When grilling fish, one of the most tedious tasks is trying to get those annoying skin or “silver” side pieces off! If left unattended, these can become long gone shards that you have to throw out because they taste horrible.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways to grill fish without having to worry about the skin. The best way depends on what kind of fish you are cooking and how thick its skin layer is.
This article will go into detail on some helpful tips for grilled fresh fish including: bone-in white meat fish like trout, flounder, or cod; soft-shell crabs; and striped bass. All three of these recipes call for being careful not to burn the flesh as it cooks, which takes longer than just boiling or broiling the meat.
Brush the fish with oil
When cooking whole fish such as trout or salmon, there is an important step that most people skip. This is brushing the skin of the fish with olive or vegetable oil so that it won’t burn when you grill it!
By doing this, however, the skin will become very crispy and delicious. The best way to do this is by rubbing the oil onto the cleaned fish using your hands or a brush.
Make sure to let the fish sit in the oil for at least one minute before grilling it so that all parts are coated properly.
Sprinkle with salt
The best way to grill fish is by using a good source of heat, such as charcoal or gas, and adding some flavor by mixing in a baking mix or seasoning like seasoned breadcrumbs.
Once the fish has been grilled and dried off, you can then season it and fry it up in olive oil! This process is called pan-frying.
The key is making sure that the skin crisps and flairs when cooking so that it tastes better and you feel more conscious about eating healthy fats. To do this, make sure the grill is hot enough and cook the fish for an adequate amount of time.
Put on the grill for 5 minutes
When grilling fish, an important thing to know is how to cook your skin! The best way to make sure that you get crispy, crunchy skin is to start with cold fish. If you are starting from hot fish, this will mean that your house will smell like grilled fish for hours due to all of the escaping steam.
Once the fish is cool, wash it off thoroughly under running water. Now, here’s where things can get tricky. Depending on the type of fish you have, its fat content, and whether or not you like strong flavors, may determine what kind of grill skin you get!
The easiest fish to grill are white meat fish such as trout or flounder. They do not contain much flavor themselves, so there is no need to season the flesh. Because they don’t taste very sweet, there is less risk of burning them. Also, if the tine bones come away easily, then these can be left in when cooking the rest of the fish.
If you want more flavorful browned-on-flavor fish, begin by rubbing the cleaned fish all over with olive oil. This helps promote crisp, golden grill marks. Next, sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
Now, slide the fish onto the grill, and cover. After five minutes, check to see if the grill skin has crisped up yet.
Flip the fish and cook for another 5 minutes
When cooking whole fish, how to grill skin-on depends mostly on whether you like crispy or cooked-through skin. If you prefer your skin more crunchy, then start with raw fish and hot fire.
Grill the fish head down until it is fully cooked and check if the flesh flakes easily when pressed. Then turn up the heat slightly and let the skin crisp up as it will take longer for this to happen once the meat is heated through.
Remove the fish and serve
When cooking whole fish, such as trout or cod, it is very important to remove the skin before putting the fish onto the grill. This is because if left on, the skin can burn badly while you are grilling the flesh of the fish.
When baking flaky white meat fish like snapper or halibut, leaving the skin on is fine. But for thicker white meat fish, this is not okay!
The thick mussel-like layer that covers some types of whitefish (for example, hake) will dry out when grilled, causing it to taste bitter and/or burnt. This does not matter too much with thinner white meat fishes, but it is not recommended for stronger flavored ones.
So what are our tips then? If you would like to have crispy, delicious charred bits of fish skin, we recommend either broiling the fish first, or starting off by salting the fish and then rubbing it in olive oil. After that, throw it under the grill until the salt starts to brown slightly.
Try using a pan spray or coat the pan with oil
When cooking fish, whether it is fresh or frozen, there can be two things that sometimes get stuck– burning or sticking. For most people, this does not matter too much as they are able to scrape off the burnt skin, but for more professional grillers, this can pose a challenge!
The first thing that some people do when they burn their fingers while scraping away the burnt skin is to soak their hands in water which may help take of some of the thick grease, but what if there’s no water? Or what if you just don’t have time to wash your hands before trying again?
Another option is to use a pan sprays or coat the pan with oil so that the fat will act as an adhesive agent and keep the charred bits attached until you can remove them. This could be helpful if you are starting from raw meat or seafood because the natural oils in the food would work better than nothing.
Cook the fish in the pan
When grilling most meat, the internal temperature is usually known because a thermometer can be stuck into the thickest part of the meat to find out. For cooked-through meats, that isn’t possible with thicker fleshed foods like fish.
So how do you know if your fish is done? The best way to check this is to use a knife to poke it slightly under the skin or pull at it very gently. If the meat comes away easily then it is probably overcooked and should be returned to the grill/oven until properly cooked.
If the meat doesn’t come off easily though, put it back onto the grill for a few more minutes! This will ensure that the proper amount of time has passed and that the fish is fully cooked all the way through.
Brush with oil
When grilling fish, how to grill skin depends mostly on whether you like your grilled fish more or less crunchy. If you love crispy skins, then start early before the flesh can overcook!
If you want to avoid having to scrape off burnt or charred skin, use an olive oil brush to wash down the meat as it cooks. This way, any leftover bits of skin are coated in some of the oil, preventing sticking and scraping.
Olive oils contain antioxidants that help keep healthy cells happy and functioning, which is important for strong bones and normal heart function.