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How to Griddle Fish & Seafood Guide – All You Need to Know!

Griddling 101

 

Don’t you just love the freshness of seafood? A griddled fish with some chips can make any day great! Or how about a lobster roll with a buttered and toasted bun?

It’s summer and the best time of year to eat seafood. The fishmongers have the best catches, and the weather is great to dig into some Mediterranean-style squid or some paprika shrimp.

The griddle is the best cooking appliance to get that sear on any seafood. Grills flare-up and cook inconsistently – letting all the juices drip down. Ovens dry out and can make dishes rubbery. And don’t even get started on microwaves, which can seep out all the flavor from that prime lobster.

So, cook seafood on the griddle. It’s the only appliance on which you get a seared crust, locked-in juices, and you can even steam with a basting cover! That means juicy, crispy, and fresh seafood every time!

In this guide, we will teach you all you need to know about fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, squid, and octopus. You’ll learn how to buy, cut, prep, season, and cook every single one of these ingredients.

That means you’ll know how to spot the freshest catch in the fishmonger, how to prep, all the way to cooking it up deliciously on the griddle. All the details, know-how, and tips you need to make no mistakes.

Go ahead, click below what you want to griddle up!


 


 

How to Griddle up Any Fish Perfectly

Learn all you need about purchasing, cutting, and cooking fishes. Make sure you get the freshest catch, the best-cut fillets, and the most delicious flavor!

How to Pick the Best Fresh Fish

If you’re visiting the fishmonger or a fish market, remember some pointers before you buy. Some beginners end up buying fish that’s old and dried up by accident.

If you’re uncertain, you can always ask the fishmonger when the fish was caught and where. The way he answers can show how trusty the food is. And give the catch a check with these tips below – remember if it sounds fishy, go elsewhere!

  • Check its appearance – fresh fish should be moist and shiny. There shouldn’t be any bruises
  • Look into its eyes – eyes should be clear, without any clouding. Sunken eyes show that the fish is aging
  • Touch it – the surface should bounce back and be firm. If the fish is mushy, it isn’t fresh
  • Smell the fish – fresh fish smells slightly like the sea or is odorless. Any strong odors means the fish isn’t fresh
  • Check the gills – gills should be bright red and not slimy or dry

Is It a Lean or Fatty Fish?

Cooking time changes depending on the amount of fat on the fish. Besides impacting the flavor, fat determines how much heat the fish can handle.

  • Lean Fishes: These fishes are gentle and quick to cook up. The main problem is the touch – one small slip of the spatula, and you might tear the whole fish apart. Steaming is great to keep these fishes moist and intensify flavor. Lean fishes have under 5% fat content in their weight.
    Includes: Bass, cod, haddock, tilapia, swordfish.
  • Fatty Fishes: the main difference of fatty fishes is the intense flavor. Rich in omega-3, every fatty fish is a healthy and hearty meal. They form a perfect seared crust and need to cook a little longer on the griddle until their core is fully cooked. Fatty fishes have over 5% fat content in their weight.
    Includes: Catfish, herring, sardines, trout, salmon, tuna.

So, next time you buy a fish at the market, check if it’s lean or fatty. This is important because it affects the cooking time, seasonings, and even side dishes. If you’re unsure about a fish we didn’t list here, ask your fishmonger.

How to Choose a Seasoning

When it comes to adding that spice, herb, or condiment to fish, you need to pay attention to the fat.

Fatty fishes have intense flavor, which means they should be paired with strong-flavored seasonings. Lean fishes should have simpler seasonings – you have to be careful to not overpower the taste of the fish itself.

Here are our seasoning tips for each fish group:

  • Lean fishes: Bay leaves, chives, olive oil, parsley, tarragon
  • Fatty fishes: Cumin, honey, marjoram, mint, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, soy sauce, thyme
  • Both: Dill, cilantro, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, lemon balm, salt & pepper, white pepper

Best Fish Sauces

Imagine cooking up fish on the griddle on top of a delicious sauce. The flat top makes sure no juices seep out and all the flavor from the fish infuses with the condiments of your sauce.

To use the sauce, simply pour it on the flat top and put your fish immediately after.

So, make these sauces to pack your fish some punch:

Lean Fishes
  • White wine sauce: ½ cup white wine, ½ cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp butter, lemon juice to taste
  • Mushroom sauce: 1 lb. sliced mushrooms, 4 sliced green onions, 2 tbsps flour, 1 tbsp parsley, ¼ cup butter, ⅛ tsp pepper
  • Parsley sauce: 1 cup shredded parsley leaves, 3 tbsps crème fraîche, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tbsps fresh lemon juice, 4 tbsps butter, ½ minced onion
Fatty fishes
  • Mint sauce: ½ cup chopped mint, ½ cup white-wine vinegar, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Red Wine sauce: 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup red wine, 3 tbsps butter, salt, and ground black pepper to taste
  • Tomato and Ginger sauce: 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 2 cups of diced tomatoes, ¼ cup of cilantro, salt and ground black pepper to taste

Fresh or Frozen Fish?

According to nutritionists, both frozen and fresh fish are healthy. Freezing technology has come a long way in the past decades – all fish are flash-frozen as soon as they are caught. This means no nutrients are lost, and flavor is as close to fresh as possible.

The only fish you should avoid is refrozen fish. This means it was flash-frozen at sea, thawed, and refrozen. Look out for freezer burns or crystals. Refrozen fish has terrible flavor.

Fresh fish does taste better though. The reason is because the freezing process affects the fat content, which can dry out lean fishes. Fatty fishes aren’t really affected since they already are denser in fats.

How to Prepare the Fish for Cooking

To make sure you bring out the most flavor from your fish, you should follow some procedures. Below are a few steps that can make sure your fish tastes fresh and delicious, instead of aged and flabby:

Unthaw and Pat down (Frozen Fish)

If you bought some fish from the supermarket that’s been frozen for a while, don’t just throw it on the griddle! You need to give it time to get from ice-chilled to ambient temperature.

Thawed fish cooks irregularly since some parts get more frozen than others. That means you might be eating a meal that’s overcooked at some parts and sometimes almost raw on others!

So, avoid this by letting it sit in the fridge for a day. Then, pat it down with some paper towels to avoid sticking on the flat top.

Should You Take the Skin Off?

Fish skin forms a delicious crust when seared on the griddle. It can enhance your meal, balancing out the tender meat.

Keep in mind though that fish skin isn’t healthy. The US Food & Drug Administration recommends not eating the skin since it can collect toxins, such as mercury at higher levels than the rest of the fish. These toxins are especially dangerous for pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

How to Cut the Fish

Before you cook any fish, you need to cut it correctly. You can save time by asking the fishmonger to cut it into fillets or steaks. If you want to eat it whole, you still need to descale and prepare the fish.

How to Prepare a Whole Fish for Griddle Cooking

Even though it’s called whole fish, you can’t simply throw it on the griddle and cook. You need to descale and gut it before.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Get a cutting board. Cover it with a newspaper for easy clean up
  2. Use a cutting knife best-suited for fishes. That means a long, thin blade. Avoid serrated knives, especially with lean fishes – they can tear apart the meat
  3. Wear a pair of gloves and scrape off the scales with your knife from the tail toward the head. Use small, quick strokes – don’t press hard to avoid cutting into the flesh. The scales should fly off easily
  4. Once you’ve removed the scales, turn the fish belly face up and make a cut from the gills to the stomach
  5. Open up the belly and cut the bone near the gills with a pair of fish shears
  6. Remove the entrails
  7. Put your fish in the sink and rinse out any residue. Open the tap halfway – don’t use a strong stream
  8. Pat it dry and your fish is now ready for cooking!

If you want to see how it’s done, take a look in the video below. Be aware that gutting fish is not pretty:

How to Cut a Whole Fish into Fillets

In case you went fishing and caught a whole fish, you’ll need to be careful to fillet it correctly. If you’re going to purchase your fish at a market, you can ask the fishmonger to cut it up – you’ll spend less time with prep and more cooking.

Even so, if you need to cut up a whole fish follow these steps:

  1. Get a cutting board. Cover it with a newspaper for easy cleanup
  2. Use a cutting knife best-suited for fishes. That means a long, thin blade. Avoid serrated knives, especially with lean fishes – they can tear apart the meat
  3. Put the fish on the cutting board. Wear a pair of gloves and scrape off the scales with your knife from the tail toward the head. Use small, quick strokes – don’t press hard to avoid cutting into the flesh. The scales should fly off easily
  4. Remove the fish head by cutting behind the gills – hold the blade at an angle and cut through the bone. Flip it over and repeat until the head comes off
  5. Cut off the tail by cutting down where it meets the body
  6. Now, place the knife behind the gill cover. Pull the gill cover away from the body and cut down until you hit the backbone. Then, align the blade with the ribcage and cut down to separate the meat from the ribs
  7. Cut through the vent (small hole on the belly) and cut along the bones until you reach the tail – this is a fillet
  8. Pull the fillet outward to remove it from the rib cage. Use your knife to cut it loose if needed – set your fillet on a clean plate
  9. Turn the fish over and insert the knife behind the gill cover. This is the same process from step 5 onward – you’re cutting out more fillets. Remember to cut along the rib cage to separate the meat from the ribs, and then push the knife through the vent. Keep cutting until you hit the tail, then pull the fillet out
  10. Once you’ve cut out all your fillets, you can remove the pin bones. It’s best to use a fish plier, but be careful – you might tear apart the meat
  11. You can trim out the belly if you want, by simply cutting it off.
  12. You can also remove the skin if you want. Slide your knife between the skin and meat at one end of the fillet. Then, at an angle, slide the knife gently until the other side. Use your other hand to hold the fillet in place.

Your fish is ready for cooking! All you need to do is season and cook it!

How to Cut a Whole Fish into Steaks

If you want to serve your fish in neat and thick steaks, keep reading. You can make your life a whole lot easier if you ask the fishmonger to do this for you – or at least remove the guts.

But, if you need to prep your fish from start to finish, follow these steps:

  1. Get a cutting board. Cover it with a newspaper for easy cleanup
  2. Use a cutting knife best-suited for fishes. That means a long, thin blade. Avoid serrated knives, especially with lean fishes – they can tear apart the meat
  3. Put the fish on the cutting board. Wear a pair of gloves and scrape off the scales with your knife from the tail toward the head. Use small, quick strokes – don’t press hard to avoid cutting into the flesh. The scales should fly off easily
  4. Remove its head by cutting behind the gills – hold the blade at an angle and cut through the bone. Flip it over and repeat until the head comes off
  5. Cut off the tail by cutting down where it meets the body
  6. Put the fish with its belly upward and cut a line from the gills until the stomach.
  7. Open up the belly and cut the bone near the gills with a pair of fish shears
  8. Remove the entrails
  9. Put your fish in the sink and rinse out any residue. Open the tap halfway – don’t use a strong stream
  10. Now, put your fish back on the cutting board. With you fish laid down, cut out steaks with 0,5 to 1 inch of thickness.
  11. Keep cutting until the fish is split entirely into steaks

Your fish is ready for cooking! All you need to do is season and cook it.

How to Season and Cook the Fish

Now it’s almost time for the best part – the cooking! Season it up with the right herbs, get the griddle oiled up, and then drop it when it’s hot!

Fish cooking is gentle and rewarding. Unlike meat seasoning, you need to be more careful with the balance of flavors. And while you cook you need to be gentle to not tear the fish apart.

Here are some pointers:

  • Spread out your seasoning evenly on the fish. If you are cooking lean fish, use a gentle seasoning we mentioned above. You can use two seasonings at once, but don’t overdo it – you’ll mask the flavor of the fish
  • If you’re seasoning a fatty fish, pick only one option. Don’t use mint and honey. Or paprika and soy sauce. Stick to one, and that’s it
  • Oil up your griddle with olive oil. It goes well with any fish and infuses a Mediterranean flavor. If you don’t want the flavor of the oil to affect the fish, use canola oil – it’s more neutral.
  • As soon as you put your fish on the griddle, it’ll contract. It’s the proteins reacting with the heat, causing the fish to bend upwards – press down the edges with your spatula to straighten it out.
  • Cook each side until it gets golden brown. This can take between 2 – 8 minutes depending on the fish. Lean fish cooks quick, fatty fish takes longer
  • When it gets a seared crust, flip it over gently with a spatula and cook for the same amount of time. Be careful not to tear the fish apart
  • Take the fish off the griddle and set it aside on a plate
  • Once it cools down a little, eat up!

How to Measure Fish Doneness

Fish only has one level of doneness: done. It’s not like steak doneness, which can be rare, medium all the way to well done. Fish is either cooked or raw – undercooked tastes terrible. Unless you are preparing fresh tuna steaks.

In some cases, people simply toast the fish and keep the middle raw. This isn’t considered safe though by health standards.

So, cook it nicely and find out the doneness with these tips:

  • Knife method: Insert a knife all the way through the thickest part of the fish. Keep it there for 5 seconds, then pull it out and hold the blade on your lower lip. Feels cold = undercooked. Feels warm = ready to eat
  • Look method: done fish has a golden-brown sear and is full-white inside. Cut a small section and check the color and texture – done fish is flaky and has no differences in color
  • Poke method: feel the surface of the fish. Done fish feels just like the tip of your nose
  • Thermometer method: insert a thermometer on the thickest part of the fish. It should read between 125°F to 140°F

Why Griddle Cooking Fish is Best

Griddles have a range of benefits for cooking fish. Many seafood venues use griddles because they are considered more reliable to maintain moisture and flavor in the recipe – and no flare-ups, which can ruin the meal.

Here’s a list of the full perks of griddle cooking some fishes:

  • Seared crust for crispy flavor
  • Consistent heat – no flare-ups, undercooked or overcooked parts
  • Locked-in juices for a tender meal – fish doesn’t dry up
  • Seasoning with oils – the fish soaks in all the flavor of the cooking oil, which mixes up with the other condiments you use
  • Quick cooking time – most fishes cook in under 10 minutes

Now that you know all the tricks to griddle fish to perfection, try our Slammin’ Cajun Salmon recipe and delight yourself.


 

How to Griddle up Shrimp to Perfection

Shrimp are easier to cook compared to fish. Prep and seasonings are straight-forward – basically just thaw them, season with a sprinkle of herbs, and you’re done. Cooking is so quick you just won’t believe it!

But like anything you griddle up, there’s stuff you should know to cook shrimp perfectly. One of the main concerns is the freshness – shrimp goes foul easily and you should buy it from a credible source to avoid food poisoning.

How to Buy Shrimp

Shrimp come in all shapes and sizes, and each species has its own flavor. Also, avoid buying fresh shrimp – unless you live in a coastal area and trust the fishmonger. Shrimp are one of the most perishable kinds of seafood, which means it can spoil easily.

Also, pay attention to these aspects:

  • Pick shelled shrimp: shrimp that’s already deveined and peeled can spoil faster
  • Always prefer to buy frozen: unless you live in a coastal area and buying from a credible fishmonger, avoid fresh shrimp. Shrimp can go foul within hours and even when you buy frozen you should be careful. As soon as possible, put it in the fridge and cook within 24 hours
  • Check the spots: never buy shrimp that has brown spots. That means it’s getting foul
  • Sniff them: healthy shrimp smell like saltwater. Avoid any that smell putrid or like ammonia

Size and Species of Shrimp

The species you buy changes entirely the meal. Some shrimp have bolder flavors than others, while some are mild. This changes the seasonings you use and the cooking time.

There are several species of shrimp, but these are some you’ll find in most fishmongers:

  • Pink Shrimp: caught from cold waters in America, Japan or Europe. These pink-shelled critters are sweet – similar in taste to lobster
  • Rock Shrimp: caught from warm waters in the U.S. or the Gulf and with a solid rock-hard shell (that’s where they get their name). Sweet and similar in taste to langoustines
  • Tiger Shrimp: caught from warm waters in South-East Asia or West Africa, these shrimp with black and brown stripes cook into a firm, pink meal. Their taste is bolder than other species.
  • White Shrimp: caught from cold seas in the Atlantic, white shrimp taste the mildest. They are the most popular in the U.S. and become sweet and pink after cooking.

As to size, shrimp are usually labeled as small, medium, large, extra-large, jumbo, and colossal.

These labels don’t follow an official standard and change from region to region. They indicate how many shrimps make up a pound. When it comes to griddling, large or jumbo are the best cost-benefit. Besides being easier to cook, you end up with more servings for a crowded cookout!

So, here are the categories and the amount of shrimp per pound:

  • Small: 61 – 90 per pound
  • Medium: 41 – 50 per pound
  • Large: 31 – 45 per pound
  • Jumbo: 16 – 20 per pound
  • Colossal: 8 – 12 per pound

How to Prepare Shrimp for Cooking

Shrimp are mild, sweet and delicious with a bowl of rice or pasta. Or even alone. But they can get spoiled if you aren’t careful. Read up below our tips to prep shrimp nicely.

How to Thaw Shrimp

Shrimp is delicate and can get spoiled if you don’t defrost it correctly. Remember that you should always eat shrimp until 24 hours after purchase for safety, especially if fresh.

Then, the best way to thaw shrimp is to run them under cold water in a colander – takes just a few minutes. Never use warm water, since it can create bacteria.

How to Clean the Shrimp

All shrimp have a dark vein on their backs – it’s the digestive tract. If you don’t remove it, your meal with have a funky grit thanks to a little poop and sand. The vein isn’t a health hazard though – if you don’t mind, you can eat the shrimp with it.

If you want to devein them, keep the shell on. It enhances the flavor and protects the shrimp from drying out while griddling. All you need is a pair of scissors and to follow these steps:

  1. Grab a pair of scissors
  2. Start at the head, and cut a slit on the back until the tail
  3. The vein should appear as a dark line. Simply pull it out with your knife – it usually comes out in one piece

How to Cook Shrimp

Your shrimp are defrosted and ready to roll. Shrimp on their own are delicious, but you can add some flavor with a quick seasoning. And learn how to cook them flawlessly on the griddle!

Shrimp Seasonings

Shrimp has a distinct sweet flavor, so you should pick seasonings that pair well with it gently. Don’t overdo it and keep it simple with a small sprinkle before cooking.

You can also marinate your shrimp, but only for a short time before it gets mushy. Or keep things simple with some extra-virgin olive oil and salt.

Here are some seasonings to pick:

  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • Sage
  • Paprika
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper

And here are some marinades. Only marinate in the fridge and keep it short – 30 minutes max.

  • Lemon juice
  • Orange juice
  • Olive oil
  • Water with garlic powder

How to Griddle up Shrimp

What you should look out the most for when cooking shrimp is the time. Pay attention to the details and don’t let it overcook – your delicacy will get all rubbery and tasteless.

Follow these steps to griddle them up nicely:

  1. Oil the griddle up with some olive oil
  2. Turn up the heat to medium and wait a few minutes
  3. Place your shrimp – it should sizzle on contact (if it doesn’t your griddle isn’t hot enough)
  4. Stir frequently and keep an eye on the color and shape. It should start to get pink and contract into a “C” shape
  5. When the tail is bright red, the body pink and the shape a “C” remove the shrimp from the griddle. This can take about 5 minutes, but it depends on the species
  6. Serve them on a plate and eat up!

You can also try some of our shrimp recipes and impress your guests on a summer lunch


 

How to Griddle up Delicious Crabs

Crabs are soft, delicate, and sweet. They taste unlike any other seafood.

And you can eat crab frozen, pasteurized or fresh. If you decide to buy fresh though, always buy them alive – don’t accept dead crab at the fishmonger that isn’t frozen because of health risks.

How to Buy Crabs

Crabs are perishable foods and as soon as killed should be cooked or frozen immediately. This is because as soon as it dies, the crab releases toxins from its stomach throughout the body. This can cause food poisoning, so be careful.

How to Buy Alive Crabs

If you go to a fish market for live crabs, pay attention to the tank they are in. The water should be as crystal clear as possible, without algae or dirt. Make sure the water is well oxygenated by checking out the aerator – it should create a consistent flow of bubbles.

The crabs should be lively too – healthy crabs move about, pinch their claws and aren’t sluggish. A slow crab might be aging, which means it’s meat won’t be as tasty.

And if you live close to the fishmonger, you can ask him to kill the crab for you. Make sure you cook it as soon as possible and transport it in a cooler that isn’t wet.

How to Buy Frozen Crabs

You can buy frozen crabs at the fish market, a regular supermarket or even online.

The main concern is to trust the freezing process. Because of the toxins crabs release after death, they should be frozen immediately and not suffer any temperature drops. And you have to try your best to find out if the crab was stored properly.

So, if you decide to buy frozen pay attention to these things:

  • Look at the color: crab meat should be always white. Don’t buy crabs with gray or blue spots
  • Pay attention to freezer burn: the packaging shouldn’t have any ice crystals in direct contact with the meat – this affects quality and flavor
  • Ask the vendor about the storage: don’t be afraid to ask when the crab was caught and how it was frozen. The way they answer shows how fresh the crab really is.

How to Buy Pasteurized Crabs

Most pasteurized crabs are safe to eat, but you should pay attention to the date and the quality of the packaging.

Also, pasteurized crabs are sold in many sizes, and knowing the differences helps you buy the best crab for your griddle needs.

Here’s what to pay attention to the packaging:

  • Look at the date: Canned crab has a shelf life of up to 18 months. Run some calculations to check if it’s in that timeframe
  • Make sure there’s no damage: Safe packaging never has dents, slits or visible damage. Avoid damaged packaging, since the crab can be exposed to air and be infected by bacteria
  • If it’s a clear packaging, look at the meat: Healthy crab meat is white and never has blue or gray spots

Also pay attention to the size. Pasteurized crabs are usually graded as colossal, jumbo lump, lump, special, and claw. These aren’t only the size of the meat, but also where it comes from. Here’s the rundown:

  • Colossal: Also known as mega jumbo lump, these are taken from the largest muscles from blue crabs. They are used to power up the swimming legs
  • Jumbo lump: Comes from the largest muscles that power swimming legs, but are slightly smaller than colossal
  • Lump: Pieces that remain from the jumbo lump when it’s removed. Most of the pieces are flaky
  • Backfin: Shreds of meat from the inner body and from jumbo lumps
  • Special: Flakes from the inner body of crabs
  • Claw: Dark pinkish meat taken from claws

How to Prepare Crabs

If you buy live crabs, it can be tricky to prep them. Crabs can make a mess and only with practice you’ll learn to separate the parts quickly and nicely.

And if you got frozen or pasteurized crab, all you need to do is season them up and then hit the griddle. Or make some crab cakes to eat them in buns!

How to Kill and Pick the Crab

You can skip this step if your crab was killed by the fishmonger or you bought it frozen or pasteurized.

Now, if you bought your crab alive and are bringing it back home there’s one way to kill that’s best for griddle cooking. It’s considered the most gentle for the animal and for you.

  1. Fill a large bowl with icy water
  2. Throw the crab in it
  3. Flip it on its back
  4. Insert a sharp knife into its head. Aim for an inch below its mouth and aligned to the center of its stomach flap.
  5. Now it’s ready for picking

Now it’s time to pick the crab. You’ll need to remove its entrains and separate the meat into pieces. This can get messy, so use a cutting board, some worn-out clothes you don’t really care about, and a lot of newspaper.

  1. Cover your surface with newspaper and then place the cutting board. Use worn out clothes and if you have an apron, even better.
  2. Start with the legs. One by one, grab by the base and pull outward. Set them aside on a plate
  3. Turn the crab over and slip your finger under its plate. Grab the crab by the base and pull it out completely
  4. Now it’s time to remove the entrails – hold the crab on both sides with your thumbs and wedge it open. This can get messy, so take care
  5. Remove the entrails at the top part of the crab completely
  6. Take out the gills (they look like feathery flaps). Take them out, since although edible they taste bad
  7. Remove the rest of the slimy entrails. You can keep the liver if you want (it’s green) since it’s delicious to some folks. It’s called tomalley
  8. Now it’s time to get to the proper meat. It’s inside tunnels of cartilage. Grasp the crab by the sides and split it two
  9. Finger out the meat from each channel patiently. This can take some time, and you should pick the meat out in pieces and set them aside
  10. Time for the claws. Pull them from the lower part, and if it stays stuck pinch the thin cartilage until it comes out. Place them aside
  11. Pull the legs by breaking the joints backward. Then, pull out. If the legs get stuck by some cartilage, pinch until it breaks. Set them aside
  12. And if you have a nutcracker, use it to crack open the claws for more meat. Crush with just the right amount of pressure: too gentle won’t break the shell and too strong will damage the meat
  13. Once the claws are open, remove the meat and place it aside.
  14. Now your crab is ready for seasoning and cooking!

How to Cook Crabs

With your crab almost ready, it’s almost time to eat! Pick a recommended seasoning below or turn them into patties with our crab cakes recipe.

How to Season Crabs

Crab seasonings are simple, since you don’t want to mask their unique sweet flavor. So, don’t overdo it and stick to a sprinkle or dab of these:

  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt

These work with any type of crab, be it frozen, pasteurized or fresh. Mix and match, but always use a little. Too much can ruin the taste of the crab itself.

How to Griddle Up the Crabs

You can cook the crab parts from the picking. That means you’ll have delicious griddled claws, legs and body flakes to eat.

And in the case of pasteurized crabs, you can also cook the parts as they came from the packaging. Or you can make crab cakes.

In any case, you need to use a basting cover. This retains moisture and juices for a fresh meal. When you cook crab you have to be careful not to overcook and make the meat rubbery.

How to Griddle Crab Parts

Time to cook up those legs, claws, and flakes! Get the griddle ready and follow these steps:

  1. Pour extra-virgin olive oil on the flat top. Turn on the heat to medium
  2. When the griddle is hot, put the crab on it
  3. Cover with a basting cover and check every couple of minutes the color. Cooked crab gets a browned sear, and this usually takes 5 minutes
  4. Once cooked, set aside and let them cool down before serving
How to Griddle Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are delicious patties that you can serve up in buns for the whole crowd. All you need is a few ingredients, a lot of stirring and then 3 minutes for each side on the griddle.

For these, you shouldn’t season before – the ingredients in the patty take care of that. Here’s what you need:

  • ⅔ cup of Panko
  • 1 Egg
  • 8 ounces of crab meat, cut into lumps
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsps mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground red pepper

To cook the patties, follow these steps:

  1. Grab a bowl and place ⅓ cup panko.
  2. Add all ingredients except the crab and mix well. Only add the crab when the mix is fully combined – stir gently to not damage the meat.
  3. Put the rest of the panko on a dish
  4. Wet your hands and form equally-sized balls from the mix. We recommend making 4
  5. Coat the balls in panko and then flatten them to make patties. Don’t make them too thin – 4 inches is a good size
  6. Oil up the griddle and turn up the heat to medium
  7. Place the patties and cook each side until golden with a sear. This should take 3 minutes each side
  8. Once cooked, remove the patties. Let them cool down a little, then it’s time to eat up!

We bet you’re now craving some crab! Now that you’ve got the skills, make our Crabby Melts recipe and go crazy on that flavour.


 

How to Griddle up Smashing Lobster

Fetch yourself a lobster for a fine, sweet and hearty meal. Lobsters are meatier compared to crustaceans like shrimp, which means big servings for the whole family.

Lobsters aren’t as perishable as crabs, but you should always buy them from credible sources to have the best flavor. Cheap lobster is mushy and not worth your buck.

How to Buy Lobster

Lobster is always best fresh, but you can have a great meal with frozen if you buy from a trusty source. Learn what you need to make sure you bag yourself the best lobster out there!

How to Buy Fresh Lobster

Fresh lobster is firmer and bolder in taste than frozen. Problem is, some places keep lobsters in tanks for days or even weeks and that affects flavor. Lobsters out of sea start digesting their own nutrients to survive, which means a leaner and less tasty meal.

So, pay attention to these aspects when you go to the fish market:

  • Check its moves: healthy lobster is lively – it moves around the tank, twinkles its antenna, and shakes its claws
  • Check the antenna: lobsters eat each others’ antenna when they are hungry. That means a lobster with a short antenna has been long enough in a tank to get nibbled on – avoid!
  • Look at the color: the best lobster is vibrant red. Dents on the shell are normal, but don’t buy lobster with a dull grayish color – that means it’s getting old
  • Take a sniff: fresh lobster is odorless – you shouldn’t smell any bad odors when it’s removed from the tank.

As soon as you pick your lobster, you can ask the fishmonger to kill it humanely for you. Then, you should cook it as soon as possible not to lose any freshness!

You can take it alive back home, but you’ll need to transport it safely in a box with seaweed and damp newspaper and then kill it.

How to Buy Frozen Lobster

You can buy frozen claws or tails in most supermarkets. It’s rare to find a whole lobster in the frozen section – and even if you do, we don’t recommend it. They are usually bad quality because they are precooked and refrozen.

So, if you buy frozen claws or tails, pay attention to these aspects:

  • Pick cold water lobsters: warm water lobsters are cheaper, but are mushier and less sweet. Always pick frozen lobsters from cold waters, such as Northeast America, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia
  • Look out for freezer burn: high-quality frozen foods don’t have gray stains or ice crystals in direct contact with the ingredient
  • Check the temperature: lobster should always be frozen at around 0 °F to stay tender

How to Prepare Lobster

Fresh or frozen, learn how to kill lobsters humanely and to thaw frozen ones correctly!

Live Lobster

If you bought live lobster and asked the fishmonger to kill it, you can skip this step.

To kill the lobster humanely, follow these steps:

  1. Put the lobster in a box and freeze it for 15-20 minutes. This will numb the animal, so it feels less pain
  2. Take it out, and place it on a cutting board with belly facing down
  3. Find a cross on the top of the lobster’s head – hold the tip of your knife on it
  4. Cut through the head quickly toward the claws
  5. Flip it over and slice from head to tail
  6. The lobster is ready for griddling!

Frozen Lobster

The only way to eat frozen lobster at its finest is to let it thaw in the fridge for a day.

If you want to eat it quickly, you can run it under cold water for 30-60 minutes inside a plastic bag. Problem is, it might get rubbery and not feel so juicy.

How to Cook Lobster

To maintain the juices, cook the lobsters with the shell. Lobster tastes best when you take the meat off the shell just before eating. And for seasoning, keep it simple and light.

How to Season Lobster

Lobsters go great with light or spicy seasonings. Just pick one below and sprinkle or dab a small amount – don’t overdo it:

  • Butter
  • Cajun
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon

How to Griddle Lobster up

Be it a whole lobster, tails or claws – cooking is the same on the griddle. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Oil up the griddle and turn the heat to medium
  2. Place your lobster with the meat facing down
  3. Cook until browned – this takes about 2 minutes
  4. Flip over, so the shell faces down
  5. Use a basting cover and cook for 4 minutes
  6. Done! Time to eat up

All good? So let’s try a New England classic: the Lobster Roll


 

How to Griddle Scallops into a Delicacy

Head down to the fish market and grab yourself some fine scallops. These small, white cylinder mollusks are from around the world – and considered a sweet delicacy by top chefs.

How to Buy Scallops

The best scallops are always fresh. You can buy frozen, but they usually are rubbery and pack less flavor.

And if you decide to go fresh, know the different types of scallops in the fish market:

  • Wet: these scallops are thrown into a container with preservatives as soon as caught. This means they fatten up with the absorbed water and have a diluted taste. The perk is they have a longer shelf life
  • Dry: these scallops are stored in a dry container as soon as caught. These taste best because the flavor is fresh with a sea salt tinge. Problem is they have a short shelf life since there are no preservatives
  • Diver: these are caught by hand from divers. They taste similar to the dry scallops but are more eco-friendly since no fishing equipment that can harm the sea is used (such as dredging)

Also, no matter what type you pick, pay attention to these aspects:

  • The looks: healthy scallops are totally white with no spots
  • The moisture: scallops shouldn’t be dry or dripping wet. They should be just in the middle – a damp glaze over its white surface
  • The shape: scallops should be neat cylinders – like small, smooth tubes. Don’t buy scallops that are dented, mangled or wobbly. They should be firm to the touch, give back a little, and have flat sides

And if you decide to buy frozen, make sure the package doesn’t have any freezer burn and that they were flash-frozen. This means it was frozen as soon as caught on the boat, so these scallops are fresher than those frozen at land or refrozen.

How to Prepare Scallops

Scallops are gentle, but even so require little prep. All you need to do is remove the pesky side muscle and give them a rinse.

How to Clean the Scallops

To clean scallops, all you need to do is rinse them under cold running water – in case they are frozen, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Now pat down with paper towels.

Then, remove the side muscle if it’s still attached. It’s a rectangular flab on the side of the scallop, which tastes tough and rubbery – not nice to eat. So, take it away by pinching it with your thumb and finger downward.

Now you’re ready to season and cook scallops!

How to Cook Scallops

The main thing about cooking scallops is time. Most people overcook them into a rubbery mess. Read up our tips to make sure you cook them on point.

How to Season Scallops

Scallops don’t need a lot of seasoning. Their fresh flavor and crusty sear is what matters.

So, for seasoning all you need to do is oil up the griddle with some olive oil. Let the griddle do its work and you’ll be amazed by the flavor a crispy sear can bring you!

But, if you really want to use seasonings, do so. But be gentle – a very small sprinkle or dab should do. Here are our tips:

  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • White wine

How to Griddle Scallops up

Scallop cooking is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Scallops lose all their flavor when overcooked – a sweet, delicate dish becomes rubbery and chewy.

So, follow these steps and be careful with the timing:

  1. Oil up the griddle with and turn the heat to medium
  2. Put the scallop down on its flat side for 2 minutes – it’ll form a brown and gold crust
  3. Flip the scallop over with your hand gently. Cook the other side for a minute
  4. Take the scallops out and let them chill down before eating

We also have an easy, tasty recipe with griddled scallops for you to try next time you have a special occasion to celebrate.


 

How to Griddle Squid and Octopus Delightfully

These cephalopods with tentacles are a delicious and refreshing meal for the summer. You can spice them up with peppers or keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon. Best when fresh, you can still cook frozen into a delicacy.

How to Buy Squid and Octopus

When you buy squid and octopus, we recommend fresh. It tastes less rubbery and packs more flavor. Also, you can save a lot of time if you ask the fishmonger to cut them up for you – no need to deal with messy ink.

The best fresh squid and octopus are shiny and vibrant. Their colors strike bright, and their bodies are plump – deflated and flabby means they aren’t so fresh.

But, if you live far away from the coast it can be difficult to find these critters fresh. You might have to pick frozen. And just like with scallops and other seafoods, pay attention to the packaging – don’t buy if there’s freezer burn (crystals stuck on the skin).

Frozen squid is sold already cut up in tubes, rings or tentacles. Frozen octopus also is usually cut up into pieces – you mostly find tentacles for sale in the supermarket.

How to Prepare Squid and Octopus

In case you buy fresh, you can ask the fishmonger to cut them up for you. It’ll save you time and effort.

But, we teach you how to cut them up if needed – and even how to harvest delicious squid ink for seasoning pasta and risotto.

And in case you bought frozen, all you need to do is thaw correctly.

How to Thaw Frozen Squid and Octopus

The best way to thaw these cephalopods is to leave them overnight in the fridge. In case you’re in more of a hurry, let them run under cold running water for about 30 minutes.

How to Cut up Squid

Learn how to cut squid into rings and even how to harvest its ink sac:

  1. Clean out the squid under running cold water
  2. Grab the top of the hood with one hand, and use the other to tug out the tentacles
  3. As soon as the body comes off the hood, separate the tentacles by cutting right under its eyes
  4. The body you just removed contain an ink sac. You can keep it for seasoning pastas and risottos if you want to. It’s a thin and silvery sac, which you can puncture with a knife and squeeze into a bowl – be careful to not make a mess. Mix into the bowl ¼ cup of water. There are also harder to harvest sacs behind the eyes – if you can find them, harvest the same way
  5. As soon as you harvested the ink sac (or you didn’t want to), discard the body
  6. Pull out entrails, such as the transparent quill, from inside the hood
  7. Grab the tentacles and push out the beak (a ring)
  8. Cut off the two longer tentacles
  9. Strip the skin off the hood, by grabbing both its sides and peeling it off gently
  10. Run the hood under cold water to rinse out any remains
  11. Cut the hood into rings, starting from the opening until the tip
  12. You can leave the tentacles whole or dice them

Now your squid is ready for seasoning!

How to Cut up Octopus

Prep for octopus takes more time – you need to let it sit for at least 3 hours before you cut into it. But don’t worry – the cutting isn’t rocket science.

  1. Grab a large bowl and fill it with milk – this makes the octopus more tender and easier to cut
  2. Let it soak for 3 hours
  3. Remove the octopus and place it on a cutting board
  4. Cut the head off, by slicing right beneath the eyes in a single slash. The cut should be as smooth and clean as possible, so use a sharp knife
  5. Take the eyes off by making a rectangular slit around them
  6. Cut a vertical slit from the bottom of the head all the way to the top
  7. Now, pry open the head by grabbing it by its sides
  8. Remove the insides and then rinse the head in cold running water
  9. Cut the head into strips
  10. Now, take a look at the tentacles and remove the beak – it’s a ring right at the center. Simply push to take it off
  11. Cut the tentacles into rings

Now your octopus is ready for seasoning!

How to Cook Squid and Octopus

Cook up of squids and octopuses is easy – way quicker than its cutting. Just pick a condiment, sprinkle or dab, and then cook in less than 5 minutes!

How to Season Squid and Octopus

Squids and octopuses taste great when paired with spices or acidic condiments. Unlike other kinds of seafood like shrimps and scallops, you can add a bit more seasoning on this tentacled critters! Here are our recommendations:

  • Basil
  • Chilli pepper
  • Chorizo
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Kimchi mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

How to Cook Squid and Octopus

Squid and Octopus cooking is easy, just pay attention and only cook until lightly seared.

  1. Oil the griddle with olive oil and turn the heat to high
  2. Once the griddle begins to smoke, place your squid or octopus
  3. Cook while stirring from time to time for 2-4 minutes. You should cook until it’s lightly seared
  4. Take out the octopus or squid
  5. Let it cool down and then it’s ready for serving!

We have a mouth-watering octopus recipe if you’re feeling inspired after reading this guide.


Learned all there is to seafood? If you have any advice or tips, we didn’t cover, comment below!

We love to see your cooking! Upload photos of your griddled seafood on social media with #BlackstoneGriddle and #GriddleNation.

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