Grilling is great fun--everyone can gather around the grill while the entire meal except for most beverages can be grilled. Appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, salads (you heard that right), breads and desserts can all be grilled. My now out of print Southwestern Grill is all about creating entire meals on the grill. I really like to grill and do so all year long.
Some of my favorite grilling ideas for the various courses of a meal are for appetizers--fresh clams or oysters--just pop them on the grill until they pop open and serve with your favorite dipping sauce such as lemon butter or horseradish cream, etc. Or, make little skewers of a fruit or two and shrimp or marinated chicken or pork. (If grilling the pork or chicken--they are best grilled as all meat skewers and the fruits as all fruit, due to the difference in grilling time. ( A favorite recipe follows.)
Grilled radicchio or Romaine make for great, simple or creative salads. Charring the edges of either give them a depth of flavor that is quite good. You can dress them with whatever dressing you like--I tend to prefer a simple vinaigrette topped with some nuts, cheese, olives or whatever you have or sounds good.
The range of main dishes is endless--most all meats, fish poultry, or seafood take well to grilling. Some hints are to keep fish or most any kind of meat from sticking--preheat the grill so it is hot to start with and will sear the flesh. If the skin, such as on fish, is quite delicate; you may wish to place the fish in a wire frame that is made for grilling. Never use non-stick spray on a grill that is on--you can create a very dangerous torch effect and really hurt yourself. Another good idea is when selecting an outdoor grill--look for one that has porcelain grates--they tend to retard sticking.
Before grilling most any meat, try rubbing a rub, such as our Gordon's Rub which is now on special at 25% off. The rub gives such a great depth of flavor, you will be amazed at how good such a simple rub can be. I like to use a rub on ribs, chicken or most any cut of pork before searing it and saucing it. Try it if you haven't --I bet you will really like meats done this way.
Breads, amazingly--especially cornbread, biscuits or Focaccio are great on the grill. For a real breakfast treat, try melting butter in a heavy, cast iron skillet, then place the biscuits on the melted butter and cover with a tight fitting lid or foil. and bake at about 400F for 10 to 15 minutes or until done. Turn the biscuits out of the skillet onto a plate and enjoy--they are finger lickin' good!
For dessert, most any fruit is wonderful grilled. I especially like pineapple or peaches grilled and then sauced. For the pineapple, I use a rum butter and call them Mai Tai Pineapple. For the peaches, I use a reduction of Balsamic Vinegar with pink peppercorns.
We now have 2 week long classes set--July 29 to August 2 and the week of September 23-27. Also we have August 9-11, September 20-22 And November 8-10 weekend classes and several specialty day classes including a very Fun and Creative Grilling Class on August 15.
Here's a couple of favorite grilling recipes--
SATAYS—CHICKEN, PORK OR SHRIMP WITH DIPPING SAUCES
Borrowed from Asian kitchens, these appetizer satays are a very streamlined version of the yummy barbecued meat on skewers street food. We like to make two to three kinds of meat and all three sauces for a party
Yield 6 to 8 appetizer servings or 3 to 4 main-course servings
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped fresh or canned tomato
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tablespoon light, low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon sherry
2 teaspoons crushed caribe chile
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¾ inch cubes or 1 pound boneless pork, cut into ¾ inch cubes or 1 pound medium to large shrimp, shelled, butterflied and de-veined
Quick ‘n Easy Satay Dipping Sauce (follows)
In a shallow glass or stainless steel bowl or baking dish, mix together all ingredients except chicken, pork or shrimp and dipping sauce. Place chicken, pork or shrimp in marinade and stir around to evenly coat all sides. Place on skewers and return to marinade. Refrigerate in marinade at least 5 to 6 hours or overnight. (Or, allow to set at room temperature for 1 hour.)
Preheat grill to medium or 350 F. Just before grilling lightly brush rack with oil. Place skewers sideways on oiled rack and cook until lightly browned, rotating to ensure even cooking. Grill chicken 5 to 10 minutes or until cooked through. Pork will require at least 10 minutes or more. Grill shrimp about 5 minutes or until pink. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
Quick ‘n Easy Satay Dipping Sauce
Not very authentic, but it has an exotic flavor. This is a good spur-of-the-moment satay sauce to offer.
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons plum or apricot jam, minced or blended
½ cup light or regular soy sauce
2 to 3 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk or stir with a fork until well mixed. Keeps well in the refrigerator. Makes enough for 1 pound of satay.
Thai Sweet Hot Sauce
This will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
1 ½ cups apricot or plum preserves
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 ½ to 3 teaspoons crushed Pequin Quebrado chile, or to taste
2 Tablespoons rice or white vinegar.
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, process until pureed. Makes enough for 3 to 4 pound of satay.
This Americanized version of the Indonesian original is quickly prepared.
1 ½ Tablespoons tamarind pulp
¼ cup warm water or as needed
1 cup fresh, frozen or canned pineapple chunks, drained and pureed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed pequin quebrado
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, white part only, minced
1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tablespoon minced gingerroot
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup water
Soak tamarind in water until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove seeds, strings and strain liquid. Add pulp to a food processor or blender jar, reserve liquid. Add remaining ingredients except peanut butter, water and reserved soaking liquid to processor or blender and process until well blended.
Combine tamarind liquid, peanut butter and water in a small heavy saucepan, place over medium low heat. Add pureed mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. This can be refrigerated for several days or frozen. Makes enough for 3 to 4 pounds of satays.
ROSEMARY GARLIC GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST
I will never forget how delicious Rosemary Chicken was the first time I tried it when one of my closest friends made it for dinner many years ago. I have taken it to the next step with a paillard style of pounded breast that is so juicy and delicious, I am sure you will continue to make it-maybe forever.
Yield: 4 servings
Cooking time: 8 minutes
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
Several grinds black pepper
1. Early in the day, even the day before, cut the chicken breasts in two equal parts. Then pound the chicken breast until less than ½ inch thick, being careful not to break or tear the meat. Combine the oil, rosemary, garlic and pepper, creating a baste.
2. Evenly rub the baste into the meat and allow to set at least an hour before grilling over medium heat-375F to 400F.
3. Grill 4 minutes on each side or until firm, but not hard when pressed. If you desire a criss-cross grilling pattern, place the chicken on an angle, then after 2 minutes, angle each piece the opposite direction, creating diamond patterns. Repeat on the other side.
Note: The chicken can be pan broiled over medium high heat if desired.