grilling: freshness makes the difference by Costas Spiliadis Nothing captures the essence The Barbecue! Bible, Steven MINIMAL SEASONING of summer and Indian summer Raichlen’s compendium. While marinades, spice rubs days like fresh food prepared and However, a slightly different set and the like are great ways to add eaten outdoors. In Greece, people of rules governs fish, seafood, and flavor to foods before cooking, have been cooking on the open grill vegetable grilling. they are often overwhelming for for thousands of years. This ancient delicate fish and seafood. Strong QUALITY COUNTS cooking technique remains today tastes like garlic, chiles, or oil can The first secret of great grilling the best way to enjoy the country’s mask the sweet, subtle taste of the is using top-quality ingredients at cuisine— simple, virtually unadorned, sea that suffuses fresh fish. For this the peak of freshness. More than and full of natural flavor. reason, I recommend grilling fish any other cooking technique, My cooking philosophy has and seafood plain and adding just a grilling draws on and accentuates always been: find the finest nature bit of seasoning—extra virgin the flavor already present in food. has to offer and alter it as little as olive oil, lemon juice and herbs to Braising can make a tasty dish out possible. This belief, derived from your taste—after cooking. an ordinary cut of meat, but items Greek food traditions, finds its ideal FISH AND SEAFOOD ON THE GRILL for the grill need to be of premium method in grilling. A hot grill cooks Grilled whole fish is a long- quality. Then only the most basic food quickly, thereby preserving standing Greek tradition; a whole of preparations is needed to bring the original taste and quality. I fish will retain more of the flavor out their best. have introduced the idea of simple than steaks or fillets. Best for grilling at the Milos restaurants in GRILLED GARDEN VEGETABLES whole fish grilling are white- Montreal and New York City. During the summer, home fleshed varieties, such as pompano, Fresh fish, seafood, and vegetables gardens overflow with colorful red snapper, striped bass, dorade, are grilled, then simply drizzled tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, pageot, and loup de mer. Or try with extra virgin olive oil, lemon onions, peppers and herbs. Grilling your own catch of the day. The juice, and herbs. For me this is the is the perfect way to capture the ideal weight is one to three pounds. ultimate way to really taste what flavor of fresh produce. A lemon Here’s how I tell when the the land and sea have provided. juice and olive oil mixture makes fish is done: Before cooking I put Grilling is an uncomplicated an exceptional marinade to season a few insertions by the side of process that yields amazing results, and moisten vegetables before the fin. While it’s on the grill, I provided a few basic tenets are grilling. To ensure that vegetables periodically tug on the fin. If it followed. While many of us are cook evenly, it is best to chop them resists, I know the fish needs more familiar with steaks, hamburgers the same size, then place them on cooking. If the fin pulls off, I and salmon steaks on the grill, a skewer. Larger vegetables like know it’s done. Again, the natural many other foods can be enjoyed zucchini and eggplant may be flavor is such that little or no mari- this way. Innovative grill and sliced lengthwise and placed nation or seasoning is needed prior barbecue recipes of all kinds directly on the grates of the grill. to grilling. Other savories from the abound in many of the new cook- Watch carefully for doneness as sea like shrimp, scallops, squid, books out this summer, including vegetables cook very quickly. and cuttlefish are also tasty on the grill. However, they generally benefit THE HINGED GRILL a less than fresh specimen as from a light marinade of lemon For cooking fish whole, a opposed to poor grilling technique. juice and olive oil before cooking. device called the hinged grill is Summer and early fall present helpful. Though there are various a bounty of fresh foods for grilling; GAS GRILLS BEST FOR FISH designs available, the hinged grill if you enjoy vegetable gardening Charcoal grilling is the perfect is basically two metal grates that and fishing yourself, you can be complement for meats and other are joined on one side, coming your own best source for ingredients. traditional barbecue items. For together like a waffle iron. The You can’t go wrong if you stick fresh fish, however, gas grills are whole fish is placed between the with the recipe passed on through ideal in order to retain their natural grates, protecting the delicate skin centuries of Greek cooks: freshness taste. The idea is to cook the fish and flesh from the intense heat of and simplicity. quickly with a neutral heat source direct fire. The hinged grill also that does not impart strong flavors. allows you to keep the fish in one Costas Spiliadis is Chef-Owner One wants to experience the intrinsic piece while turning it. Yet another of Estiatorio Milos in Montreal goodness of the plump sardines benefit is that it prevents the fish and New York City. being grilled, not the overpowering from sticking to the grill by keep- taste of charcoal. Also, gas provides ing it moist. Usually, however, a a more consistent heat source, fish clinging to the grill is a sign of cooking foods more evenly.