Monday, July 5, 2010

6 Easy Steps To Sizzling Fish Kebabs

With summer in its full glory, it’s time to jazz those barbecues up with something a little more surprising than dogs and burgers. How about some sizzling fresh salmon kebabs on a platter heaped with garden fresh veggies?
Grilled fresh seafood provides a tasty and healthy option. Alas, many home chefs shy away from trying it because they’ve had a bad experience with fish fillets that stick to the grill, fall apart, or end up just plain dry and overcooked.
If that’s happened to you, try something new! Instead of cooking whole fillets, go for chunks on skewers. Kebabs make everyone feel special, and as the grill master, you’ll find controlling the outcome a whole lot easier. You’ll serve your dish with pride instead of excuses. A basic recipe follows, and you can find more at great recipe sites such as Epicurious.
As renowned chef and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman notes, any fish thick enough to cut into steaks can be cut into chunks. Go for the freshest seafood you can find. While thin flounder filets are obviously out, you can find others at your seafood markets, including fresh salmon, halibut, swordfish, bluefish, striped bass, monkfish and even cod.
Since supermarket fish is usually precut, you are generally better off ordering your own fish direct from seafood markets. A good seafood market can easily help you find fish pieces that are at least an inch thick (and preferably thicker). You can never go wrong when you buy fresh salmon. You can even have it delivered overnight anywhere in the United States.
For best results, skip the marinating and go for a quick brush of olive oil, salt and pepper right before grilling. As Bittman notes, “More important is to finish the fish with something like the traditional Mediterranean combination of oil, garlic, oregano -- or any other herb you have handy -- and lemon. Brushing this mixture lightly on the fish after it's done cooking will add more flavor than any marinade ever could, and in infinitely less time.”
Here are the simple steps to fabulous fish kabobs, following Bittman’s expert advice:
  1. Prepare the grill to very hot and set the rack about 3 inches from heat source. While waiting, prepare the fish kebabs. (Have the rest of your meal ready before you start to grill as fish cook quickly.)
  2. Meanwhile, cut fish into large chunks (at least one inch cubes). Plan on about ½ pound of fish per serving.
  3. Thread them onto skewers, using two skewers per kebab for ease in turning. Baste with good olive oil; add salt and pepper.
  4. Prepare the finishing sauce in a food processor by combining 1/3 cup of good olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and 2 minced garlic cloves, adding salt, pepper and oregano to taste. (This will serve four.)
  5. Grill the kebabs until golden brown, at least 2 minutes per side, and turn. Check for doneness by inserting a thin-bladed knife into the center of a chunk; if there’s no resistance, it’s done. Don't overcook!
  6. Brush with the above sauce, add a sprig of parsley, and serve with pride!  
What’s great is that you can experiment with different kinds of fish all summer long. Fresh salmon is always a winner with any crowd! 
Note: You can also cook these in the broiler which means rain does not need to spoil your meal plans ever! Since it is as easy as a phone call to get fresh seafood delivered to your door overnight all year round, you can enjoy great fish kebabs even when summer is just a memory.
 Bon appétit!

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