Tidewater Kitchen - July 2007

Indoor and Outdoor Grilling

by

Pamela Meredith Doyle

   I love indoor grills, even though I have always had a patio, deck or somewhere to have my outdoor grill. Indoor grills are great! There is no gas or charcoal involved, the cleaning is easy and storage is a breeze. Just think – the weather can’t even slow you down.
    There are a few rules to follow when grilling indoors. The most important is preheating the grill to a uniformly hot surface. Stove-top grills need a few minutes on the burner, but beware a flame that’s too high. It won’t speed up or improve your cooking, only scorch the food and damage the pan. For an electric grill, simply plug it in and wait five minutes for the unit to heat up.
    As for accessories, all you really need is a pair of tongs for turning food, a basting brush for oil or marinade, and a spatula for flipping. If your grill has a non-stick surface, choose wooden or plastic utensils to avoid scratching the surface.
    My favorite grill pan is the All-Clad Stainless Steel Nonstick Round Grill Pan that goes for about $100. An indoor grill or grill pan is great if you have a small kitchen with little counter space for another appliance but enough ventilation to handle a bit of smoke. This grill pan is not as heavy as some of the other pans out there, at just three pounds. The stainless steel exterior makes it also look good on your pot rack.
    If you are cooking for a larger group, you might go for an electric grill, as they tend to be a bit larger than the contact grills. They are especially great for shrimp, hot dogs, kebabs and thin cuts of meat.
    Some of the grills have part grill and part griddle. This is good if you want to cook combinations of foods like veggies with chicken, sausage with pancakes, etc. It just depends on your cooking style. I prefer the ones that are all grill.
    When grilling beef and sausage, make sure that the meat is not too thick or too thin. One inch is about right. This allows the meat to cook through without becoming charred. For sausage I usually boil it first, unless it is precooked. Then place it on the grill.

Tips for buying meat for the grill:
   Steak: New York strip and sirloin are terrific boneless options; you can also use bone-in steaks like T-bone and Porterhouse. If you don’t see packages of 1-inch-thick steaks, ask the butcher to cut them for you.
   Sausage: The expanding array of chicken and turkey links means a lot of choices, but these tend to dry out more quickly. If you’d rather not pay close attention to the grill, stick with classic, low-maintenance pork.
   Hamburgers: Because fat equals flavor, the best burgers come from the cheapest ground beef. Try 80% lean or, for a slightly leaner patty, ask the butcher to grind equal parts chuck and sirloin.
   Cooking Tips: Consider flank steak if, like a short-order cook, you have requests ranging from medium-rare to well-done. This large cut has a thicker center and tapered ends. When the middle is medium-rare, the ends will be well-done.
    Prevent a burger from bulging by making an indentation in the center with your thumb. It will fill out when it is cooking.
    Don’t prick your sausage. If you keep sausages over moderate heat, the casings won’t split. Always use tongs!
   Secret of a Great Burger: Making a great burger is a perfect excuse to go cheap at the butcher counter. More fat in the meat means more flavor, so skip the high-priced extra-lean sirloin and buy regular ground chuck instead. Much of the fat drips out during cooking anyway.
    After grilling, the regular ground beef burger has only 13 calories more and two more grams of fat than the lean burger, but it is much more moist and flavorful.
    To make four juicy burgers, take 1 pound of ground beef and, handling it as little as possible, gently shape it into patties (the meat strands should still show). For medium to well-done burgers, grill the patties for about 5 to 7 minutes per side, turning only once.
   How to Grill Corn: This method works on a grill or in the oven (preheated to 500°).
    Carefully pull back the husks, keeping them attached while exposing the kernels. Then gently pull out the silks. Wrap each ear’s husks back around the kernels and carefully twist the tops closed. Place the corn on a medium-hot grill or the oven rack for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the ears occasionally so the corn roasts evenly, taking care not to overcook. If you like your corn charred and smoky tasting, baste the husked ears with olive oil or butter and put them back on the grill or under the broiler briefly before serving.
   Keeping Grilled Food Juicy: The best foods for grilling are fatty ones because they stay juicy over high heat. Fish and chicken, because they are so lean, tend to dry out on the grill.
    To keep fish moist and juicy you can cook it with fruit or lightly brush it with olive oil. For chicken, leave the skin on to retain the juices. The skin is a protective jacket, and almost none of the fat is absorbed by the meat underneath. Also, never stab your chicken or fish with a fork. It lets out all the juices. Save the fork for retrieving lost dogs from the fire.

BASIC RUB
¼ cup chili powder
½ t. ground cumin
¼ t. dry mustard
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
½ t. dried oregano
2 t. kosher salt

   Combine the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cinnamon, oregano and salt in a small bowl. Add enough olive oil to make a paste and rub over raw meat, under the chicken skin or on seafood.

GARLIC GRILLED SHRIMP
Serves 16
4 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup olive oil
3 T. minced garlic
1 cup dried seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
32 10-12” wooden skewers, soaked for 30 minutes in water
Lemon wedges

   Stir shrimp, oil and garlic in a large bowl to combine. Add the bread crumbs and parsley and toss until shrimp are evenly coated.
Sprinkle the shrimp with some salt and pepper, then thread them on the skewers. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
    Grill for about 4 minutes, until just opaque in the center and the shrimp begin to brown. Transfer to a platter and serve with the lemon wedges.

GRILLED SALMON
with a GREEN SAUCE

4 salmon fillets with skin on, about 1 inch thick
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. sour cream
1 T. milk
2 T. chopped chives
1 t. fresh tarragon
1 T. minced scallions
1 T. white wine vinegar
1 t. anchovy paste

   Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
    Generously brush or spray the salmon fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill, flesh side down, until you can lift the fillets with tongs off the grate without sticking, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook them to desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare.
    Slide the spatula between the skin and flesh and transfer the fillets to serving plates. Spoon the sauce over the fillets. Serve immediately.

GRILLED ASPARAGUS
2 T. olive oil
¼ t. salt
2 T. fresh tarragon
1 pound asparagus, peeled and trimmed
¹/3 cup mayonnaise
1 T. orange juice
½ t. grated orange peel
¼ t. cayenne pepper
½ t. anise seed, crushed (optional)

   Light grill or heat oven broiler. Whisk together the oil, salt and 1 T. of tarragon in a small bowl. Pour over the asparagus and set aside.
    In another small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, orange juice and peel, cayenne pepper, remaining 1 T. of tarragon and the anise seed. Set aside.
    Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in a grill rack, or carefully arrange the spears on the grill, perpendicular to the grill grate. Grill about 7 minutes over medium heat, or until tender, turning once after 3 minutes. If you are using the oven, spread on a baking sheet and broil 4 inches from the heat source for 5 minutes, turning once.
    Remove the asparagus to a platter and serve with the orange mayonnaise.

GRILLED FLANK STEAK
1½ pounds flank steak
½ t. kosher salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

   Heat grill to medium-high.
    Season the flank steak on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the meat on the grill and cook 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare – longer if you prefer your meat less pink. Your cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the grill.
    Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

GRILLED CHICKEN
4 chicken breasts – pounded
2 scallions, minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup orange juice
3 T. cider vinegar
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes

   Place the chicken pieces in 1 or 2 large resealable plastic bags and add the rest of the ingredients. Shake to mix. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. Drain the marinade and pound the chicken to make it thinner.
    Cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the juices run clear. It should register 180° on an instant-read thermometer.

TURKEY MEAT LOAF BURGERS
2 pounds ground turkey
1 medium onion - quartered
2 garlic cloves
2 finely grated carrots (¾ cup)
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. Dijon mustard
¼ t. kosher salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
¼ pound sliced mozzarella
crispy bacon
sliced tomatoes

   Place onion and garlic cloves in a food processor; run until finely chopped, but not liquefied. In a large bowl combine the ground turkey with the onion mixture, grated carrots, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Form into 4 patties, each ¾-inch thick.
Place on a medium-hot grill and cook 5 minutes per side.
    To cook these on a stove-top grill pan, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium heat. Place the burgers in the pan and cook 7 to 8 minutes; flip and cook for 5 minutes more.
    Top with sliced mozzarella and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the cheese melts. Top with crispy bacon and sliced tomatoes. Serve on toasted Kaiser rolls.

THE BEST BURGERS
1½ pounds ground chuck (80% lean)
1 T. ketchup
1 t. dried basil
½ t. dried thyme
½ t. kosher salt
½ t. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. Tabasco® sauce
¼ t. ground black pepper
4 thin slices of your favorite cheese
4 hamburger buns
4 lettuce leaves
4 tomato slices

   In a medium bowl, using your hands, gently combine the ground chuck with the ketchup, basil, thyme, salt, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco® sauce and pepper. Gently shape into 4 patties, each about ¾-inch thick.
    Grill the patties until medium, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of grilling place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt. Grill the hamburger buns, cut side down, until toasted. Assemble the cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomato and ketchup and/or mustard. Serve hot.

GRILLED VEGETABLES
1 large onion, thickly sliced
3 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 Italian plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 T. olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper

   Heat the grill. Drizzle the onion, carrots and tomatoes with the olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on the grill and cook, turning once, until tender and just charred. It will take about 2 to 3 minutes for the tomatoes and onions, and 5 to 7 minutes for the carrots.   Your cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the grill.

GRILLED POTATO CHIPS
with CHIVE DIP

Makes 12 servings
¼ cup low-fat sour cream
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1 small shallot, minced
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. fresh chives, chopped
1 t. kosher salt
½ pound fingerling potatoes
½ pound Peruvian purple potatoes
2 T. olive oil

   In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, goat cheese, shallot, lemon juice, chives, ¼ t. salt and ¼ cup of water and stir until smooth. Set aside.
    Using a mandolin or knife, cut the potatoes lengthwise into very thin slices. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, oil and remaining salt and toss to coat.
    Heat a grill pan over medium heat and add a single layer of potatoes. Cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Cook the remaining potatoes in batches. Serve the hot potatoes with the dip.

TOMATO and MOZZARELLA
and BASIL QUESADILLAS

8-inch flour tortillas
12 ounces mozzarella, grated or sliced
2 tomatoes cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
½ t. plus 1/8 t. kosher salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
4 t. extra virgin olive oil

   Heat the grill to medium.
    Arrange 4 of the tortillas on a cutting board. Arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes on the tortillas, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Season with ½ t. of salt and pepper and top with the remaining tortillas.
    In a medium bowl combine the basil, pine nuts, oil and remaining salt and set aside.
    Cook the tortillas around the perimeter of the grill until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side.
Immediately cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with the basil salad.
    Tip: Instead of grilling the quesadillas, try broiling them. Arrange them on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until the cheese melts and the tortillas are golden brown.

GRILLED PIZZA
with ONIONS and OLIVES

Favorite pizza dough
Favorite pizza sauce
2 large red onions, cut into 1/3-inch slices
Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup black olives, pitted and cut in half
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, about 8 ounces
2 T. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Parchment paper

   Brush or spray the onion slices with oil. Grill until well marked, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Cut each slice in half.
    Cut dough into four balls, depending on the size and thickness you want. Sprinkle the surface of the paper with flour and roll the dough, stretching to the desired size. They are great at about 8 inches in diameter, leaving the dough a little thicker at the edge than in the middle.
    Lightly oil the top side of the dough. Lay the dough on the grate with the paper side facing up. Grab one corner of the paper with tongs and peel it off. Grill until they are marked on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking.
    Don’t worry if the crusts bubble; they will deflate when turned over. Transfer the crusts from the cooking grate to the back of a baking sheet, with the grilled sides facing up.
    Spread about ½ cup of sauce across each pizza crust, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Arrange the onions and olives over the sauce.    Sprinkle the cheese on top. Transfer the pizzas from the baking sheet to the cooking grate. Grill until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes, rotating the crusts occasionally for even cooking. Transfer to a cutting board. Garnish with parsley and cut into wedges. Serve warm.

GRILLED PEACH SUNDAE
6 ripe peaches
3 t. sugar
1 t. ground ginger
1 lime
½ cup honey
Vanilla ice cream

   Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Dust the cut side of each half with some sugar and ginger. Place the peaches sugar side down on the center of the cooking grate. Grill for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the grill.
    Grate the zest from the lime and then the juice into a small bowl. Combine the zest, juice and honey.
    Serve the peaches with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the sauce.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE SKEWERS
2 T. unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup orange juice
½ t. kosher salt
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. fresh lemon juice
½ ripe pineapple cut into cubes

   In a medium skillet over high heat, melt the butter and cook until it begins to turn brown. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the orange juice carefully as it will bubble up when it hits the hot syrup. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Season with the salt and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir well and pour the glaze into a medium bowl to cool.
Remove the top, bottom and all the rough peel from the pineapple. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters and remove the core from each section. Cut each quarter in half and then into 1-inch pieces. Add the pineapple pieces to the bowl of glaze and gently toss to coat.
    Thread the pineapple pieces onto skewers that have been soaked in water. Grill the pieces until they are golden brown all over, about 6 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve warm.