Friday, 1 July 2011

Summer Grilling 2011: Your Kitchen Just Moved Outdoors

Whole Butterflied Chicken
With Gremolata

It's trickier to grill a chicken than a steak; the different parts of the bird cook at different rates, and no one wants medium-rare poultry. But one thing you can do is ask your butcher to butterfly a chicken, which lets you cook it like a steak—as one big slab of meat. The gremolata adds an herbaceous punch, like chimichurri to an Argentine rib eye.

Serves 2 to 4
1 chicken, butterflied and pressed flat
Salt and pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest of 1 lemon

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and let come to room temperature.
2. Make gremolata a couple of hours in advance. Mix together parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
3. Bring a bed of coals to medium and then part them in the middle so chicken is not resting directly above them. Cook for 15 minutes on one side, flip; repeat. Occasionally cover grill, with the vents open, to help bird cook through. Chicken takes a while—count on 1 hour total.
4. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees (or juices run clear when you cut into thickest part of breast and thigh). Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces so you'll have 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and 4 pieces of breast meat. Serve on a platter and spoon gremolata over top.

Blistered Corn
With Chili Powder, Lime, and Cheese

Thank you, Mexico. Fresh summer corn is a cinch to grill—just shuck it and cook it over medium-high heat, till caramel brown. Then, hop it up with this irresistible flavor trio.

8 ears of corn, shucked
2 limes, quartered
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta or grated Parmesan)

Cook corn on an oiled grill over medium-high heat, turning so that it blisters evenly (without letting it shrivel and dry out). Serve immediately on a platter with accompaniments in small bowls. Let everybody prepare his own by rubbing each ear with a lime wedge, then sprinkling with chili powder, salt, and Cotija cheese.

Basket-Grilled Fish

Don't mock the grill basket. It makes cooking fish foolproof. Just stuff the fish cavity with a couple of slices of lemon, some thyme sprigs, and whatever other herbs you have kicking around. (Parsley? Great. Basil? Sure. Fennel fronds? Amazing.) Season, drizzle with olive oil, and grill.

Serves 2
1 lemon
1 large whole fish like striped bass, or 2 medium-size fish like branzino, cleaned and scaled
1 bunch thyme (and/or other fresh herbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Red-pepper flakes

1. Cut two slices of lemon and stuff into cavity of fish along with 4 sprigs of thyme. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over both sides of fish, and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes; then place in grill basket.

2. Grill over hot coals for 3 to 4 minutes, until skin blisters. Turn and grill for 2 to 3 minutes more. The flesh won't quite be cooked through, but it will continue to cook when you take it off the heat. After 2 or 3 minutes resting on a plate, it should be moist and flaky. Finish with remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt. Serve.

Grilled Flatbread
With Olive Oil and Sea Salt

Hot fresh bread plus grill marks: There's a forehead-slapping obviousness to that. As in, Why doesn't everybody do it? It's easy. Buy a ball of dough from your local pizzeria or supermarket. Then grill it over hot coals: You want puffy, slightly charred bread. When done, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and herbs, cut into wedges, and serve with cocktails and dip (like the sweet pea-ricotta one, above). Or pile the discs alongside a platter of grilled kebabs and let everybody go for it.

1 large ball pizza dough
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh herbs, like thyme or rosemary

Prepare grill. Bring coals to medium hot. Meanwhile, divide dough into fist-sized balls. Press balls on a floured surface using your fingers so that they're ¼ inch thick all the way across. (If dough snaps back, let it rest for a minute, then try again.) Cook on oiled grill for about 45 seconds on each side—flatbread should be charred and bubbly. Set out on a platter, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and herbs.

Charred Fresh Fruit
With Greek Yogurt

The difference between a lazy dessert and a sophisticated one is a few minutes on the grill. Cut fruits like plums and nectarines into quarters or halves, and watermelon and pineapple (skinned and cored) into wedges; dab with a little turbinado sugar (it has a nice molasses-y flavor); and grill until cooked through. Give everybody a serving of still warm fruit on a scoop of full-fat Greek yogurt—you get all the richness of ice cream, except yogurt is durable enough for a beach cooler.

Serves 6
A bunch of fruit: whatever you think looks good—plums, peaches, nectarines, watermelon, pineapple
¼ cup turbinado sugar
3 cups thick Greek yogurt
Sweet dessert wine (optional)

1. Bring coals to medium. Sprinkle fruit with sugar and cook on oiled grill, carefully caramelizing sugar without burning it too much. (Though a little charring is nice.)
2. Divide Greek yogurt into six bowls, then top with fruit. If you have some sweet dessert wine, drizzle a little over fruit, then pour the rest into glasses.

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