and stabilized, and the acid in your marinade won’t break it down. Instead, it just adds a ton of flavor to your grilled fish steak right before you serve it.
If you don’t have a gas grill or a charcoal grill (though if you have the space, we totally recommend getting one – this portable version can work even on balconies and stoops), you can even use this method with a grill pan. The reverse marinade can be used with other types of seafood, too – it would be great with shrimp, and you can even use it to boost the flavor of grilled chicken or steak after they’re cooked.
The next time you’re craving grilled fish, don’t despair. Stewart’s technique will give you delicious, no-fuss results everytime.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
Watch: A 5-Ingredient Grilled Pizza That’s Easier Than Ordering Takeout
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