The Simple Trick A Michelin-Star Chef Uses For A Perfect Crust On Grilled Fish

Grilled fish with lemons and herbs
Grilled fish with lemons and herbs - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

Talks around the grill are often dominated by steaks and sausages, but fish is a severely underrated choice that deserves attention. The delicate flavor of seafood comes alive on the grill, making the smokiness more apparent while the skin crisps up and gives way to tender flesh. Getting grilled fish with that desired crispiness takes practice, yet there's one trick from a Michelin-star chef that makes it a little easier.

Whether you're making grilled swordfish or smoky tilapia, the key to perfectly grilled fish is in the prep work. While this could mean seasoning properly or ensuring you've picked the right fish for the job, it can also be as simple as moving a few scales around. As Michelin-star chef Michael Cimarusti — owner of restaurants Providence and Connie and Ted's — demonstrates in a video for Positively Groundfish, the method results in a fish crust that's perfectly even.

Using the back of a knife to move the scales forwards and then backwards does two important things for the fish. The forward movement helps to get rid of any lingering moisture on the fish that will cause it to steam and soften rather than crisp up on the grill. When the scales are moved back into position, they form a solid barricade that protects the fish. Closing them rids the fish's surface of any perforations that may prevent the crust from cooking evenly while allowing the rest of the fish to remain moist when grilled.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Try These Other Methods For Grilled Fish That's Always Crispy

Grilled fish and a salad
Grilled fish and a salad - Luchezar/Getty Images

Not ensuring that your filet is completely dry is a mistake everyone makes when grilling fish. So, in the same vein as the tip above, you'll want to do all you can to rid your fish of moisture. While the scale method works wonders, you can also do some extra prep work by salting the fish. A quick salt rub brings the moisture out from the fish, allowing the heat of the grill to cook it more effectively. Let the fish brine for around 10 minutes then rinse it and thoroughly pat it dry.

For the best crust, make sure you're cooking the fish at high temperatures. Heating it somewhere in the 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit range will ensure that the crust cooks both evenly and quickly. Taking too long on the grill could lead to overcooking, causing the flesh to turn firm and rubbery, which won't be pleasant to eat. Also, make sure you've prepped the grill ahead of time before laying your piece of fish down onto the grate. A clean, oiled grill will prevent the fish from sticking and ruining the perfect crust you've just worked on.

Read the original article on Tasting Table