Photograph: Mark Maziarz
"Grilling is what is known as a dry heat method,” says Bill Hufferd, chef-owner at The Mustang, “where food is cooked over high heat in order to attain that delicious ‘al carbon’ character.” Grilling over wood imparts the most flavor, he says, and over gas the least. You don’t always want the “most flavor,” however. A delicate fish can easily be overpowered and made unpleasantly smoky tasting by using wood. “I usually like to grill over charcoal. It imparts a little flavor, while being able to reach the high temperatures desired for grilling.”
“One of my favorite things to grill is fresh ahi tuna,” he says. Try Hufferd’s savory lemon-soy ahi tuna.
Grilled Lemon-Soy Ahi Tuna
4 ahi tuna steaks
salt and pepper
fresh lemon juice
Coat the tuna steaks and veggies with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over hot coals (cook tuna rare or medium rare). Drizzle all with fresh lemon juice and soy sauce, and serve.
Chef and restaurateur Bill White features a range of cuisines at his five restaurants, but at home he admits to being “completely anti over-the-top,” preferring instead to focus on guests and super-easy recipes. A large stainless-steel gas grill with a rotisserie sits on the patio for year-round use. Grilled beef or fish is often incorporated into a salad with greens from his garden and homemade grain-mustard vinaigrette. Pineapple or other fruit salsas are popular accompaniments.
“When I’m cooking, I like to weave together ingredients that naturally go together,” White says, “pairing pineapple or mango with a Hawaiian fish, for example.” The enzyme in pineapple breaks down protein and is a natural tenderizer. Create White’s quick and easy pineapple salsa.
Mahimahi with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
1 fresh pineapple, cored and quartered
green pasilla or poblano chiles
1 red onion, sliced
½ to 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp lime juice
Preheat grill. Brush pineapple, chiles, and red onion with olive oil and grill over high heat. Chop and add to bowl with lime juice and cilantro. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Baste mahimahi with olive oil and grill. Serve with salsa.