Grilling seafood lightens your barbecue

August 22, 2012|By Faith Hicks, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Each week a nutritionist from the University of Maryland Medical Center provides a guest post. This week, Faith Hicks discusses seafood.

When you imagine a typical summer barbecue, does your mind immediately turn to hot dogs, burgers, steak and ribs? That's hardly a menu endorsed by cardiologists.

Try making your summer diet lower in saturated fat and higher in heart-healthy omega 3 fats by adding seafood to your grilling repertoire. Grilling seafood may seem intimidating at first. You may worry about knowing when it is done and how to avoid overcooking it. Here are some hints and a recipe I developed to help make your seafood grilling a healthy and yummy success.

• Give the grates a little brushing of oil before heating the grill to prevent sticking.

•Consider brushing a sauce or marinade containing a little oil on shrimp, scallops or tuna to prevent drying. Store-bought pesto makes a good grilling sauce for just about any seafood. A garlicky Italian dressing also makes a great marinade.

•Select meatier fish like tuna, swordfish or salmon that will stand up to grilling without falling apart. Salmon may not require much in the way of sauce to keep it moist since its natural fat content adds moisture.

•Shrimp and scallops can be skewered or grilled in a basket so that they can be turned for even cooking. Check for doneness by cutting into one with a sharp knife. They are done when they are opaque in the middle.

•Clams and mussels can be grilled directly on the grates or placed in a basket. The shellfish is done when the shells open. Then they can be brushed with a sauce and grilled just a bit more to warm the sauce.

•Cedar planks are great for grilling shrimp or fish because they help prevent overcooking and dryness, and keep food from sticking to the grill, saving cleanup time. The smoky flavor that the cedar imparts to the food is wonderful. This cedar-planked salmon recipe happens to be great for those watching their fat or sodium intake.

Honey mustard cedar-planked salmon

2 cedar planks

2 pounds salmon filet, skin on

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

Place cedar planks on a large cookie sheet and cover with water, weighing planks down with a heavy object, if needed. Soak planks for at least one hour.

Grill cedar planks until they turn brown and begin to smoke.

While preparing cedar planks, mix the mustard, sugar, honey, pepper and garlic powder.

Turn planks browned-side up and place salmon on planks, skin down. Slice salmon crosswise into 3-inch pieces. Space salmon pieces at least half-inch apart on cedar planks. Spread honey mustard mixture evenly on salmon. Place cedar plank on grill. Grill on medium until salmon reaches 135 degrees and flakes with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Salmon can be lifted off the cedar plank with a spatula, leaving the skin behind.

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