Broiling is a fish cooking method that's fast, tasty, easy to clean up
after and keeps the stove top clear for other uses. The downside is the
amount of energy used and heating up the kitchen..
Set to go
In this example we'll use a Mexican Moonfish which is an
excellent single portion broiling fish. Most broilers could fit two of
- If you're using a marinade, get your fish soaking in it in the fridge.
You want about 1/2 to 1 hour soak, turning occasionally.
- Make a tray out of aluminum foil sufficient to fit the fish. Fold the
sides and ends to strengthen them so you can lift the fish out of the
broiler by the foil - but not too thick so they cool quickly. If you fold
the sides downward first and then bend them upward it'll be easier to slide
the fish off later because it won't catch on the fold. Punch some
holes through this foil so liquid can drain or you're likely to be steaming
your fish rather than broiling it. Brush the foil with Olive Oil.
- Make sure your fish is ready and dry. If it's been marinading clean
off all marinade it hasn't absorbed. If you're going to use that extra
marinade get it into a saucepan and bring it to a high simmer for about
- Make three shallowly diagonal cuts part way through the flesh on both
sides. Brush both sides of the fish with olive oil, Situate the fish
good side down so it'll be up after turning.
- Some recipes will have you also brush the fish with lemon juice at this
point, or rub it with seasonings. Herbs and seasonings can be worked into
the diagonal cuts to penetrate the flesh better.
- Set you broiler pan low. My old Wedgewood stove has a maximum of 3-1/2
inches between the heating element and the pan but that seems to be enough
for fish of reasonable size. Line your broiler pan with foil so liquid that
drains through the holes you've punched will be easy to clean up. Preheat
the broiler so it's fully up to temperature before putting the fish in.
- Place the fish in its tray onto the broiler pan, slide it in under the
burner and close the door.
- Check your fish periodically so you don't burn it. If you want to keep the
tail and gill cover from charring you can put small pieces of foil over those
parts when they've got enough color.
- When the first side is done and looks
good, slide the broiler tray out. In just a few seconds the sides of the foil
tray will be cool enough for you to grasp them and lift the fish out. Turn
the fish over, put it back on the broiler pan and broil the other side.
- When the fish is done on the second side, bring it out again and slide it
off onto the serving plate, apply sauce, garnish and serve. The finished
Moonfish is shown at the top left corner of this page.
- Some people are a bit sensitive about seeing a real fish in front of
them waiting to be eaten. In those cases you can easily peel off the skin
and disassemble the fish at this point before serving.
Broiling Time Table
These times are approximate because a lot depends on the fish and
particularly on your broiler - they vary a lot.
|Grilling Temperature - Medium for All Selections|
|Fish Form||Size||Grilling Time||Done When|
|Whole Fish||1/2# to 1-1/2#||6 to 9 minutes per 8 ounces||Flakes|
|1/2" to 1" thick||4 to 6 minutes per|
|Medium (20 / pound)|
Large (12 to 15 / pound)
|5 to 8 minutes|
7 to 9 minutes
|12 to 15 / pound)||5 to 8 minutes||Opaque|
|Lobster Tails||6 ounces|
|6 to 10 minutes|
12 to 15 minutes
- Know Your Fish: (hints for many kinds of fish are in our
Varieties of Fish page. Broiling is
more tolerant than grilling but you still want fish that stays together
- Select fish that are fairly thin so they cook through before they burn
on the outside - about 1-1/2 inch max, but steaks and fillets should be at
least 1/2 inch thick or they'll dry out like boards.
- Oil: Use an oil that can stand the temperature. Pure Olive Oil
should do, or Olive Pommace.
- Marinading: If you marinade fish, let them soak up the marinade
for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour in the refrigerator. Fish spoil fast - don't leave them out. If you use
leftover marinade for a sauce bring it to a high simmer for 5 minutes
in a saucepan to make sure it's safe
- Broiler & Foil: That's about all you need to broil fish.
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