It s summer! Who wants to spend time slaving away in a hot kitchen when you can be outdoors, cooking and dining al fresco? We can think of nothing better than sitting in the sun and eating fresh berries, tossed in a fluffy cream, or biting into a crisp piece of corn on the cob hot off the grill. Food just seems to taste better outside, so get your grill out and try these top ten unique foods and recipes for the grill. Remember the words of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin -- The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.
Meat Whether it s a Filet Mignon, pork chops, or a simple burger, meat is wonderful when grilled. Don t with just throw a boring hamburger patty on the grill, add some life to it by stuffing it with grilled onions and mozzarella, or use a marinade. Marinades can take your grilled meat to new delicious heights. Marinades are usually made from an acidic like vinegar or lemon juice. Beer is also a good acidic. Try mixing together a Guinness beer, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and chopped parsley. Let it stand for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend, then soak your steaks or burgers for at least an hour before grilling.
Seafood Most seafood benefit from the smoky flavor of the grill. The one thing to remember when grilling seafood is not to overcook it. Shrimp is done when the shells turn pink. Lobster should be cooked only until opaque in the center. Marinades are great, but not always needed, sometimes salt and pepper and a little lemon juice is all you need with grilled seafood. Shrimp, scallops, and small bits of fish also work nicely for kabobs.
Bread The intense heat is a great way to toast bread. You will get a lot more flavor out of your bread by grilling it. Any bread will taste great off the grill; try sour dough, ciabatta, baguettes, or an Italian round. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter on one side. Herbed butters and cheeses are also heavenly on grilled bread.
Corn on the Cob Sweet summer corn is so much more enjoyable from the grill. You can grill it with or without husks. If you choose to leave the husk on, remember to soak your corn for about 30 minutes in water. Then place cobs on the grill and cook for about 25 minutes on low heat turning once. If you decide to grill the corn with the husk off change the grill temperature to medium high and cook about 13 minutes, turning often. You can add a little variety to your corn on the cob by making an herbed butter or a honey butter to accompany it. I recommend whipping chopped cilantro and salted butter together in a small bowl. Once the cilantro is combined completely, form the butter into a log, wrap with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until ready to use. This can be prepared 2 days in advance. Remember that you re not limited to just cilantro. Play around with your favorite herbs, you might find something you love.
Asparagus - Many people think you need to wrap your asparagus in tin foil before grilling, I disagree. Lightly coat you trimmed asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and grill over high heat for about 3 minutes.
Portobello Mushrooms - The neat thing about a Portobello mushroom is its size. These massive mushrooms can serve as a main dish for your vegetarian guests or as a healthy and flavorful side dish. Remove the stems, marinade with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Grill for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping every 2-3 minutes.
Avocado - Grilled avocados are lovely to have as a side dish or you can even stuff them and make them into a main dish. The first step to grilling them is getting them out of the skin. Coat the avocados in olive oil, and season with your favorite seasonings or just plain salt and pepper. Place them on the grill for 1 minute on each side. You can stuff them with cheeses, seafood, or other veggies.
Pineapple There is nothing like grilled pineapple. Grilling does amazing things to fruit as the natural sugars caramelize, creating a golden brown color. Grilled pineapple is simply delicious; you can slice it into rings or spears. It can be eaten as side or a dessert. Any way, it is divine.
Peaches Peaches, like pineapple, take to the grill amazingly. Their sweetness is complemented well by the smoky grill flavor. Pit and peel your peach in half, then place on a nice clean grill for about 3 minutes on both sides. Grilled sweet peaches and ice cream serve well as a decedent dessert, but they also work lovely with grilled pork.
Pound Cake Pre make or buy a loaf of pound cake and then slice up and grill 2 minutes on each side. Top the warm cake with a rich chocolate sauce or you could even toss luscious grilled peaches or pineapple on there. Thick slices of grilled pound cake are a great way to end a summer barbecue.