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Grilling or Poaching Fish

Swordfish has been overfished, wild salmon is extinct on the Atlantic coast and rapidly disappearing in the Pacific Northwest, and farmed salmon has been found to contain dangerously high levels of cancer-causing chemicals like PCB's and pesticides.  We boycotted swordfish several years ago and are fortunate to have a regional supplier based in Portsmouth, NH, Sanders Fish Market, who offers wild salmon, so we buy from their truck when they come up to Concord every Friday.  We are willing to pay the higher price (about 1/3 more) to help establish a market for a fish that is both healthier and better tasting.  Anyone who has tasted wild salmon will never go back to farmed, artifically colored salmon.    See Salmon Dishes and Yogurt Sauces for accompaniments.


Note: Requires chilling.   Some farm-raised fish are not small! Adjust your ingredients accordingly.   In a Better Homes and Gardens grilling cookbook,   seafood filets generally are grilled in a greased basket or on greased tin foil, otherwise they may flake and fall apart.  Steaks are thicker and less susceptible to that, so they can be grilled on a well-greased rack.   The same approach can be used for broiling.  Joy of Cooking cookbook recommends preheating the broiler at the highest setting available.  Thinner filets are broiled 2" below the broiler, thicker cuts (steaks), 6" below the broiler.

1. Place fish skin-side down on a covered grill with medium coals. If filet cut  is large and thick, make 1/4" deep slashes in top. Baste with marinade, cover and grill about 10 minutes.

2. Baste, turn, baste again,and grill 5-10 minutes longer, till fish flakes easily. Or, broil
4" from broiler coil about 5 minutes on each side.


Note:  Joy of Cooking cookbook recommends starting small fish or cut pieces   in a boiling liquid, large pieces in cold liquid, because skin may burst if placed in boiling water.  Poaching fish could result in overcooking, so the authors recommend against using a lid.  If a fishing poacher is not used, they suggest tying the fish loosely in muslin or using a poaching paper.

1. Bring to a boil 2 qts water, with some white wine, lemon slices, peppercorns, if desired. 
2. Reduce heat, add steaks,  and poach for 5-8 minutes or till they turn opaque and are firm to the touch. Remove from liquid and keep warm.