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You Can Grill Most Everything!

By Jane Butel  July 22, 2021

Liquids are about the only food that you wouldn't grill very often--except maybe for hot drinks.  With the summer heat wave--keeping the heat out of the kitchen is totally appealing.  When I wrote the  "Southwestern Grill" cookbook, the concept was that most all parts of a meal can be grilled.  From appetizers to breads to desserts in addition of course to the grilled main and vegetable courses. 

For appetizers, it's lots of fun for a party to grill foods that can be eaten out of hand right off the grill.  Some yummy samples are small skewers of almost any meat  or vegetable with a dunking sauce or two.  (We feature Satays in our forthcoming Grilling class, July 29).  Shellfish, such as clams (recipe follows) or oysters are great fun to eat right off the grill as soon as they pop open.  You can provide lemon butter, hot sauce or cocktail sauce for dunking.

One of my favorite soups from the grill is Blackened Tomato Cream Soup.  Others that are very good are the  Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Soup or the Grilled Corn with Green Chile. These can be made and set to simmer on the burner of your grill or to the back of the grill over low heat.

Some of my  favorite bread ideas are to bake biscuits in a heavy skillet which has a generous layer of butter melted in it.  Just cover the biscuits and grill on a high heat.  When done, turn out on a plate and allow the butter to drizzle down through them.  They are yummy!  Garlic bread is amazing when grilled as is grilled Focaccio baked in a sheet pay right on the grill.

Most any stoned fruit, plus--apples, pears, or pineapple are great grilled various ways.  Also moist cakes baked in a sheet pan, such as Zucchini or Banana cake  turn out well.

Salads made from Grilled Veggies of most any kind are great tossed with some greens and your favorite dressing.   Other choices are  a Hearty Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with  Kielbasa and a Balsamic Dressing.  Or, try the Classic Caprese Salad with a Grilled Garlic Dressing or a Grilled Radicchio  or a Grilled  Caesar Salad with a  Cilantro Cream Dressing  (that is in the clads also).

For our class we are Grilling  a Dallas Style Flank Steak.   Fajitas of any type are always great as are Grilled Pork Roasts or Chops any number of ways such as  Grilled Tenderloin Pinwheels Stuffed with most  any favorite filling  or Grilled Chops simply rubbed with a favorite rub or ample amounts of fresh minced sage.

A long time favorite of mine is Grilled Lemon and Butter Basted Chicken Breast served with rounds of Lemon Pecan Butter (recipe follows).  Seafood takes happily and simply to grilling .  A simple rub on  most any fish, then served with a sauce or salsa. is just great! Last night I had about a cupful of apricots left from  making a Gallete the night before .  So I simmered them for two minutes covered in the microwave on high.  Then, I  added a small handful of dried  cranberriess and simmered them for another two minutes uncovered. in the microwave--also on high and served  it over a Grilled Rubbed Salmon steak.  It was amazingly delicious and so easy.

We still have some spaces left in our Grilling class next Thursday and the Green Chile Fiesta on August 26 and our New Mexican Favorites on September, which starts at 12 noon  on September 20.  Our next weekend class is set for August 20-22 and our next week long class is set for October 25-29 and we have set our next Oaxaca Culinary Tour for June 14 - 20, 2022.



Pecans grow all over the Southwest. The richness of pecans tinged with tart lemon and tarragon is delicious. This can be served with grilled vegetables.

Yield: 6 servings

Lemon-Pecan Butter (see below)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley or tarragon

Lemon-Pecan Butter

¼ cup pecans

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Zest of 1 lemon, minced

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  1. Prepare the Lemon-Pecan Butter, called a compound butter and chill in the freezer.
  2. While the butter is chilling, brush chicken with lemon juice and melt butter, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat grill to medium or 350°. Place rack 4 inches above heat
  4. Arrange chicken on rack: grill 6 minutes. Turn and grill 5 to 6 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife and the interior is 185°.
  5. To serve, place 1 breast half on a plate and top with 2 thin slices Lemon-Pecan Butter. Garnish with parsley.

Finely grind pecans in a blender or food processor. Add butter, lemon zest, tarragon and lemon juice and process until combined. Place on a plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm. (Freeze if time is short.)


This dish can be served as either an appetizer or a light meal when accompanied by hearty grilled vegetables and crusty bread. It is a perfect appetizer to serve while the grill is heating or another food is cooking. The clams are a popular tapa and are not served with the green chile—I added it as a flavor enhancer. Oysters can be substituted for the clams if you wish.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

48 clams in the shell, rinsed

About 1 Tablespoon oatmeal, cornmeal or breadcrumbs

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup parched, peeled and minced green chile

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

3 Tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped

  1. Soak clams in cold water with a sprinkle of oatmeal, cornmeal or breadcrumbs for 30 minutes to remove sand. Clams will exchange sand for the oatmeal, cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
  1. Mix together butter, chile, lime zest and cilantro.



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