Grilling Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Seafood: Let the Grill Do the Work

Grilling is one of the best ways to prepare Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice fish and seafood in the summertime, but it also can be intimidating. Fish is so delicate that a few wrong steps can cause the fish to fall apart

Two of the top tips are to touch the fish no more than necessary – let the direct heat of the grill do the work for you – and to start with a clean surface lightly sprayed with Hy-Vee non-stick cooking spray.

Wild salmon, which is coming into our stores fresh from Alaska for the next couple of months, is great on the grill. So are halibut steaks, swordfish and tuna. Other fish can work well with some extra precaution, and I’ll get to that later.

Plank it:

A popular way to prepare wild salmon is to cook it on cedar planks, which adds nice smokiness and a cedar flavor to the fish. To plank salmon, just soak the plank in water overnight.

Or, if you want to infuse some other flavors, try soaking the planks in smoked porter beer or an oaked chardonnay.

Pouch it:

If you don’t want to take a chance of the fish sticking, cook it en papillote, which literally means cooking “in paper.” If you’re using parchment paper, as the French recommend, use medium-high indirect heat. Add a little white wine, some fresh herbs and vegetables or citrus fruits, like lemon, orange or grapefruit, and you’ve got a meal in a bag.

A foil pouch also works. Just make sure you poke a few holes in the foil to allow the smoke flavor to infuse.

Marinate it in alcohol:

An alcohol marinade can release a new flavor sensation, but be sure not to overdo it. Alcohol is great for tenderizing meat, so don’t overdo it – 30 minutes tops, just long enough to infuse the flavor. If the fish is in the marinade too long, especially if it’s an acidic marinade, the proteins can begin to coagulate and the cooking process can begin.

Some combinations to think about include tequila-lime scallops, bourbon and brown sugar-glazed wild salmon, whiskey and brown sugar-glazed wild salmon, and vodka and wild salmon.

Skin on or off:

This is a matter of preference. If you’re going to remove the skin, start with the presentation side down on the grill, and flip it only one time, after about 4 minutes.

If you’re going to leave the skin on, that’s the presentation side and there’s no need to flip it. Just make sure the skin is crispy and not mushy.

Again, you don’t want to mess with it too much. It will release itself from the grill when it is cooked. Moving it around on the grill tears up the flesh.

Other fish:

Catfish, tilapia and some of the more delicate white fishes generally don’t hold up well during grilling, but you can still enjoy them. Hy-Vee sells stainless steel fish baskets that will hold them together.

Whole rainbow trout also works well. Score the skin on both sides and slip citrus and herbs under the skin to add more flavor. Some of the herbs that work well include thyme, tarragon, fennel, dill, rosemary and oregano.

Don’t ever do this:

One thing you never want to do is re-cook shrimp. You can reheat it briefly – 30 seconds tops –  but any more than that will make it a rubbery mess.

A good way to grill raw, deveined shrimp is to skewer, add some lemon and pepper and grill a couple of minutes on each side. Be sure you use some of the larger shrimp available in our seafood cases. Shrimp is not a Responsible Choice at Hy-Vee yet, but we’re working on it and will have shrimp that meets our environmental standards by the end of 2015.

Don’t overcook it:

One of the common mistakes in grilling fish is to overcook it. Here’s a guide:

Fillets (tilapia and catfish): 1/2- to 3/4-inch thickness, medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes

Firm steaks (halibut, wild salmon, tuna, swordfish): 1-inch thickness, medium to medium-high heat, 10 minutes

Lobster tails: 8- to 10-ounce, medium heat, 8 to 10 minutes

Raw shrimp (not a Responsible Choice): 21- to 25-count per pound, medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes; under 10-count per pound, 6 to 8 minutes, medium heat

Farmed scallops, clams, mussels: under 12 per pound, medium heat, 4 to 5 minutes

Recipe Spotlight: Whether with Spicy or Summery Sauce, Swordfish is Perfect for the Grill

If you’re looking for a perfect grilling fish, Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice swordfish may be it. It is always sold as steaks, and the meat is so firm, and well, meaty, that many many non-fish eaters will gladly eat swordfish.

Its firm texture also helps prevent the steaks from falling apart on the grill, a huge plus.

Cook swordfish like you would a rare steak: Use high heat to sear the outside, and let it stay a little rare in the middle. I cook it about 5 minutes on one side, then 4 to 5 minutes on the other for an inch-thick steak. The uneven time gives you a great sear on one side (the side you serve facing up) while not overcooking the swordfish.

Make sure to leave the skin on when you grill, but take it off to serve. The skin is rubbery, but it helps keep the meat moist.


Grilled Swordfish with Red Curry Coconut Sauce

All you need:

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk, divided
  • 3 1/2 tbsp red curry paste, divided
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • squeeze of fresh lime
  • 4 swordfish steaks, about 2 pounds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped green onion, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Grilled baby bok choy and steamed rice, for serving

All  you do:

  1. Scoop 1/4 cup coconut cream from the top of the chilled coconut milk and transfer it to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup coconut milk to achieve a smooth consistency and slowly incorporate it into the curry paste mixture.
  2. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened to a thin sauce consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the grill for direct heat cooking over medium-high heat. Season the swordfish steaks with salt, pepper and olive oil and place on clean grill grates. Grill 4 to 5 minutes per side with the lid closed until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve the swordfish with the sauce, topped with green onions and cilantro. Grilled baby bok choy and steamed rice make a great side dish.

Grilled Swordfish with Tomato Orange Salad

All you need:

  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4 (6 oz, 1-inch-thick each) swordfish steaks
  • 1 pound mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 (5 oz) container baby arugula
  • squeeze of fresh lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • olive oil for brushing

All you do:

  1. For the swordfish, remove the zest from 1 orange with a microplane (yielding about 2 teaspoons) and reserve. Cut away the peel and white pith from oranges; cut out the segments and reserve. Squeeze any remaining juice from the orange membranes into a small bowl and add orange zest, 2 tablespoons oil, shallot, salt and pepper. Pour into a large food-storage bag; add swordfish steaks, seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature while preparing grill.
  2. For the salad, gently stir together the orange segments, tomatoes, basil, olives, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss baby arugula with fresh lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside.
  3. Heat an outdoor gas grill, or prepare coals for a charcoal grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Remove swordfish steaks from marinade; discard marinade. Brush the cooking grates clean and oil the grill rack. Brush swordfish steaks with oil. Grill swordfish over direct heat 10 minutes, turning once, or until just opaque but still moist in the center. Place arugula mixture on a large platter, top with the steaks and then top with the tomato orange mixture; serve immediately.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Cases are Brimming with Responsible Choice Options from Around the World

Seafood Case

The seafood cases at Hy-Vee stores are brimming with sustainable seafood options, branded Responsible Choice to demonstrate our commitment to healthy choices for your family, the environment, and the world’s oceans and the various species they support.

One of the best choices is Idaho rainbow trout from Clear Springs Foods. They are definitely the leaders in the industry for Responsible Choice trout, and Clear Springs is the only trout supplier we’re featuring now. We had some others that weren’t as environmentally friendly, so this is a big change that comes with Hy-Vee’s commitment to responsibly source all of its fresh and store brand frozen seafood by the end of 2015.

Clear Springs Foods made the grade because the fish are farm-raised in a closed system of concrete raceways fed by pristine natural spring waters. The same company provides ready-to-bake options, such as Parmesan-crusted Idaho rainbow trout.

Customers can also feel confident about Pacific cod, which is probably the most recognized fish in the world. People like this white fish because of its mild flavor and low fat content. Back in the day, sea merchants traded cod for supplies, and Atlantic stocks have collapsed as a result. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has rated some Atlantic cod fisheries as a Red ‘Avoid’ because of the long history of overfishing.

Pacific cod, on the other hand, has been very well managed, so the stocks are good. Our cod comes from Alaska, where limits have been imposed on what can be caught and how much can be caught.

Previously frozen, this Pacific cod coming out of Alaskan waters lives close to the sea floor and is caught in pots – not by bottom trawls – and bycatch is mostly eliminated. If other species are caught, they remain alive and they can be thrown back into the water. With longlines, which aren’t included in the sustainable practices we require at Hy-Vee, the fish can be dead when it’s pulled into the boat.

Halibut is another popular responsibly sourced Pacific fish. Its availability is limited, though, because limits were put in place because conservationists have noticed there haven’t been as many juveniles. We’ll see more fresh supplies in early March – great timing, as this is a good grilling fish.

A good starter fish for people who want to introduce more seafood into their diets is tilapia, which Hy-Vee brings in fresh from Ecuador. It’s a clean, white fish that takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. If you want a non-fishy-tasting fish, tilapia is the way to go. Tilapia are vegetarians, so farmers don’t have to use fish meal or other fish, making it very environmentally friendly. It’s also a good value fish.

Very close to tilapia in taste is swai or basa, a less common name for this river fish from Vietnam. It’s a type of catfish.

Another very popular Responsible Choice in the Midwest is channel catfish, a river fish that many of us grew up with and know well. Hy-Vee’s catfish is domestic and farm-raised in ponds, mostly in Mississippi. We offer it in three forms: as fillets (the most expensive option), whole fish (about $3 less per pound than fillets) and as catfish nuggets (the most affordable variety).

Also popular are ahi tuna and swordfish, which are pole caught in Indonesia without using other fish as bait. Each shipment comes with a letter certifying that it was caught using this sustainable practice. Both are great grilling-weather fish.

Our Responsible Choice initiative has changed what’s available in the seafood case, and in some cases introduced people to some new fish. Our customers are overwhelmingly supportive of this and think Hy-Vee is doing the right thing.