Labor Day is the traditional last salute to summer. A day off, family and friends gathering in the backyard for a barbeque one last time before the cool of fall arrives. Starting up the grill usually means hamburgers and hot dogs... maybe a steak. Toss all that aside. If you are a fisherman, take the opportunity to show off your catch- a side slab of striped bass, some walleye or flounder fillets, maybe even some salmon, mahi-mahi or halibut from that summer trip? No matter your choice, your grill can make it a gourmet feast.
SALSA TIME: Nothing can add zest to your grilled fish like a good salsa. When it comes
to salsa, your favorite pico de gallo or favorite fresh salsa works perfectly. First you need to prepare your grill for indirect cooking. The worst thing you can do to your fillets or fish steak is over cook it. If the fillets are thin- walleye, flounder or similar- I suggest wrapping them in heavy duty foil with a light basting of olive oil or butter and your favorite spices. Many people will simply use some black or cayenne pepper. I recently have been using McCormick's Grill Mates Belgian-Style White Ale seasoning or some garlic salt.
One of my favorite toppings is corn salsa featuring a lot of fresh summer veggies- fresh corn off the cob sauteed over high heat(saute the corn alone- this is the only
cooking), one jalapeno pepper, one red bell pepper, scallions, diced tomato, a tablespoon of cilantro and two limes worth of lime juice. Other than the corn, the rest of the ingredients are added cold. This can be used on any thicker fish added just before serving. Three ears of corn, a couple big tomatos and the other above ingredients will make enough salsa for six people. Another good salsa is mango salsa. The ingredients are similar to the above except use mango (you can even add a little pineapple) instead of the corn. The mango is particularly good on Tuna steaks. This is also added just before serving
Ron's Old Bay Fillets au Gratin
Our panfish specialist, Ron Wagner, has a great recipe for perch or crappie fillets. Put
the fillets in aluminum foil and cover them in slices of butter- basting with olive oil works also. Season to taste with McCormick Old Bay seasoning. Grill the fillets in the foil open or closed as you prefer. When the fillets are cooked through- don't over cook- sprinkle fresh grated parmesian cheese on the fillets, brown it lightly and serve. Delicious!
Grilling with skewers is a fan favorite. This requires thicker fish like striped bass chunks or similar. You can also add scallops or shrimp for a variety. Season with your favorite flavors. One of my favorites is to baste with an Asiansoy mixture, a sweet and sour or a Sweet Chili sauce. Some people like to add the vegetables with the fish on the same skewers. This could be problematic as the veggies- onion wedges, bell peppler slices in red, yellow, orange and green for color, zucchini, and cherry or roman tomatoes- cook at different speeds and might burn if not cooked on separate skewers. Again, manage your temps and times by using indirect grilling. If you use wood skewers, soak them in water before placing over the fire.
Just Add Veggies
The foil cooking method gives you a lot of flexibility. Our pro staff Kristilee Christensen likes to serve her fish with roasted summer veggies also done in aluminum foil over the grill. McCormick Pinch of Herbs or Garden Vegetable seasoning is a perfect seasoning to add to your zucchini slices, egg plant, tomatoes, and onion mix. Add or subtract vegetables to your preference.
These are just a few of the many grilling options you might try for your Labor Day summer feast. Small red and blue potatoes roasted on the grill or rice- accompanied by any leftover sauce or salsa- is a perfect pairing to the fish and veggies. Bon Appetite and Live The Passion!