Fish fillets make it quick and easy to move your grilling indoors


Last updated 11/6/2019 at 4:02pm

Many people refer to the Labor Day weekend, now more than two months past, as the unofficial end of summer grilling season. But those of us who love to grill know that you can't stop just because you've turned the calendar page.

There are diehards, of course, who brave the elements to continue grilling outdoors. I've even known of people who protect their food and themselves with an umbrella in the pouring rain to keep practicing their favorite cooking method, regardless of the fact that they'll trudge back indoors soaking wet and saturated with smoke-but feeling happy that their food still turned out perfect.

I prefer an easier approach. When I want to grill food indoors at home, I like to use of a ridged grill, whether a countertop one that's electrically heated or a simpler model that you heat up right over a burner on your stove. When preheated before food is placed on it, the pan produces flavorful seared markings very similar to those you get from an outdoor grill.

You may not get the exact same tastes, of course, because you'll lack the scent that comes from fat and juices dripping onto hot coals or gas-heated lava rocks beneath an outdoor grill's cooking grid. But, especially if you start with a recipe full of lively seasonings, you won't notice a big difference between the results of outdoor and indoor grilling.

That said, there are other important points to bear in mind. First, I make sure to use a ridged grill with a nonstick surface, so you won't have to grease or spray it before putting food on. More importantly, I prefer to prepare items that cook quickly, because the high-heat method will still fill the kitchen with very fragrant scents and some smoke - so you don't want the cooking to go one for too long. (Be sure to turn on your kitchen fan and crack open a window as well, so you won't set off any smoke alarms!)

For an example of a recipe that fulfills these requirements perfectly, I hope you'll try my Grilled Marinated Swordfish with Garlic, Ginger, Lime and Chiles. It bursts with bright flavors, and the swordfish steaks (you can also use other mild-tasting fish like halibut or yellowtail tuna) cook in little more than 10 minutes. No wonder it became one of the most popular recipes I used when I first began demonstrating my own reversible electric grill/griddle years ago on the Home Shopping Network. (You could also make it with a hinged electric countertop grill, which cooks from both sides at once, cutting the cooking time in half.)

Serve the fish with a rice pilaf and your favorite tomato salsa. Then close your eyes and imagine you're dining outdoors!

Grilled Marinated Swordfish with Garlic, Ginger, Lime and Chiles

Serves 4

1/2 cup (125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 3 medium limes

Grated zest of 1 medium lime

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 small fresh serrano chiles, or 1 large jalapeÒo, halved, stemmed, seeded, deveined and finely chopped

1 small bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon brown sugar

4 swordfish steaks, each about 6 ounces (185 g) and 3/4 inch (18 mm) thick

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large sealable food-storage bag, combine the olive oil, lime juice and zest, garlic, chiles, cilantro, ginger and sugar. Seal the bag and gently shake to combine the ingredients.

Trim the skin and any traces of connective tissue from the sides of the swordfish steaks. If you like, carefully cut out the darker red areas of meat, known as the bloodlines, which have a slightly stronger flavor that some people do not like.

Open the bag and put the swordfish fillets inside with the marinade. Seal the bag, eliminating any air, and gently move the swordfish fillets to coat them evenly. Put the bag inside a pan or shallow bowl large enough to hold it comfortably. Place in the refrigerator and leave the swordfish to marinate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight, turning the bag over occasionally.

Over high heat, preheat a nonstick ridged electric indoor grill or stovetop grill pan. Meanwhile, remove the swordfish steaks from the marinade and pat off excess moisture with paper towels without wiping off the pieces of zest, garlic, chiles, cilantro and ginger. Season the swordfish steaks on both sides with salt and pepper and place them on the grill. Cook them undisturbed, turning them once, until well seared and cooked through to a temperature of 145 F (63 C) on an instant-read thermometer carefully inserted into the center, 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Serve immediately.


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