Doesn’t cooking dinner sometimes feel like just too much? I get that feeling much more often than I would like to admit. The idea of going grocery shopping for a bunch of ingredients, getting home and putting it all away, pulling it all back out to start cooking, slicing and dicing, preheating, mixing, stirring, and cooking while everyone is waiting to eat just sounds overwhelming sometimes.
I am a big fan of quick and simple meals, and especially ones that don’t come from a box or out of a drive-thru window. This quick grilled pike fish dinner is uncomplicated, delicious, and quick. The hardest part is deciding what side to pair it with!
Shopping is probably one of my least favorite activities. I wouldn’t say that I hate many things in life, but grocery shopping is definitely on the hate list (that and the dishes, I hate washing dishes!). This pike dinner is great because it requires that a very minimal amount of time be spent in the grocery store. The pike comes from the lake, so that cuts down on the ingredients right there. To pull this meal together, you only need to grab olive oil, a lemon, garlic, rosemary, and salt. I actually find that many times I have all these ingredients at home and can throw this dinner together without even venturing out of the house. I love when that happens!
The first step is to create the marinade for the fish. In a food processor, mix together a 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the juice from the lemon, a 1/4 cup of chopped fresh rosemary, three cloves of garlic, and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. In my opinion, the best kitchen appliance is the food processor. I love when I can throw a clove of garlic in the food processor and watch it mince. My hands don’t stink like garlic, and I don’t inadvertently rub it in my eyes. I have done that many times and it burns. Totally off topic, I also was closing the bottle of some hot sauce the other day, and a drop somehow shot straight into my eye. That is not something I would recommend. It burns…really bad. So, I think we have established that I am not the most graceful of people, and I might possibly be a bit accident prone.
Anyway, cut the pike into long, two inch wide strips. This makes the fish very easy to skewer. I pour my marinade in a gallon ziploc bag with the fish and allow the marinating magic to take place. You can also place the fish in a baking dish or large bowl and add the marinade to that. As I said before, I hate dishes, and using a ziploc bag reduces the dishes by a whole pan. And as I also noted before, I am apparently a bit clumsy (hot sauce in the eye) and the ziploc insures I won’t be spilling my fishy marinade all over the fridge. Now, in a perfect world, this marinade should sit in the fridge for about eight hours. So, if you remember in the morning that you want to have the grilled fish for dinner, whip up your marinade and allow the fish to soak in it all day. However, I have made this fish many times with only letting it sit for an hour and it still works great. So, for the record: eight hours ideal; one hour still works great.
Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat. You can also brush a bit of oil on the grill, if you so desire. My fish didn’t have any problem with sticking to the grill and I didn’t use any extra oil, but if you have an issue with things sticking to the grill, you might give brushing a little oil on the grate a try. Thread your pike onto the skewers. I bought a bunch of metal skewers to use on the grill, because I had lost interest in prepping the wooden ones. The wooden ones are fine to use, and are a little cheaper than investing in metal ones. Just remember, if you are using wooden skewers you should soak them for at least thirty minutes, preferably an hour, in water. This will prevent the skewers from catching on fire while on the grill.
Once your grill is hot, place the skewers directly on the heat. Do not move them once they have touched the grate. If you try and move them around, you are at great risk for ripping your fish. Plus, you want to let your fish get those beautiful grill marks, right? Grill the first side for four to five minutes and then flip the fish once. Grill the second side for another four to five minutes. Pike meat is a little more substantial than other fish. It doesn’t really get flakey, like how I would describe a trout or walleye. The meat has a mild flavor, and it tastes best if it isn’t over-cooked or dried out.
Well, that is about it for this easy fish dinner. I served my pike skewers with a side of steamed rice and lemon slices for squeezing over my fish. Other compatible sides would be mashed potatoes with a little rosemary and garlic to help pull the two dishes together, a lemon risotto would be beautiful with this dish if you are thinking a bit more fancy, or even just a simple side salad. I think you can pair pike with either a red or white wine, since it is a more hearty fish. Enjoy and Happy Hunting!