José Andrés' Top Tip To Keep Fish From Sticking To Grill Grates

José Andrés wears many hats (sometimes toques): chef, restaurant owner and partner, TV host, and, of course, globe-trotting humanitarian (per PBS). As the founder of World Central Kitchen, the Spanish-born chef and his teams of on-the-ground cooks fill bellies and provide hope to people in crisis across the globe. Andrés' specialty is preparing and serving comfort food to the people who need it most.

A new series for Discovery+, "José Andrés and Family in Spain,'' finds the chef who launched a flavor-filled tapas and Spanish food revolution in American restaurants sharing cultural and culinary adventures in his native country with his wife and daughters (per Condé Nast Traveler). On a visit to a seafood market for the series, Andrés shows off the love Spain has for fish and shellfish, especially during the holiday season (via Instagram).

Andrés is hooked on seafood, from relatively fuss-free open-faced crab empanadas to more elaborate dishes, such as paella with shrimp and squid (via Food & Wine). When he's at home in the Washington, D.C. area, the chef has an outdoor kitchen all tricked up with equipment for cooking over fire (per Food & Wine). And his best tip for fish that's grilled neat and clean — with no stuck-on mess on the grates — is surprisingly simple.

Get your grill hot — fish does best in heat

Anyone who's mastered cooking steaks, chops, or chicken on the grill and decides to grill fish without first doing some homework quickly learns that fish is much more delicate and requires some care (per Food Republic).

Most of us don't have access to a backyard barbecue pit and state-of-the-art grills. But even if your outdoor kitchen is a charcoal or gas grill parked on a patio, José Andrés' top tip for fish that lifts easily from the grates is doable: Turn up the heat. "You need to make sure that the grill is really hot," Andrés said to Food & Wine in October. "When things are hot, nothing ever sticks."

Another way to reel in top-notch grilled fish is to use a metal fish basket for ease and protection. Andrés and his Bazaar Meat chef and partner, David Thomas, recommend heating such baskets in the oven or on the grill and brushing them lightly with oil before adding the fish. Don't have a basket? No problem. Grab a roll of aluminum foil, tear off a large piece, poke holes in it, and fashion it into a pouch to hold the fish.

Andrés shares cooking tips and food itineraries

José Andrés is a generous man, and his generosity extends to sharing tips and "hacks” to help others eat well and cook like a chef. In his Substack newsletter and podcast, Longer Tables, Andrés offers tutorials on how to make a "gintonic” like a Spaniard (down to the shape of the ice and the glasses used) and how to fry eggs in an unconventional way, by cooking the whites first and adding the yolks later. 

On YouTube, the chef shows viewers how to turn a single can of squid in ink sauce into a quick and easy pasta dish to feed the family. He also shows that sometimes, things don't go as expected in the kitchen, and the red wine orange sauce can get overcooked if you're not watching it.

Chef Andrés clearly loves seafood, too. One of his many restaurants, Fish, is in the Bahamas, an appropriate place for dining focused on selections from the sea. The chef's new food and travel series shines the light on more than 20 restaurants in Spain, where Andrés and his family enjoyed iconic foods including tapas, patatas bravas, and tostas — and he made stops for fresh fish, including "some of the best bluefin tuna money can buy” (via Bon Appétit).