I am just back from my family vacation to Hawaii and am inspired to eat more healthy fish on the grill. Boy do they eat a lot of fish in Hawaii, over 38 lbs per person annually compared to the national average of 16 lbs! With the hot summer days of August upon us, what better meal to enjoy than a freshly grilled piece of fish? Some of our viewers may be intimidated by cooking fish on the grill but I have some suggestions that will make it less intimidating and much easier. I also have a marinade from Hawaii that will make it delicious!
The first question one might ask is, "What type of fish can I grill without it falling apart?" Fresh wild caught Alaskan halibut is the fish of choice. We are in the prime season (the entire season is from March - October so enjoy it while you can) and it is a sustainable seafood green choice.
Let me mention here that Peapod has partnered with Chicago's own Shedd Aquarium to educate consumers about making sustainable seafood decisions, and we also donate a portion of each green seafood purchase back to the Shedd for their conservation programs. Halibut is not only a green choice, almost as importantly, it is a great fish for the grill. Its thick cuts (filets or steaks, I much prefer filets) do not dry out or flake when grilled and take a marinade extremely well. I stole (I mean, brought back with me!) a marinade from Hawaii that is perfect for all the fish we are grilling on today's show.
The second fish I highly recommend and one I brought back with me (literally -the same flight I took, United 2 from Honolulu to Chicago is the same flight that transports much of the fish bought at the Hawaii Seafood Auction for the finest Chicago restaurants and retailers like Peapod) is striped marlin, a yellow choice. Striped marlin is fine eating because of its tender flesh and works great on the grill. It is not as high in fat as tuna or halibut so it cooks a little more quickly.
The last fish I suggest for fool-proof seafood grilling is Ahi tuna, also a yellow choice. Ahi is the Hawaiian word for tuna and usually refers to the species of tuna known as yellow fin or big eye. The ones we have cooking on the grill today are big eye, characterized by a deep red colored flesh.
In their natural habitat they have large heads and you guessed it, very large eyes. Their thick meat and high fat content full of healthy omega -3 oils make them perfect for the grill. Hawaiians prefer their tuna raw, or if grilled, just seared and still red in the middle which is the way I like it.
Speaking of raw tuna, I would also like to share another recipe I picked up while in Hawaii called Poke (pronounced poh key). It is a Hawaiian staple and can be found at all grocery stores there. I tried some prepared by the locals at the docks at the fish auction and loved it! I have included the recipe – if we have some left at the end of the show Kevin can weigh in with his opinion. I also had an omelet with the catch of the day (Ahi) that was incredible! Like I said, they eat a lot of fish in Hawaii.
Now that we have chosen the type of fish, here are some easy tips for seafood grilling. First and foremost, start with a clean grill. Oil the grates just prior to cooking by wiping with a clean rag or a lot of paper towels and plenty of inexpensive vegetable oil, this will help prevent sticking. Always grill fish over a hot to medium-hot flame, this will help sear in the natural flavors and moisture. To test, hold your hand about 5 inches above the heat source. Your fire is hot if you can only hold it there for about 2 seconds. 3-4 seconds would indicate medium-hot. Next, use the Canadian rule for cooking time.
Total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, but in the case of the tuna if you like it red in the middle cut that in half. Turn just once – avoid turning more often as it will cause the fish to break apart. You can insert a knife to see if it is done, it should turn from translucent to opaque inside. Take it off when it is opaque or mostly opaque as it will continue to cook when removed from the grill. Lastly, if the fish has a skin as in the case of the halibut, always start it skin side up, this will help prevent it from flaking, and use a metal spatula if possible.
Hawaiian Fresh Seafood Marinade
- 6oz Hoisin Sauce
- Oyster Sauce
- 1/2T Sugar
- 8oz Soy Sauce
- 1/2T Ginger-minced
- 1T Garlic-minced
Mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly. Pour marinade over desired seafood, turning to coat. Let seafood marinade for 30 to 60 minutes, then grill over hot grill. Marinade is enough to coat 2 lbs of seafood.
- Ahi Tuna cut into 1" squares
- 1/4C Chopped Macadamia Nuts
- 1T Red Pepper flakes
- 1T Sea Salt
- 1T Sesame Oil
- 1T Soy Sauce
- 1 qtr of a Vidalia onion thinly sliced or any sweet onion (if not available substitute Red onion)
Mix Ahi and salt together coating, add sesame oil and soy sauce coat. Then add remaining ingredients and mix softly not to break up Ahi chunks. Serve immediately and enjoy.