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How to Properly Broil Any Fish

How to Properly Broil Any Fish

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Broiling is a technique typically used with richer fish—those with more luxurious and healthful fats, such as salmon, tuna, or swordfish— but it also can be used on leaner varieties such as tilapia. Simply put, broiling is the direct application of high heat. But because broiling cooks from one side, cooking the fish evenly can be a challenge. The key is to manage the heat by moderating its intensity and the distance of the fish from the heat source.

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Thicker fillets are best cooked under medium to medium-high heat a couple of inches below the heat source, whereas thin, lean seafood such as tilapia is best placed directly under the withering heat of a broiler set to high. When done properly, this gives fish the nuanced and complex charisma of a slight char while preserving the succulence and moisture of the underside of the fillet, resulting in a satisfying duality of textures. Fear not—broiling is actually an easily mastered technique that with a little practice (and a few tips) you’ll be able to apply to nearly any seafood.

Try It: Broiled Tilapia with Yogurt and Herbs

Parcook the tilapia before slathering on the sauce to brown it slightly. Look for fillets with even thickness, but if you can’t find them, fold the thin end of the fillet under itself to encourage even cooking. Serve this with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or American Pinot Gris—both pick up on the floral and herbal notes and accentuate the topping’s acidity.

Barton Seaver is chef and director of Harvard's Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative

How to Broil Crab Cakes

If you’re feeling hesitant about the title of this blog post – don’t get us wrong, deep fried crab cakes are delicious!

But if you are trying to reduce the fat content of your dish a little bit, this healthy Maryland crab cake recipe is a great alternative to deep frying them and your crab cakes can be just as delicious as they would have been fried.

Why broil and not bake? Baking will still cook your crab cakes but they won’t get as crispy as broiling them will. The ingredients are essentially the same as if you were going to make fried ones and we would argue that broiling them is a little bit easier than babysitting your cakes while they deep fry.

You’ll want to use the low broil setting on your oven so that the crab cakes still cook through while they are browning. The high broil setting will brown your cakes before they get a chance to cook inside. You also don’t want to pack your cakes too tightly, you want them to cook through and packing them too tightly will cause the middles to get soggy.

The biggest tip is that you want to use good quality Lump Maryland Crab Meat and with Cameron’s online delivery service, that part is easy!

We have tried a few different broiled Maryland crab cake recipes and we really like the Jumbo Lump Maryland Crab Cakes by Jen on the Savory Simple Website. They are simple yet delicious and the crab flavor really shines through. We wanted to share this broiled lump crab cake recipe with you today with a few tiny variations that we have added.

Best Foods for Broiling

If you haven&apost tried many broiling recipes yet, here are more broiling food examples to spark your culinary imagination.

  • Meats: Generally, meats less than 1½ inches thick, such as steaks and pork chops, are good candidates for broiling. Also, because broiling is a dry-heat method of cookery, you will want to use tender beef cuts or steaks, including ribeye, tenderloin, top loin, top sirloin, tri-tip (bottom sirloin), flank, porterhouse, rib, and T-bone. Ground meat patties are also suitable for broiling.
  • Chicken and Turkey: A variety of chicken parts work for broiling, including chicken quarters, legs, bone-in breasts, chicken halves, and skinless, boneless breast halves. Turkey breast cutlets and tenderloin steaks also work.
  • Fish and Shellfish: Broiling is one of the easiest cooking methods for fresh or frozen fish fillets. Scallops and shrimp are also good candidates for broiling.
  • Kabobs: Skewers of cubed beef, pork, poultry, shrimp, or scallops (along with vegetables) are a favorite broiled entree and perfect for an easy, prep-ahead company dinner. Try these Greek-inspired chicken kabobs.
  • Fruits: What&aposs good on the grill is equally good on the broiler, including peaches, nectarines, pineapple, plums, and mango. Grapefruit and bananas can also be broiled.
  • Veggies: Popular choices include asparagus spears, bell pepper strips, tomato halves, and onion wedges.

How to Cook a Perfect London Broil

Need to feed a group steak on a budget? Go for a London broil.

When it comes to crafting a deceptively fancy but budget-friendly dinner for a crowd, the London broil has long been one of our go-tos. After all, this simple dish, which relies on a more affordable cut of beef, is one of the most effective ways to serve steak to a group without racking up a hefty bill.

Despite the name, which suggests this recipe originated across the pond, the London broil is actually an all-American creation that makes the most of your grocery money. While there’s a common misconception that ‘London broil’ refers to a specific cut, this misleading name actually refers to the technique used to cook the steak (the inclusion of London in the name is still a culinary mystery). This technique involves cooking the meat under an oven’s broiler, for a result that’s perfectly browned on the outside but just the right level of pink on the inside.

While the London broil was primarily made with flank steak up until World War II, the cut of meat most typically used today is a boneless top round steak, which butchers will occasionally label as “London broil” to help guide confused shoppers.

Although this recipe has become a popular dish among meat eaters thanks to its affordability, this precarious cooking method can either result in a tender, delicious cut of meat or something tough and borderline inedible if you’re not careful. Follow these these tips and tricks, and you’ll be well on the way to a perfectly executed broiled steak every time.

Watch: How to Make Broiled Flat Iron Steak with Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

The Perfect Marinade

The first𠅊nd arguably most important𠅎lement to consider when making a London broil is the all-important marinade. Due to the top round being a leaner cut with a low fat content, the London broil can be tough and gamey, which is why the marinating process is essential for transforming this low-budget meat into something that feels luxurious.

The biggest tip for pulling off a perfect London broil is to allow ample time to marinade. The marination process is key for converting a tough cut of meat into something supple and flavorful, as the liquid works to soften the connective tissues and muscle fibers of the meat. A little acid in the marinade is also important, as it helps to quickly break down these tough fibers and tissue.

While you can opt to marinade your meat for as little as a couple of hours if you’re in a rush, for the best possible result allow the meat to marinate overnight for up to 24 hours before cooking. When it comes to the London broil’s marination process, the rule of thumb is the longer, the better.

Part of the fun of crafting a London broil is making your own customized marinade, which can vary widely from recipe to recipe. While you can feel free to play around with the marinade ingredients, most recipes include olive oil and either soy or Worcestershire sauce as a constant, some form of acid, and additional flavors like beef stock, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and lemon juice. Some even choose to keep it super simple with creative combinations like cola and teriyaki sauce.

While there are endless possible combinations to test out, we𠆝 recommend starting with a flavorful mixture of ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ cup chopped shallots, and 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme for a 2-pound boneless top round steak.

Before marinating, it’s important to pierce your meat all over with a fork, or use a chef’s knife to cut 1/8-inch deep criss-cross patterns across the surface. Either of these methods will allow the marinade to soak into the meat, rather than just rest on the surface.

Place your punctured steak and marinade in a plastic Ziploc bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours. Occasionally flip the bag over to allow the juices to shift.

Cooking Your London Broil

When your steak has been properly marinated and is ready to cook, remove the marinade by scraping off the excess garlic and shallots and patting the meat dry with a paper towel.

Add your meat to an oiled broiler pan or pre-heated cast-iron skillet and season with salt and pepper before placing the pan about 4 inches from the broiler, set to high. Broil for 6-8 minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 6-10 minutes. When the steak appears to be nearing completion, check the internal temperature of the meat with a thermometer, removing the beef when it hits 125 degrees Fahrenheit. While the ideal medium rare temperature is 135-145 degrees, since the steak will continue to cook as it rests, taking it out slightly before it reaches this temperature guarantees the meat won’t overcook.

After removing it from the oven, allow your meat to rest for about 10 minutes, tented with foil, before slicing into thin pieces. For the best result, cut across the grain—rather than with it𠅋y slicing vertically through the lines running across the steak. Then, drizzle your slices with the pan juices before serving.

To take your London broil experience to new heights, create an herb butter that will complement your flavorful meat. To craft your butter, combine 4 tablespoons of softened butter with fresh chives, chopped parsley, chopped tarragon, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and refrigerate until you’re ready to top your cooked steak. Or, turn the discarded marinade into a perfectly paired sauce by bringing it to a boil in a saucepan, simmering for 10 minutes, and whisking in 2 tablespoons of butter.

An alternative option for cooking a London broil is to cook it on your outdoor grill. While this method is contrary to the name itself, the high heat form the grill mimics the effect of the broiler. Follow the same marination instructions, or simply season your steak with salt and pepper if running low on time, and grill for 4 minutes on each side before resting and slicing. If you choose to forego a marinade, make sure you have a flavorful sauce to accompany the meat, as in this London Broil with Chimichurri recipe.

Once you’ve perfected a classic London broil, step outside the box with recipes like London Broil with Texas Toast and Red Onion Jam, London Broil Sandwiches with Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce, or an Asian-inspired Soy Marinated London Broil. No matter how you cook it, you’re sure to be pleased with the bang you get for your buck when it comes to this affordable and approachable protein.

Broiling the Salmon

A key difference when you broil vs. bake is that instead of controlling the oven temperature, you regulate cooking by controlling how far below the broiler element you position the food. If the salmon cut is less than 1 inch thick, center it 4 inches below the broiler. If it is more than 1 inch thick, center it 6 inches below the broiler.

As for broil time, salmon fillet or steak cooking varies by the oven, the thickness of the fish and other considerations. A general rule of thumb for this method is to cook salmon for five minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness.

When you broil salmon, temperature as determined by a meat thermometer is the surest way to know when it's done. Fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, sometimes it's hard to get a good reading, especially with thinner cuts, so you can always check by pressing into the thickest part of the salmon with a fork to confirm that it flakes easily and that the flesh is opaque all the way through. Remove it promptly from the baking tray when it's done to prevent overcooking.

Broiled Red Snapper with Pico de Gallo

Broiled Red Snapper with Pico de Gallo is a simple yet delicious dish. The good thing about it — aside from being so good, is the fact that it easy and quick to prepare.

We went to South Florida for the holidays and decided to go out to fish. We were optimistic to catch at least one decent-sized fish for dinner, but we were not able to get any. It was totally fine because we were able to enjoy the weather and relax while fishing. I decided to go and get something in the local supermarket to cook for dinner. I saw some gorgeous red snappers. These are perfect for “sinigang na isda” (fish in sour soup), but I decided to simply broil them instead. I guess I was tired and needed something quick and easy to prepare.

This recipe details everything that I did. Make sure to put your oven to broil mode to get the same result.Placing the oven to bake mode will still cook the fish, but you will need to add an extra 10 to 12 minutes though.

Try this Broiled Red Snapper with Pico de Gallo recipe. Let me know what you think.

How to Roast Vegetables

Step #1: Cut or trim into bite-sized pieces

Cutting larger vegetables, like potatoes and squash, into smaller bite-sized pieces will make cooking go faster. It&aposll also give you more surface area for delicious char.

Of course, depending on what you&aposre planning to make, you could cut the veg into wedges or slices, too. Try this five-in-one vegetable slicer ($15, to make prepping a breeze. Just keep in mind that the smaller the pieces are, the faster everything cooks.

Step #2: Toss with oil and season

You want a good bit of oil𠅎nough to coat each piece𠅋ut you don&apost want so much that the oil pools on the sheet pan or in the bottom of the mixing bowl. For eight cups of vegetables, about four chopped potatoes, you can use just one to two tablespoons of oil.

Olive oil is good, but oils with higher smoke temps may be better if you plan to roast above 400ଏ. Avocado oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil all have smoke points at 400ଏ or above, and their fairly neutral tastes won&apost mask the vegetables&apos natural flavors.

To ensure you properly coat each piece, you may want to get your hands in the mixing bowl. Gently toss the chopped veggies several times, until each piece has a light coating.

Lastly, season well with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and any other seasonings you want. We love Weber Garlic Sriracha Seasoning ($6, and Urban Accents Parmesan Mediterranean Seasoning ($3, Again, be generous here, but don&apost overdo it. One to teaspoons will be plenty for about eight cups of veggies. Scale down for smaller batches. The vegetables are coated with oil, so seasoning will adhere better.

Step #3: Give the pieces some space

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread the prepped veggies on the foil or parchment. Leave a bit of space around each piece.

If you don&apost, the close quarters will cause the vegetables to steam, not roast and char. Steamed veggies are delicious to eat of course, but that&aposs just not the result of all this work aims to achieve.

If you don&apost have enough room for each piece to sit untouched, get out another rimmed baking sheet, and divide the mixture. It&aposs better to dirty up two pans (the aluminum foil or parchment paper will help reduce cleaning duty) than to get sub-par roasted veggies.

Step #4: High heat, watchful eye

Place the sheet pans into an oven pre-heated to about 425ଏ. You can go lower, to about 400ଏ, or even higher, to 450ଏ. The perfect temp will depend on how much time you have and how small the pieces of vegetable are.

Petite pieces may burn too quickly at 450ଏ, but small pieces may take too long to cook at 400ଏ. Consider 425ଏ the happy medium that&aposll get you the tender vegetables you&aposre seeking with the caramelized char you&aposre craving.

Roast the vegetables until you begin to see browning and the pieces are fork tender. For some vegetables, that happens in as little as 15 minutes, so it&aposs a good idea to give the veggies a quick peek every quarter hour. Stir the vegetables each time you do check on them. That&aposll guarantee they&aposre evenly cooked and brown all the way around.

General Roasting Times

Size of vegetables and temp will determine how long it takes, but these temperatures are a good gauge.

  • Sweet potato – 35 minutes
  • Brussels sprouts – 35 minutes
  • White potato – 30 minutes
  • Tomatoes – 30 minutes
  • Butternut squash – 25 minutes
  • Parsnip – 25 minutes
  • Eggplant – 25 minutes
  • Cabbage – 25 minutes
  • Carrots – 20 minutes
  • Broccoli – 20 minutes
  • Cauliflower – 20 minutes
  • Green beans – 20 minutes
  • Onion slices – 15 minutes
  • Bell pepper strips – 15 minutes
  • Okra – 12 minutes
  • Snap peas – 10 minutes
  • Zucchini – 10 minutes
  • Summer squash – 10 minutes
  • Sugar peas – 8 minutes

Step #5: Don't remove too early

When the browning appears and the pieces are tender enough to pierce with a fork, let the veggies keep cooking. You want all the pieces to pick up a bit of brown char on the edges, so resist the urge to pull as soon as you begin seeing darkening.

When you&aposve reached the desired degree of browning or caramelization, pull the sheet pan from the oven, and serve veggies immediately. Don&apost worry if you go a little longer than you think is right. A bit of extra time𠅊nd browning—isn&apost going to do harm. It just adds more flavor.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed, crushed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4 haddock, cod, or striped bass fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Heat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, Italian seasoning, red-pepper flakes, anise seed, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Set spice mixture aside.

Place four 14-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface. Dividing evenly, place onion on one half of each square (leaving a 2-inch border), followed by the zucchini season with salt and pepper. Top with fish sprinkle with spice mixture. Top with tomato drizzle with oil. Fold foil over ingredients crimp edges to seal.

Place packets on grill. Cover and grill until fish is just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove packets from grill open carefully (hot steam will escape), and transfer fish Provencal to serving plates.

How to Broil Tilapia

Broiling is a great way to prepare thinner cuts, like Tilapia fillets. And it’s especially great if you want to glaze the fish as it will help create a tasty, caramelized flavor. Keep in mind, however, that broiling can turn to burning in an instant—so don’t leave this dish unattended.

  1. Position your oven rack just a few inches below the broiler.
  2. Turn the broiler on high and let it preheat for about 10 minutes.
  3. Lay your marinated Tilapia fillets in a glass dish or on a baking sheet.
  4. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is nicely browned.

Pro Tip: If you’re cooking with a thicker cut of Tilapia, bake or roast it instead of broiling since it will require more time in the oven.

Fish Cooking Guide

Fish can be prepared using almost any type of cooking method including baking, steaming, frying, grilling, broiling, or slow cooking. When cooking fish, care must be taken not to overcook the fillet, steak, or whole fish, which results in dry and somewhat tasteless meat. A general rule is to cook a fish 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. The 10 minute rule should not be used for deep-frying or microwaving fish. The fish should be cooked until it has reached an internal temperature of at least 145ºF.

Fish cooking temperatures are important to monitor in order to insure meat is safely cooked to the proper temperature. When preparing fish, use the chart below as a guide to check doneness when the fish is oven baked, pan-fried, deep-fried, grilled, and steamed.

FISH Cooking Temperatures and Times
Baked Approximate Cooking Time
Portion Temp. Weight /
Total Time
Whole 350°F 3-5 lbs 25-30 min
Fillets 350°F 3-5 lbs 25-30 min
Steaks 350°F 3-5 lbs 35-40 min
Pan-Fried Turn Once
Whole Med. 8-15 min
Fillets Med. .75 in. 7-9 min
Steaks Med. 1 in. 9-10 min
Whole 350°F
Fillets 350°F .75 in. 3-5 min
Steaks 350°F 1 in. 4-6 min
Grilled - 4 in. from the Heat Source Turn Once
Whole 10-20 min
Fillets Med .75 in. 7-9 min
Steaks Med 1 in. 9-10 min
Steaming - Over Gently Boiling Water
Whole 10-12 min
Fillets .75 in. 10-12 min
Steaks 1 in. 10-15 min
Note: Cooking times are estimated times and will vary depending on the type and thickness of the fish. Fish is done when meat turns opaque white and has a flakey texture. Overcooking will cause the fish to be tough and lose flavor and moisture.

Baking is a good method to use for cooking whole fish, stuffed or unstuffed, and large, thicker cuts. Baking can also be used for steaks and fillets. While baking, the fish should be basted to keep the meat moist.

  1. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to cook.
  2. Rinse the fish thoroughly inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. When baking whole fish, the head can be left on if there is room in the baking pan.
  3. If stuffing a whole fish, add it to the cavity of the fish.
  4. Place the whole fish or pieces in an oiled baking pan. If baking oily fish, it should be placed on an oiled rack so it is not setting in the juices as it bakes.
  5. Baste the fish with a mixture of 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  6. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

  1. Place the covered baking pan in an oven preheated to 350°F.
  2. Bake for 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the quantity being cooked. See the chart above.
  3. Baste the fish with the butter/lemon mixture 2 or 3 times during the cooking time.
  4. Test the fish for doneness by inserting a fork into the thickest area for the fillets or steaks and in the backbone above the dorsal fin of whole fish. Twist the fork and the meat should flake easily and be opaque in appearance.
  5. To brown steaks and fillets, baste them with the pan juices and then place under the broiler for approximately a minute.
  6. Carefully remove the fish from the pan by using a spatula to lift the fish out. Place on a platter or plate for serving.
  7. Whole fish should have the skin and bones removed.

Pan-frying fish is a popular method of cooking fish. It works well with small whole fish, steaks and fillets. Lean fish are better pan-fried than oily fish because the oil helps keep them too moist. Oily fish are better cooked using a method that allows their natural fat to drain while cooking, such as broiling, grilling or steaming. Instructions for pan-frying whole and pieces of fish are shown below.

Small fish that are less than 1 1/2 inches thick work well to panfry. If thicker than 1 1/2 inches they should be filleted before frying. Frying the fish in butter would give it the best flavor but butter burns too easily. To get the benefit of the butter flavor use half butter and half vegetable oil. Vegetable oil can also be used on its own if desired.

  1. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to cook.
  2. When frying whole fish, the head is generally removed before cooking.
  3. Rinse the fish thoroughly inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Be sure oil is hot enough before beginning to fry the fish. A drop of water added to the oil should sizzle when the oil is heated properly.
  5. Dredge the fish in flour seasoned with salt and pepper to assist the browning process.
  1. Place the floured fish in the hot oil. Place only 2 or 3 fish in the pan at one time so that they are not crowded. Frying too many at one time cools the oil down too much, causing the fish to absorb more oil.
  2. Fry the fish for 5 to 8 minutes on the first side. Turn over and cook another 4 to 7 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
  3. When the fish is done its skin should be browned and crisp. When inserting a fork in the backbone, the meat should flake and separate from the bone easily. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145°F.
  4. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined platter so the grease can drain. If frying more fish, place the cooked fish in an oven preheated to 175°F to 200°F to keep them warm while more are cooking.
  5. Add more oil if cooking additional fish. Allow the oil to heat up properly before frying more fish.

Pan-frying Steaks and Fillets

Fish steaks or fillets should not be thicker than 1 1/2 inches. Slice any pieces over 1 1/2 inches thick into thinner fillets. When frying, cook pieces with similar thickness together so that they cook evenly.

  1. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to cook.
  2. If necessary, slice thick cuts into thinner pieces. Cut fillets into even serving size pieces.
  3. Rinse the fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Be sure oil is hot enough before beginning to fry the fish. A drop of water added to the oil should sizzle when the oil is heated properly.
  5. Dredge the fish in seasoned flour or a crumb coating to assist the browning process. See crumb coating below.
  1. Moisten pieces in a mixture of one beaten egg and one tablespoon of water. Double these ingredients if frying a larger quantity of fish.
  2. Dip egg coated pieces in seasoned crumb mixture. Use flour, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, or crushed cornflakes for the crumbs and season with salt and pepper.
  1. Place the coated fish in the hot oil. Place only a few pieces of fish in the pan at one time so that they are not crowded. Frying too many at one time cools the oil down too much, causing the fish to absorb more oil. Fry consistent size pieces together so they cook evenly.
  2. Fry the fish for 3 to 5 minutes on the first side. Turn over and cook another 2 to 5 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
  3. When the fish is done its crumb coating should be browned and crisp. When inserting a fork in the fish, the meat should be flakey and opaque in appearance. The meat should be moist but not watery. The internal temperature of the fish should be 145°F.
  4. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined platter so the grease can drain. If frying more fish, place the cooked fish in an oven preheated to 175°F to 200°F to keep them warm while more are cooking.
  5. Add more oil and allow the oil to heat up properly before frying more fish.

Deep-frying, also known as deep-fat frying, is a process of immersing food in a pan containing hot oil, which cooks the food quickly, producing a crispy surface covering a tender and moist interior. For the best results as well as for ease in handling, it is best to use small pieces of fish when deep-frying. Fish is often covered with flour and seasonings or some type of batter before deep-frying, which provides a crispy, brown crust on the food.

Any cooking oil can be used for deep-frying provided it does not smoke or burn at temperatures that may reach as high as 375°F. See Oil Smoke Points to assist in selecting oil for deep-frying. Oil low in saturated fat is best to use because the fish will absorb a small quantity of oil during the cooking process. See Fat Composition of Various Oils to assist in selecting oil low in saturated fat.

  • A temperature between 350°F and 375°F is an ideal range for deep-frying. The correct temperature can be determined with the use of a candy thermometer.
  • Another method that can be used is to place a cube of bread into the oil and if it browns in 45 to 50 seconds, the oil is at the correct temperature.
  1. Carefully place the pieces of fish into the hot oil using tongs to handle the fish. Add three to four pieces to the oil, making sure not to overcrowd then in the pan. The number of pieces cooked at a time will depend on their size.
  2. Cook the fish according to the cooking times shown above for deep-frying fish. The fish should be golden brown when down.
  3. Remove from the oil and place on a platter lined with paper towels to allow excess grease to drain from the fish. Serve while hot.

If cooking a large amount, the fish can be placed on a baking sheet and placed in an oven preheated to 175°F to 200°F to keep them warm while more are cooking.

Grilling and Broiling Fish

Grilling and broiling are very similar methods of cooking fish. They both use a dry heat that quickly cooks the surface and then slowly moves to the middle of the meat. The main difference between the two methods is that grilling applies the heat to the bottom surface of the fish, and broiling applies the heat to the top surface. Also, grilling infuses the fish with a smoky flavor from the meat juices that drip during the grilling process. When broiling, this infusion of flavor does not occur.

The grilling process cooks foods over a heat source, either directly, indirectly, or a combination of both. Grilling temperatures typically reach as high as 650ºF, but any temperature above 300°F is suitable as a grilling temperature. The high heat of grilling sears the surface of fish, creating meat with a flavorful crust. The required cooking temperature and the method of grilling (direct, indirect, or a combination) depends on the size of the fish or the pieces. It is important to cook the fish to its proper doneness but not to overcook.

There are many different types of grills available today that can be used when grilling fish. For information on the different types of grills, see Grilling Beef - Types of Grills. It is important that the grill is set up properly and reaches the appropriate temperature for the type of fish that is being grilled to ensure that it produces a moist and flaky finished product that is cooked to the proper doneness. For information on setting up a charcoal or gas grill, see Grilling Beef - Outdoor Grill Setup.

A medium heat should be used when grilling fish, whole or pieces. Using too high of a heat will cause some parts to cook too quickly and dry out while other parts will not be done all the way through. To check the temperature of the grill, use the palm of your hand for testing, see Charcoal Grill Setup - Estimating Temperature for testing method. The thicker the piece of fish the farther away from the heat source it should be or the heat source should be at a lower temperature to prevent the outside of the cut from burning before the inside is properly cooked. You will also have to decide whether you will use direct or indirect heat during the grilling time. Depending on the type of fish and size, you may use both. A whole fish or a thick piece may require direct heat to seal the outside and indirect to allow the cut to cook thoroughly to the center.

Cooking with indirect heat occurs when you use an area of the grill that is not directly over the heat source. Using indirect heat slows the cooking process down, which allows the center of the fish to cook thoroughly without burning the outside. On charcoal grills, coals are pushed to one side of the grill or banked into a ring around the outer edges. On gas grills, the side of the burner, which is below the area where the food will be placed, is turned off after the grill is preheated. Using one of the indirect setups will provide an area on the grill that is a low heat source. The fish is placed over the area in which there are no coals or over the burner that is turned off on a gas grill. Indirect heat is good for cooking whole fish or larger pieces.

To prepare the grill for indirect heat, see Beef Grilling - Indirect Heat for grill setup.

See general instructions below for cooking fish using indirect heat.

  1. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to grill.
  2. If skin has not been removed, keep it intact while grilling. The skin will prevent the fish from curling up and flaking apart. The skin is easily removed after grilling.
  3. Rinse the fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. If preparing a whole fish, rinse the fish inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels and stitch cavity shut with butcher's twine. Cut 3 diagonal slits on each side of the fish.
  5. Brush the fish and grill grate with a thin coat of cooking oil to prevent sticking on the grill. Oil the grill grate before starting the grill.
  6. If a grill basket is used to hold the fish, be sure to oil that also.

Use the indirect grilling method with a medium hot grill when cooking whole fish and thick fillets or steaks.

  1. Place the fish skin side up on the grill grate over indirect heat area. Do not place directly over the heat source.
  2. Cook the fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Turn to grill on the other side for approximately half way through time.
  3. Insert the tip of a knife in thickest area of the fish to check for doneness. The meat should be flakey and opaque in appearance. The internal temperature of the fish should be at least 145°F.

Cooking with direct heat occurs when you cook the meat directly over the heat source. The fish is cooked quickly over medium or high heat coals or over burners set to medium or high heat on a gas grill. Direct heat is used when grilling thinner fillets and steaks. Thin fish will cook quickly when grilled using direct heat. Because they are thin, the direct heat will cook them thoroughly through to the middle.

For more detailed setup information on grilling, using direct heat, see Beef Grilling.

  1. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to grill.
  2. If skin has not been removed, keep it intact while grilling. The skin will prevent the fish from curling up and flaking apart. The skin is easily removed after grilling.
  3. Rinse the fish thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Brush the fish and grill grate with a thin coat of cooking oil to prevent sticking on the grill. Oil the grill grate before starting the grill.
  5. If a grill basket is used to hold the fish, be sure to oil that also.

Use the direct grilling method with a medium hot grill when cooking thinner fillets and pieces of fish.

  1. Place the fish skin side up on the grill grate over the direct heat source.
  2. Cook the fish for 4 to 6 minutes and then turn to grill on the other side for approximately same amount of time.
  3. Insert the tip of a knife in thickest area of the fish to check for doneness. The meat should be flakey and opaque in appearance. The internal temperature of the fish should be at least 145°F.

When broiling fish, there is no benefit from the infusion of smoked flavoring that occurs when grilling, causing the fish to be fairly bland in taste. This can be remedied by the use of seasoning, such as a mixture of herbs, marinades or basting sauces.

  1. Wash whole fish thoroughly and pat dry. Whole fish should be no more than 2 inches thick. If cooking fillets or steaks, rinse thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels and cut into serving size pieces.
  2. Brush the fish and the broiling pan with oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Place fish on broiler rack skin side down. Do not line the broiler rack with aluminum foil because it will prevent the drippings from falling into the pan below and the drippings that remain on the foil may cause flare-ups to occur.
  4. As with grilling, the distance from the heat source is important for producing fish that is golden brown, moist, flakey, and thoroughly cooked but not overcooked. To check for proper cooking distance for broiling, place the fish on the broiler rack and place the rack on the broiler pan. Set the broiler pan in the oven and measure the distance from the heat source in the oven to the top of the fish. It should be about 4 inches away for most fish and about 5 inches away for thin fillets and whole fish, adjust oven racks accordingly.
  1. Preheat the broiler for 9 or 10 minutes.
  2. Place the broiler rack in the oven to begin broiling. As with grilling, it is necessary to watch the fish carefully as it cooks, making sure the edges are not cooking too fast and if they are, rearrange the pieces or adjust the heat accordingly.
  3. Cook whole fish and 1" thick steaks for approximately 5 minutes per side and fillets for approximately 3 minutes per side. Cooking time will vary with the thickness of the fish. Watch fish closely as it is cooking, especially very thin fillets so that it does not overcook.
  4. Baste at least one time while cooking on the first side. Oil or melted butter (or margarine) can be used for basting or a little lemon can be added to the butter for extra flavor.
  5. Carefully turn the fish to finish cooking. Baste at least once while cooking on second side.
  6. When grilling or broiling, all the pieces will not cook at the same rate so it is necessary to remove them as they finish cooking to avoid overcooking.
  7. Insert the tip of a knife in thickest area of the fish to check for doneness. The meat should be flakey and opaque in appearance. The internal temperature of the fish should be at least 145°F.

There are several methods that can be used to check for the doneness of fish. Some methods work better on some types of fish than others. Similar to meat, fish continues to cook after removing it from the heat. So for a more flavorful result, begin checking for doneness a few minutes before the end of the estimated cooking time. Since the meat of the fish is somewhat translucent, it begins to become opaque as it cooks, which is one method of visually checking for doneness, especially for fillets that are most often not as thick as fish steaks.

The best procedure for checking doneness is to use a cooking thermometer, checking to make sure the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145ºF. To cook fish steaks that are slightly translucent in the center, remove the steaks from the heat when they reach an internal temperature of 135ºF to 140ºF. The fish steaks will continue cooking with the retained heat if they are covered and left to stand a few minutes prior to serving.

Then marinate

Next, I make a flavorful marinade on a sheet pan for the pre-seared fillets to rest in. Always stick to something simple and salty: olive oil, salt, and smashed garlic is a surefire bet, but I also like to use miso, soy sauce, or fish sauce. A sprinkling of pepper or chilies is never a bad idea, either.

It’s difficult for flavor to penetrate through skin, so I arrange the fillets with their flesh against the pan and marinade. If you’re cooking within an hour, just leave your marinating pre-seared fish out on the countertop. Otherwise, pop them in the fridge where they can sit, sopping up flavor, for up to twelve hours.

Anyways, the messy part is over: this is when I pour myself a big glass of wine, set the table, clean up the kitchen, or focus on other dishes.