There’s one thing that no amount of Texas heat can stop people from doing: firing up the grill. Luckily, the kind people at Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill in Plano showed a full house how to prepare a fantastic spread of grilled seafood dishes within the comfort of an air-conditioned building. For apartment-dwellers and air-conditioned building lovers, an indoor electric grill works wonders.
Every month, traditionally on the fourth Sunday, Rick Oruch turns his cozy seafood restaurant and fish market into a cooking class featuring three-to-four dishes with wine parings for only $40 per person! (And for someone who has taken cooking classes around the city, this is definitely a great price for a fantastic experience.)
And to those wondering exactly how a restaurant that doubles as a fish market can be enjoyable to dine in, much less to sit in and watch cooking demonstrations, relax. The only thing that’s fishy in this place is the delicious entree that you will eat. That’s right – the fish smell you’d expect? Not there. I didn’t even realize it had a fish counter until someone pointed it out! That’s because fresh fish doesn’t smell fishy.
Tip 1 from owner and fishmonger Rick Oruch and team: Ask to smell your fish before you buy it.
Dish 1: Skewered Grilled Shrimp Pineapple & Hoisin BBQ Sauce
Every summer cookout should feature these skewers. The balance between the tangy, sweet pineapple and smoky, Asian-inspired BBQ sauce mixed with the freshness of Texas Gulf shrimp gives BBQ drumsticks a run for their money.
Tip 2: Whether on electric or gas grill, soak wooden skewers before cooking. A good summer BBQ is a fire-free one.
Tip 3: Insert skewers through tail of the shrimp and out the top. This flattens the shrimp and exposes more surface area to the heat, which will help it cook faster and more evenly.
Dish 2: Marinated Swordfish with Grilled Portobello, Vegetables, and Corn on the Cob
Swordfish, as Rick referred to it, is like the steak of fish. And he is right. This thick, meaty fish holds up nicely when cut, providing a satisfying alternative to its land counterpart. The marinade for this fish is a zinger, too – featuring fresh-squeezed lime juice, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and cilantro – that is settled just enough by the rich, smooth coconut milk. Plus, the grilled Portobello, bell pepper, and onion turned it into a deconstructed fish fajita. And who doesn’t love anything that’s like a fajita.
Tip 4: Swordfish is a power-swimmer, and has developed a dark strand of fibers known as a “bloodline.” When purchasing swordfish, have them remove this as it adds a strong flavor to an otherwise light and juicy fish steak.
Tip 5: If using a citric-based marinade on fish, it doesn’t need to sit for more than about 30 minutes. Marinades are meant to both flavor and tenderize proteins, and fish is already tender. Plus, acid “cooks” fish, so leaving it in the marinade for a long time could affect the way it cooks and tastes.
Dish 3: Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Prosciutto is a fancy cousin of bacon. And since bacon can – and should – be added to every recipe, upgrading to prosciutto every once in a while is a great way to class up any dish. So naturally, by wrapping it around a piece of salmon – which when fresh needs no help in the flavor department – you can have an entrée that even the most carnivorous humans will devour. Not to mention, pairing it with the culturally unified Greek salad and potato salad.
Tip 6: As with other fish, salmon will continue cooking once removed from the heat, so remove it and let it sit before it’s 100 percent done. Slightly undercooked but moist fish is better than overcooked tough and chewy fish.
Tip 7: Since bacon and prosciutto are cured cuts (persevered in sodium), go easy on the salt on the rest of the dish.
Dish 4: Grilled Peaches with Pound Cake and Ice Cream
There’s no better way to finish off this meal with anything but delicious grilled pound cake and grilled peaches. (Welcome to Texas; we grill anything.) If you haven’t ever grilled fruit before, it is a must. Just make sure to clean the grill very well before you do. While fresh fruit might be a nice addition to seafood, it typically doesn’t work the other way around.
For obvious reasons, these classes fill up fast. So if learning expert tips like these from the guy knows his fresh fish (Rick has patrons who have followed him all over the city for nearly 20 years) sounds like a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon call 972-473-2722 to register for a class!
Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill is in LakeSide Market on Preston and Lorimar. This class was complimentary; thoughts are my own.