Blue Fish On The Grill
Fresh fish grilled outside is one of those simple summer pleasures you have to take advantage of when the weather is just right, not too hot or humid. Living near a port city makes it especially easy to get access to quality seafood on a regular basis. Again, take advantage!
Today's catch: Pomatomus Saltatrix, or more simply Blue Fish. It's fitting that the name sounds straight out of a Dr. Suess book considering when seasoned and cooked properly, the flavor is out of this world.
Fresh food deserves fresh seasonings; I like to keep it simple. Starting with the bunch of greens in the corner and moving clockwise, we have cilantro, peeled ginger, lime (specifically the juice), garlic, and coconut milk. All of these go into a blender together with a half cup of water to create a complimentary basting sauce/marinade to use while grilling. The only dry seasonings I used were Old Bay (essential) & black pepper. I gave the fish a thorough coating of the dry rub and let it sit while firing up the grill.
I used a mix of apple wood chips and charcoal kept at a medium-low heat. Instead of putting the fish directly on the grates, lay down some aluminum foil and brush that with olive oil to keep the fish from sticking. The side that was going on the foil first, got a mopping of sauce so it would get seared into the skin. I roasted the fish on one side for 15 minutes before rotating to the other. Add sauce to the other side before flipping.
Once the flesh reached a tender white flakiness, I knew it was ready. Undercooked bluefish will have a pinkness to the bulk of it and not pull away from the bone easily. If you are new to cooking fish, I would suggest getting it sliced into steaks at the market to make it easier to see when it's cooked.
Fried ripe plantains are always my go-to side dish, especially for grilled fish. The combo reminds me of visiting a small beach town when I was back home in Cameroon. There's nothing quite like eating the fresh catch beach side and under the stars, but this meal comes pretty close.