This time of year, I can’t seem to get enough of grilled foods. I’m not a big meat eater, but must admit that when it comes to food being cooked over a grill, I can appreciate a thick, rare ribeye steak, a hamburger patty or good quality hot dog, or salmon, chicken or Cornish game hen.
We use oak or manzanita wood to make the coals, being that we don’t like to use a gas grill. But I still love my veggies and the metal grill basket I cook them in. Here are some tasty recipes you might consider the next time you fire up the grill.
Grilled chicken sandwiches
This is similar to Caprese salad, what with the tomato, mozzarella and basil.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 extra tablespoons
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced (use the best you can find)
12 chicken breast cutlets, half-inch thick, totaling 2 1/2 pounds
6 ciabatta rolls, split
6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, about 1/3-inch thick
6 large fresh basil leaves
1. In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture into a medium bowl, add the tomatoes and turn to coat. Add the chicken to the large bowl and turn to coat. Let the tomatoes and chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a grill. Brush the rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and grill over high heat until golden. Add the chicken to the grill, season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat, turning once, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Place the chicken on the rolls and top with the mozzarella, tomato and basil. Spoon any tomato juices on the top half of the bun, close the sandwiches and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Honey ginger grilled salmon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1 green onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets or steaks
1. In a large self-closing plastic bag, combine first six ingredients; mix well. Place salmon in bag and seal tightly. Turn bag gently to distribute marinade. Refrigerate (turn bag occasionally) 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes for stronger flavor.
2. Lightly grease grill rack or fish griller (one of those hinged, flat metal ones with long handles). Preheat grill to medium heat.
3. Remove salmon from marinade and reserve the marinade. Grill 12 to 15 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Brush with reserved marinade up until the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Discard any leftover marinade. Makes 4 servings.
I like to add sliced sweet onions to this, and then, after the potatoes and onions are tender, open the foil, close the lid of the barbecue and smoke the package a few minutes. (I use an old-fashioned grill with oak or manzanita wood coals.) Adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes, if desired. For me, that means less chili powder and more garlic.
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds medium red potatoes, quartered
1. Preheat grill to high heat (about 400 degrees). In large bowl, combine, chili powder, honey, garlic powder, pepper and butter.
2. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Wrap potatoes in heavy-duty foil and seal. Cook about 30 minutes on grill, or until potatoes are tender. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Grilled ground beef gyros
1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt
1/3 cup chopped seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound lean ground beef (can use ground turkey)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1 teaspoon onion granules or powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pita breads, cut in half
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1. In a bowl, combine first 5 ingredients (for sauce); cover and refrigerate.
2. In a separate bowl, combine ground beef or turkey and seasonings. Mix well and shape into 4 patties.
3. Grill, covered, over medium to high heat, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink, turning once.
4. Cut patties into thin slices (I find this much easier to do if the patties cool off and are less likely to be crumbly).
5. Place meat slices into the pita bread pockets; add lettuce tomato and onion as desired. Garnish with the yogurt-cucumber sauce and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Portabella and cheese burgers
Portabella, portabello, I give up on what to call them as the spelling is about 50-50 either way. This is for those who just might happen to be vegetarians.
2 large portabella mushrooms caps, cleaned and stem removed
3 to 4 slices Gouda cheese (thin slices, smoked is good!)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus about 1 tablespoon extra for oiling mushroom caps (if needed)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 slices fresh ripe tomatoes (thick slices)
2 artisan bakery rolls or 4 slices French bread, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
2 teaspoons sweet onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley, or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, sliced garlic clove and 1 teaspoon thyme in a zipper-lock bag. Add portabella mushroom caps, zip up and marinate for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the garlic mayonnaise. Cover and place in refrigerator for a few minutes so flavors will blend.
3. When mushroom caps are ready, brush with about a tablespoon or so of olive oil (if needed) and place in a hinged grill basket, the type like you would use for burger patties or fish.
4. Grill mushrooms over medium heat until they are tender and slightly charred. Reheat the rolls, cut-side down. Spread desired amount of garlic mayo on each roll. Place one portabella cap in each roll, followed by a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato. Makes 2 servings.