Orange-Glazed Grilled Fish Fillets
Orange-Glazed Grilled Fish Fillets

Good choices include halibut, grouper, yellowfin tuna, catfish and lake whitefish.

We're facing the traditional end of the summer grilling season. No longer will we be spending as much time as possible outdoors, cooking our burgers and hot dogs, steaks and chops and kabobs. It's time to have one last great blast of fire in the grill, to help summer grilling go out in style.

So I'd like to suggest ending the season with a recipe that's spectacular for several reasons.

It's full of flavor, seasoned with citrus juice and marmalade, ginger and garlic. It's also beautiful, because those seasonings caramelize to form a tempting mahogany-brown glaze on the finished dish. And finally, it's healthy -- because the main ingredient is fish.

That's right. I'm suggesting that you make seafood, not the usual red meat or chicken, the grand finale of your summer grilling.

Many delicious, sustainably produced fish varieties work wonderfully on the grill for this recipe, delivering all the meaty satisfaction of a good steak. Try fillets of halibut, grouper, yellowfin tuna, or even sturgeon, farm-raised catfish, or lake whitefish.

(For a long time, one of my favorite fish for grilling with this recipe was swordfish. In recent years, however, concerns over irresponsible fishing methods and mercury levels in swordfish have made people understandably shy away from this fish. Expert guides like the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch -- go to www.montereybayaquarium.org -- now recommend that you buy only swordfish responsibly caught by harpoon or handline from Hawaii, the mainland U.S., or Canada; that you not buy imported swordfish; and that men eat swordfish no more than once a month and women and children avoid it.)

Whatever type of fish you use for this recipe, get it from a reliable seafood shop or supermarket fish department that has a good turnover of fresh product. Only buy fish that looks firm, brightly colored, fresh, and moist and has the fresh, clean scent of the sea with no "off" odors. With so many good options out there, you should always be able to find something delicious that's sturdy enough to stand up to the grill.

The glaze ingredients are open to your own interpretation. Feel free to add a generous pinch of red pepper flakes or a little hot chili sauce to the mixture if you'd like spicier results. Substitute lime juice for the lemon juice. Use Japanese rice vinegar instead of the wine vinegar and throw in a generous dash of soy sauce for an Asian version.

With so many options, you may be excited to try this great grilling recipe again and again. And you don't have to wait for next summer. After all, once Labor Day has passed, it's time to start tailgating!

Orange-Glazed Grilled Fish Fillets Recipe

Serves 4

4 firm fish fillets, each about 1 inch thick and weighing about 6 ounces

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for grilling

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons orange or tangerine marmalade

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper

Salt

Put the fish fillets in a dish large enough to hold them side by side. Brush them all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Grind a little black pepper over both sides of the fillets. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

In a nonreactive saucepan, stir together the orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, marmalade, ginger, garlic, and white pepper. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil; lower the heat slightly and continue boiling until the mixture reduces to about 1/2 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer this glaze to a nonreactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat a grill or broiler.

Return the glaze to a small saucepan and, over low heat, warm it up.

Brush the fish fillets all over with the all of the glaze and season them lightly with salt. Carefully brush the grill's cooking surface with some olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill the fish fillets until they are nicely browned and feel springy to the touch, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

 

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