Let's skewer some fish

Let’s make fish kebobs.

 

Kebobs — pieces of grilled or roasted meat on a spit or skewer — apparently originated in the Middle East, but now are popular all over the world. Goat meat likely was used first, but the dish has evolved to include most anything that can be stuck on a stick, including fish, fowl, fruit and vegetables. In Norway, you can get a whale kebob. Salmon and halibut, both of which are fresh and available in July, make delicious kebobs.

It’s fun to cook kebobs on on an outdoor grill. You can cook them under a broiler, but they taste better with the smoky flavor of grilling. A couple of chunks of alder on the coals will add still another layer of flavor.

Most skewers are either bamboo or stainless steel, and are pointed on one end. Wooden skewers should be soaked in water before use, or they’ll burn. Wiping the skewers with an oily paper towel before use makes it easier to skewer and unskewer the food.

Preparing fish kebabs is simple. Cut a skinned, bone-free part of a fillet into bite-size cubes, then spear the cubes alternately between pieces of, say, yellow onion and red bell pepper. To prevent the fish from sticking to the grill top, brush the grill and the kebobs with light olive oil. Even better, spray a stainless pastry cooling rack with Pam, place that on top of the grill and cook the kebobs on top of the rack.

Grill the kebabs just long enough for the fish to become opaque on the inside. Small pieces of fish cook quickly, so don’t turn your back on them. Turn the kebobs now and then, so they cook evenly on all sides.

A tasty sauce will improve your kebobs, but wait until the kebabs are ready to remove from the grill before you apply the sauce, or it will burn. For halibut and salmon kebobs, try brushing on a pesto made with basil, garlic, grated parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, kosher salt and pepper. Another good choice for a sauce is chopped fresh tarragon, fresh lime juice and melted butter. Or make a homemade tartar. Be sure the sauce is warm, so it doesn’t cool down the fish.

Kebabs cool quickly, so they should be removed from the grill and immediately served on warm plates. Small pieces of fish cool off fast, so have your drinks, side dishes and people at the table when you put the kebobs on the grill.

When serving, you can either remove the fish and vegetables from the skewers or leave them on. Either way, drizzle on more sauce after plating, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fish kebabs are easy and fun to prepare and eat. Do them right, and you’ll hear applause and “More!”

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.

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