Bread with Rosemary Scented White Bean Puree is a
perfect dish to make ahead as it can be served at room
nothing better than the flavor and presentation of food
cooked on a grill.
slightly smoky flavor and ease of preparation makes grilling
one of the top cooking methods any time of the year. Even
when there is a chill in the air, stepping outside to grill
a meal is quick and easy.
that summer is around the corner, many of us are dining al
fresco, and that often includes a grilled dish. Almost any
food can be grilled, from steak to portobello mushrooms, and
occasionally a food that you wouldn’t imagine, such as
thickly cut Greek cheese (Halloumi), which grills perfectly.
those who don’t have access to an outdoor grill, I’ve
had success with cast-iron indoor grilling pans. Indoor
grilling pans, which can be found in any cookware store, add
a depth of flavor similar to outdoor gas grilling. I own two
square ones that fit over a burner and can accommodate two
servings of protein or four pieces of fresh corn or sliced
are some of my tips to make the most of your grilling.
important, you need to know which foods are best grilled.
Any cut of meat or chicken is ideal for grilling.
dark-meat chicken, I recommend cooking it first in the oven
to get it about three quarters done and then finishing it on
the grill to avoid overly dark or blackened skin. Chicken
breasts cook quickly – about 3 minutes per side. I
recommend you pound the chicken to an even thickness to
assure perfect doneness.
is best if you choose steak fish (such as tuna, salmon,
swordfish or shark) or whole fish (such as snapper or bass).
Shellfish, including shrimp, scallops, clams and lobster,
are wonderful on the grill and can be served room
temperature or as part of a salad. I tend to avoid thin fish
fillets for grilling as they are too delicate for the high
heat and difficult to move off the grill.
kinds of grilled vegetables are wonderful. My personal
favorites are asparagus, mushrooms, onions, peppers,
zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, unripe tomatoes and corn.
Consider buying a grill basket for smaller veggies to avoid
them falling into the grill. For the vegetarians among us,
both tofu and tempeh are delicious in their grilled form,
especially paired with a flavorful marinade.
THE GRILL READY
prepare the grill, heat is of utmost importance for a
guaranteed non-stick surface. If your food is not ready to
turn easily, simply leave it another minute to insure the
proper sear. If you are grilling something with little to no
marinade, be sure to spray the grill lightly with vegetable
cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
favorite element in grilling is the marinade. A marinade can
be as simple as vinaigrette with a few fresh herbs mixed in,
and sauces such as salsas, pestos and reserved boiled
marinades add a ton of flavor to just about any grilled
there’s no sauce or fat in the pan, and most grilled foods
cook fairly quickly, a marinade not only tenderizes but adds
flavor. I usually marinate dishes for at least two hours at
room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, depending
on what you’re preparing.
recommend reserving the leftover marinade and bringing it to
a boil in a small saucepan for four or five minutes, to kill
any bacteria, along with a little red wine, if desired, and
you have an amazing sauce to drizzle over your grilled dish.
is one exception where the marinade can actually cook the
fish, so don’t marinate fish and shellfish for more than
an hour. This is where a spice rub can be the perfect flavor
enhancer. I often use spice rubs for tuna, salmon or shrimp.
toast a few of your favorite spices, such as cumin, mustard
seeds, peppercorns and coriander. Grind them in a coffee or
spice grinder, coat the fish lightly with olive oil, then
sprinkle the spices and a pinch of sea salt. You’ve now
elevated your fish to another level.
the taste of grilled bread and often serve it lightly
brushed with extra virgin olive oil and rubbed with a cut
clove of garlic, as you might enjoy in Tuscany. Grill the
bread for three or four minutes on each side and serve with
chopped tomatoes, olives, mushrooms. Or, serve it plain,
with a few shavings of Parmesan Reggiano. I often make
hummus or a spread, such as a white bean puree, to serve
guests while they are having a chilled glass of wine.
SHRIMP WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD
is marinated for an hour and then grilled and served on top
of a bed of mixed greens. Scallops can be used in place of
the shrimp if desired. Recipe by Amanda Cushman.
pounds large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
tablespoons lime juice
cup virgin olive oil
teaspoons ground cumin
small jalapeno, seeded and minced
tablespoons cilantro, chopped
large heirloom tomatoes of mixed colors, large dice
cup basil, chopped
tablespoons balsamic vinegar
cup virgin olive oil
and fresh ground pepper, to taste
mixed salad greens
of a small ripe papaya, peeled, diced, garnish
the shrimp with the lime, olive oil, cumin, jalapeno,
cilantro and salt in a medium bowl. Toss and allow to sit at
room temperature for one hour.
the tomatoes, shallot, basil, balsamic, olive oil, salt and
pepper in a large bowl. Toss well and set aside.
the grill to high and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Remove
the shrimp from the marinade and place on the grill,
discarding the marinade. Lower the heat to medium and cook
the shrimp until pink and slightly curled, about 3 to 4
minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
the mixed greens to the tomatoes. Taste for seasoning.
the greens between four serving plates, top with the shrimp,
and garnish each serving with the diced papaya.
SKIRT STEAK WITH BALSAMIC, DIJON AND SOY MARINADE
marinade can be used with lamb chops, pork tenderloin,
chicken or salmon. It is best to marinate overnight for
steak. Recipe by Amanda Cushman.
pounds skirt, flank or hanger steak, scored
cup balsamic vinegar
cup soy sauce
cloves garlic, minced
cup olive oil
tablespoon Dijon mustard
tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
ground black pepper
cup dry red wine
scallions, julienne, garnish
the steak in a shallow baking dish.
marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour over steak and
marinate about 2 hours or overnight, refrigerated.
an hour before grilling, remove the steak from the
refrigerator. Heat the grill on high for about 5 minutes.
Grill the steak for about 7 to 8 minutes on each side for
medium-rare meat. Reserve the leftover marinade. Place
cooked meat on a cutting board and set aside loosely covered
the leftover marinade to a boil in a small saucepan with the
red wine. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile,
slice the meat thinly against the grain. Place on a serving
platter and pour the marinade over the meat. Garnish with
the julienne scallions and serve.
BREAD WITH ROSEMARY-SCENTED WHITE BEAN PUREE
is a perfect dish to make ahead, as it can be served room
temperature. Feel free to substitute chick peas for the
white beans and add other herbs such as thyme or Italian
parsley. Recipe by Amanda Cushman.
cup virgin olive oil
medium shallots, minced
garlic cloves, minced
ounce cans Cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
and pepper to taste
tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
large ripe tomatoes, seeded, chopped
tablespoons virgin olive oil
garlic clove, minced
crusty Tuscan bread, sliced in 1/2-inch slices
olive oil for brushing
1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
and sauté the shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Add the
beans and salt, pepper and rosemary, cover the pan and
reduce the heat to low and cook for about 7 minutes.
a fork, mash up the beans in the skillet to form a rough
paste. Add water as needed when the beans become too thick.
the tomato with the olive oil and minced garlic in a small
bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
the grill over high heat. Brush the bread with a little
olive oil and grill on both sides until toasted and charred
slightly, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the bread to a
serving platter. Spoon the puree on top of the bread and
garnish with the tomato.
Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer