Grilling Seafood

Perhaps the easiest variety of seafood to grill is shellfish, including oysters and clams, both called for in Bechard’s recipes. Once the heat of your coals has subsided to an even, medium temperature, it should only take a few minutes for the shellfish to open up, and their protective shells prevent the flavorful inner meat from burning.

Grilling fish, on the other hand, can be tricky. No matter what kind of fish you’re grilling, Bechard says you should always brush your grill with oil that has a high smoking point—Bechard prefers to use grapeseed oil or a combination of canola oil (75 percent) and olive oil (25 percent). Cooking times for each variety of fish can vary greatly—you should always ask your fishmonger for recommendations—but depending on the heat of the grill, Bechard says that “per inch, you’re looking at about three minutes on each side.”

For the tuna that’s called for in the main course here, Bechard urges backyard grillers to resist their instinct to cook it to death. “You just want to sear the outside of the fish,” he says, otherwise your tuna will taste more like a tough pork chop than a velvety delicacy from the sea. And if there’s one thing the Pacific Northwest isn’t known for, it’s pigs that swim.