Fish Rubs for Grilling

Grilling season again. Temperatures rise and so does the need for al fresco cooking. In my circle I'm the oddball since I prefer grilling seafood. The usual burgers, hotdogs, chicken is alright, but to me, the height of ecstasy is a good grilled fish steak, or fillet. It's amazing what one can do grilling-wise with something from the sea.

A great method of grilling fish is via seafood rubs. Simply rub the herbs and condiments into the fish, let the mixture stand 5-15 minutes, and cook. In every case, it's always best to cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions so that they will be easy to turn when grilling. Brush the fish very lightly with olive oil before cooking; and always start grilling with the skin side up. Turn the fish once during cooking. It's easiest to slide a metal spatula under the fish and turn. And most important, cook fish about 5-8 minutes per inch of thickness. Of course, if it's a thin fillet, use less time. Cook until it's sightly opaque in color. To be sure, jab the fish with a fork in the thickest part to check for doneness. Always remove from heat soon as it turns translucent.

For the grilling itself, common sense always applies. Seafood cooks best over a medium-hot fire. Also, make sure the grill is hot before cooking; and brush some vegetable oil on the grill prior to cooking.

Below are given four rubs for seafood. The seafood can be either 4 fish steaks (about 6 ounces each; fish fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds); or a whole fish, cleaned and scaled (2-3 pounds). If you need more condiments or herbs, adjust accordingly. Still, it's up to you. Don't go by what I say. If you're adventurous, try to create your own blend. Almost every culture has a seafood rub. Experiment and enjoy.

Basic Caribbean Rub

Squeeze juice of half lemon over fish. Rub fish with 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried) ; 3 cloves garlic, finely minced; salt and ground black pepper to taste. Brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and grill.

Indian Rub

Blend 1 tablespoon garam masala; 1 teaspoon brown sugar; 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder; 1/4 teaspoon paprika; and salt to taste. Run onto fish; sprinkle with olive oil and cook.

Chipotle Rub (For those who like it hot)

Blend 1 tablespoon chipotle chilies (can use canned chilies, if desired, and remove seeds if you want reduced heat); 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 3 cloves minced garlic. Rub into fish. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and grill.

Asian Rub

Combine 2 tablespoons honey; 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger; juice of half a lime; 2 teaspoons soy sauce; 1 clove finely minced garlic; and 1/2 cup sliced scallions. Rub into fish and grill.