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Grilling Salmon Like a Pro
 
Cooking a smoky fish recipe is one thing, but grilling it without ruining the skin is another. In fact, the trouble with fish-grilling arises when I’ve just set up the Hibachi with the right amount of coal, with the vents keeping the constant flow of air inside, but the heat becomes uneven in a span of thirty minutes or so. I’d grit my teeth in frustration when the skin gets stuck on the parallel wires. Also, there’s the potential of burning the lower area of the salmon and leaving the upper side raw.

Check Your Coals

I thought I learned from mistake, or maybe it was just some well-groomed French chef back at cooking school who taught me tricks to maintain the heat level so as not to burn the salmon when being grilled. Actually, what he did was check the coals time and again. In some tropical areas I’ve been to, they wrap the fish in aluminum tin foil or banana leaves. Since these aren’t always available, the French chef, in his faltering English, demonstrated to me how he positioned the fish away on the opposite side where the coal lumps are placed.

Alternative Tricks

Somehow, I never thought my Hibachi would be too small for this salmon grill trick to work out. He showed me eventually how to put an improvised insulator such as an aluminum pan right over the grill, while putting another mesh or fish grill above it. If this still sounds inconvenient, he asked me to baste the salmon with lemon juice while rotating the Hibachi time and again. At the rate I’m going, I told him, I’d probably be finished in five hours!

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Monday, May 7. 2007