There are few foods that present diners with more dilemmas than seafood. Too often it seems that what tastes good is what’s worst for the oceans and our own health, whether it’s concerns about overfishing or questions about the safety of fish caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Barton Seaver believes there are great fish dishes that can be good for us and the environment. He joins us to talk about sustainable seafood and summer grilling.


  • Barton Seaver National Geographic Fellow; Chef and Certified Sommelier

Summer Grilling Recipes from Barton Seaver

Grilled Clams with Lime-Oregano Butter
Serves 4 as an appetizer

This is a great dish to start off any gathering as the clams cook in just a few minutes and the butter is served melted on the side. If you can’t get outside to grill, then cook the clams under the broiler in the oven.

  • 24 each littleneck clams, washed
  • 2 sprigs fresh Oregano, finely chopped
  • half lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons butter

For the butter, combine the lime juice with the oregano and butter in a small saucepot. Place on a burner over medium heat and cook until the butter is about halfway melted. Remove from heat and swirl the pan to melt the rest of the butter.

For the clams, place them cup side down over the hottest part of the grill and cook until they begin to pop open. Remove them one by one as they open and transfer to plates. Discard any clams that do not open after 6-7 minutes of cooking.

Serve immediately with the melted butter.

Grilled Mackerel with Fig and Citrus Dressing
Serves four as an entrée

Come late summer there is nothing more seductive than the taste and texture of ripe figs. I like to pair them with the bright taste of citrus and the bite of shallots to offset the richness of the mackerel. The mackerel cooks very quickly due to its thin fillet so this whole dish can come together in a matter of minutes. I like to grill spicy greens such as mustard or turnip to accompany the meal.

  • 4 each fillets Boston mackerel, skin on 5 ounces each
  • 4 each ripe figs, either brown or green, cut into 1/8 ths
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced as thin as possible
  • 1.5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt

Prepare a charcoal grill with the coals on one side of the grill.

For the fig dressing, combine the figs, shallots, orange segments, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes for the flavors to harmonize.

For the mackerel, season generously with salt and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Brush the fillets with half a tablespoon of the olive oil and place skin side down away from the flame. Cover the grill and allow to cook for about 12 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through. Rotate the grill grate so that the fish is over the flame and cook for another minute to get the fish hot. Remove from the grill and top each fillet with a spoonful of the fig dressing and serve immediately.

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