I love cooking but ever summer I would leave the grilling to my husband. Each year, my husband’s job becomes more demanding and I’ve started taking charge of the grill so we can eat before 9 pm. It’s exciting to cook on a new platform and I’ve been getting more experimental with the recipes I try. I’m also getting into meatless grilling as we’re trying to cut down on the amount of meat we eat. One night a few weeks ago, I made our entire dinner on the grill – shrimp, veggies, fruit and bread. It was delicious! Here are the recipes I used courtesy of The Best of Fine Cooking – Grilling 2012.
Thai Grilled Green Mango from The Best of Fine Cooking – Grilling 2012
Serves four as an appetizer
2 fresh Thai bird chiles or other small hot chiles, seeded and minced
1-1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp. water [I added more water because the sauce was too fishy for my taste - I used 1-1/2 TBSP]
1 Tbs. very finely chopped lemongrass (peel away the outer layer and use only the bulbous part at the end)
1 Tbs. brown sugar
3 to 4 green (unripe) mangos
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
About 8 mint leaves and 10 basil leaves, each stacked, rolled into a cylinder, and cut into thin strips
In a small bowl. mix the chiles, fish sauce, water, lemongrass, and brown sugar. Pit each mango by holding it with the narrow side up and cutting through on each side of the large, flat, central pit to give you two big pitless pieces. With a sharp knife, peel these pieces and cut them into spears about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick. Peel the skin from the remaining pit section and cut the flesh near the pit into spears, if possible. (You can peel the mangos before slicing, but they become quite slippery.)
Pour the marinade over the mangos and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes but not more than 1 hour. Have ready a moderately hot fire. Grill the fruit to soften its texture, letting it brown slightly, about 2 minutes per side. When cooked, transfer it to a platter, pour any remaining marinade over the mangos, and sprinkle with the cilantro, mint, and basil. Serve warm as an appetizer with your favorite beer.
Shrimp Skewers with Pimentón Vinegarette from The Best of Fine Cooking – Grilling 2012
36 shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.; about 1-1/2 lb. total), peeled (tail segment left on) and deveined
Twelve 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Yields about 1/2 cup
1 large clover garlic
Generous 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice [I love lemon so I used a whole lemon]
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar [I prefer the taste of actual Sherry wine so I used that instead]
1 tsp. sweet (dulce) pimentón [pimentón is Spanish Paprika - I didn't have the sweet kind so I just used what I had in my pantry]
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Make the Vinegarette:
Chop the garlic, sprinkle it with the salt, and mash it into a paste with the side of a chef’s knife (or use a mortar and pestle). In a medium bowl, mix the garlic paste, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, pimentón, and pepper. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
For the Shrimp:
Thread three shrimp onto each skewer. Lay the skewers in a large Pyrex baking dish (or other large nonreactive container) and pour the pimentón vinaigrette over the skewers, turning them to coat completely. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Grill the skewers (covered on a gas grill, uncovered on a charcoal grill), flipping once, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 4 minutes total.
Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta – The Best of Fine Cooking – Grilling 2012
4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered [I used yellow instead of red to add more color]
1 head fennel, cut into 6 or 8 wedges
1 lb. small zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 roma or 3 larger tomatoes, cored
6 large scallions, trimmed to leave 3 inches green
1/2 cup olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices crusty Italian bread, 1 inch thick
1 medium bunch fresh basil, leaves washed, dried and sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano [I skipped the cheese because I'm watching my dairy intake]
Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Toss the vegetables with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill all the vegetables, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly charred. As the vegetables are done, transfer them to a cutting board, chop into chunks, and tip into a large bowl, including any juices.
Lightly brush the bread with more olive oil and grill for a few minutes on each side. Rub with the cut garlic cloves.
Add the basil to the bowl of chopped vegetables, squeeze in some lemon juice and drizzle with a few more tablespoons of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss again and serve with the grilled garlic bread and grated cheese on the side for sprinkling.
I had a lot of leftover grilled vegetables so another night that week I made a pasta primavera. I simply cooked some penne (you can use whatever pasta you like though a pasta with some shape rather than a spaghetti would work better) and prepared some garlic and oil in a separate pot. While the pasta was cooking I reheated the grilled vegetables. When the pasta was ready I drained it, added the garlic and oil and the veggies and combined it all. I topped it off with some Pecorino Romano and dinner was served!