It’s Friday afternoon, it’s been a big week and I’ve got a hankering for some fish AND to fire up the BBQ again. So as the little girl reminds me in the Old El Paso commercials, why not do both? But since I’m hungry now and don’t have time to faff about defrosting things, can I work with the frozen fillets right out of the freezer? Namely can I BBQ frozen fish?
Let’s find out!
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I was never much of a fish fan until..
Short of the occasional feed of shark (flake) courtesy of the occasional feed of fish and chips growing up (and not counting fish fingers as a toddler), I got on the fish bandwagon a little late, namely late in my thirties. Sure I ate some on Good Friday and I enjoyed breaking out a bit of seared Salmon for special occasions (mum got me onto that one, I love salmon) but the number of seafood meals across a single year was something I could easily count on one hand (and taking me to a seafood restaurant was useless if there was a steak option on the menu.)
What changed my tune was Tim Ferris’s Four Hour Body book. I’d been a big fan of his podcast and just got into his books (I’m working my way through Tools of Titans for the nth time right now) and took him up on his suggestions of eating both more fish and legumes such as beans just as a general health thing and a few years later, I’m still enjoying both and they’re great go to proteins. Especially Basa fillets which are cheap, plentiful and very easy to work with (even if they need a little flavouring.) I’ve usually got a pack in the freezer good to go and have it at least once a week when I come home from work and cook myself some lunch.
But now that I have yet another way of cooking things around the house (to add to the air fryer and the George Foreman grill), will my fish frying ways now permanently moved to the hotplate outside?
And more importantly, can you BBQ frozen fish?
Tools…er…fish of the trade!
I’ve fished out from the freezer (pun intended) a basa fillet from Woolworths and a Birds Eye Ocean Selection Fish Fillet with Moroccan seasoning. Now while that does sound rather fancy, it’s actually just another basa fillet just with seasoning. No need to flavour this bad boy then!
I’m going to get the BBQ (aka the Red Rocket) nice and hot and just throw them on with no ‘wait around things to defrost in room temperature’ ceremony whatsoever. I don’t thaw them out any other time I cook them on other devices, so why start here?
And since it’s just me at home cooking away and wishing forward a glorious weekend, there really isn’t any point using more than one burner to do this. Like how I cook meat 98% of the time, I like to sear both sides for a few minutes and then drop the temperature down to take care of the rest. But here even though it starts frozen, it really doesn’t take long to cook through.
Top tip: Don’t use tongs to turn it over, opt for some kind of flipper. This kind of fish falls to bits easily when cooked and using tongs will just rip it apart even quicker.
Now if you’re new to the world of BBQ frozen fish and basa fillets in general, unless they’re seasoned like the far more exciting Moroccan version there, they can be pretty plain. However they do taste even better with lemon, a little salt or my personal go to:
Once you’ve cooked up both sides then sprinkle away. You won’t need much unless you want things very spicy.
Looking through the fridge I also spied something to go with it:
These I picked up at Harris Farms Markets, a big undercover market type of place here in Albury and my kids love it, especially for taco night. And since they weren’t doing much in the fridge right now, they joined the Friday fry up as we continued with our tasty looking BBQ frozen fish fury! (Or something.)
And in no time flat we ended up with something like this (my food photography is more functional than flattering :P)
BBQ frozen fish – the taste test
The plain fillet with the dash of chilli powder – Tasted just the same as it would coming out of the frying pan or directly off the George Foreman grill. Plenty of chilli flavour but the BBQ didn’t unlock anything magical here.
The Moroccan fillet – Maybe it was just me but I reckoned I tasted more of the flavour additions this way than other cooking. Did I immediately want run out to the nearest Woolworths, grab more of these fishy offerings and cook them all across the afternoon then?
Er no, no I did not. Still, it was tasty.
The street taco – Look these things work no matter what you put in them really..
So can you BBQ frozen fish? You sure can – just go slow, be careful with flipping it, have some seasoning on hand to taste and don’t be surprised when some of it still comes away stuck to the hotplate (this will be a given.) However if you were looking to unlock some hidden taste sensation by cooking frozen fish fillets this way…sorry to disappoint. It still made a tasty lunch though..