Are you wary of cooking fish on the grill, because it can tear so easily? We borrowed an easy technique from prolific cookbook authors Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough: Lay a bed of thin citrus slices across the grate or grill basket before you add the fillets.

Depending on which citrus you use, you can chop up those grilled slices and use them to make a salsa for the fish. We’ve used limes in this recipe, but oranges and lemons — or better, yet, a mix of all three — would be lovely.

Because the fish cooks so quickly, you have time to let it defrost and marinate for a few minutes. We found this makes a world of difference, flavorwise, when it comes to mild-tasting cod. And my colleague and Food anchor Mary Beth Albright recently posted a video using similar technique with salmon; watch it here.

Grilling salmon on top of citrus slices and herbs is a simple, flavorful, and elegant technique for beginner and advanced grillers. This first in a series of Grill Hacks presents a dinner that is quick enough for a weeknight and special enough for company. (The Washington Post)

Cook this fish on the grill or in a grill pan on the stove top, as we’ve shown here. Look for thick-cut fillets.

Serve with roasted/smashed fingerling potatoes.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar (a Mediterranean spice blend; may substitute dried oregano)
  • 14 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Two 6- to 8-ounce frozen cod or other white-fleshed fillets, preferably thick-cut
  • 2 limes

Step 1

Prepare a gas grill for direct heat, on medium-high (450 degrees). Grease the grate with cooking oil spray.

Step 2

Meanwhile, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of oil, a small pinch of salt, the za’atar and the crushed red pepper flakes on a plate. Add the fillets and turn a few times to coat; let sit at room temperature while the grill heats up (for about 15 minutes).

Step 3

Cut the limes into thin slices and divide them into 2 piles; make a bed of slightly overlapping slices for each fish fillet, directly on the grate or grill basket (or grill pan).

Step 4

Place the cod on them and close the lid (or place on the grill pan, uncovered); cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the flesh turns a brighter shade of white and firms up.

Step 5

Place a fillet on each plate and drizzle with a little more oil; if desired, serve with a slice or two of grilled lime.

Adapted from “Kitchen Shortcut Bible: More Than 200 Recipes to Make Real Food Real Fast,” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Little, Brown and Co., 2018).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to

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Servings Per Container: 2; Calories: 270; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 75 mg; Sodium: 240 mg; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 0 g; Protein: 31 g.