What to Grill for the Big Holiday Weekend

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tomato Avocado SalsaFor much of this coming holiday weekend, my husband and I will be caught up in reunion events at Amherst College where he teaches. There will be tent parties with catered food as classes of alums gather to reconnect, many receptions, plus scores of interesting seminars and talks. But by Sunday the festivities will have wound down, and that’s when I plan to pull out the grill and start cooking!

I’ve been tweaking a recipe for Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Avocado Salsa for several days now, and finally have the seasonings and timings fine-tuned. Exceptionally easy and inexpensive (if you’re serving a crowd), this chicken entree takes less than an hour to assemble plus some marinating time, and then about 25 minutes atop the coals. Why thighs instead of breasts? Because the dark meat stands up to grilling beautifully, and doesn’t dry out as quickly as does the white flesh.

Marinated simply in lime juice and olive oil along with coarse salt and red pepper flakes, Continue reading

Tandoori Style Grilled Chicken for July 4th!

Tandoori-Style Grilled Chicken Wings 1 3332x2991On a recent visit to London, I ate at Gymkhana, a well known Michelin-starred restaurant in the center of the city. Every dish was memorable, but my favorite was a plate of tender, golden grilled chicken thighs that boasted incredibly moist flesh. When I asked our server how they were made, she volunteered only that the chicken was marinated in yogurt, homemade Indian mustard, fresh ginger, and spices. After returning to my small Parisian kitchen, I was determined to make a version to savor again.

For the marinade I whisked whole yogurt, mustard, and freshly grated ginger with lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Dijon mustard stood in for the Indian variety that was unavailable locally. The chicken I had sampled across the Channel was reminiscent of tandoori chicken, but it was a rich golden color rather than the usual vibrant orange hue. So, I decided to omit the red food coloring often called for in tandoori dishes. Continue reading

Labor Day Grilling—Easy and Delicious

Grilled Pork and Plums 1 1824x1319Like Memorial Day and July 4th that precede it, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated casually. For the last of that triumvirate of summer fêtes, most cooks (and I am certainly one of them!) will be pulling out grills, cooking burgers, steaks, chops–you name it–over open flames. I’m especially excited about my menu this year since I’ve been fine-tuning a recipe for grilled pork tenderloins and plums served with a verdant summer salad.

Nothing could be easier. The tenderloins are marinated in a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar, soy, and canola oil with generous seasonings of fresh ginger, garlic, and black pepper. If you have enough time, it’s best to marinate the meat overnight, but in a pinch you can let it rest for several hours. Grilled over a hot fire, the meat needs 20 to 25 minutes until fork tender and the flesh blush pink. During the last few minutes, juicy plums, quartered and skewered, are cooked quickly alongside until slightly charred.

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Apricot Lime Glaze for the Weekend

Grilled Salmon with Apricot Lime Glaze 1 3413x2731My son, a consummate griller, has mentioned more than once a recipe he loves for grilled chicken wings flavored with apricot and lime. “Mom,” he has pleaded, “You’ve got to try this marinade. It’s sweet, tart, hot, and spicy all at the same time!” So when it finally got warm enough this spring to pull out our grill, I asked for the recipe. I tried it with chicken wings, and they were delicious, but, being a curious cook, I kept thinking of other ways to use the delectable marinade.

On a whim, I substituted salmon fillets for the chicken, and was thrilled with the results. The salmon needed far less time to marinate than the wings, and cooked more quickly as well. Best of all, though, the flavors melded beautifully with the fish. Apricot jam adds a sweet note, while lime juice and zest provide tartness. Ginger, garlic, and a hit of sriracha contribute heat, and soy sauce, a salty accent. Continue reading

Winning Grilling!

Grilled Salmon and Corn with Lime Butter 1After a month of cooking in a Paris apartment rental with no grill anywhere in sight, I couldn’t wait to pull out my Weber after returning home. The temperatures, hovering in the 90s in New England every day this week, have also been an incentive to move my kitchen outdoors.

Instead of the usual medley of steaks, chops, and burgers, though, I opted for fish, and settled on a delicious combination of salmon fillets and fresh corn on the cob, both brushed with a refreshing lime and cilantro-scented butter. This recipe is a breeze to make. You marinate the salmon for 30 minutes in a mixture of lime and oil seasoned with garlic and ginger, and halve and blanch the corn quickly in a pot of boiling water. Both are then brushed with the seasoned butter while they cook atop a hot fire. Continue reading

Easy Barbecued Salmon on the Grill for the Holiday Weekend!

Barbecued Salmon with a Mahogany Glaze 1Although the weather forecasters in our New England town are predicting rain during much of the long Memorial Day weekend, that’s not going to stop me from pulling out the grill. If I have to cook under an umbrella, I’m determined to kick off the unofficial beginning of summer with some delectable barbecued fare. In fact, I’ve already planned the menu. Barbecued Salmon Fillets with a Mahogany Glaze, a long-time favorite recipe, will be the centerpiece of our grilled meal, accompanied by sides of creamy cole slaw and fresh asparagus sprinkled with some fleur de sel.

A simple marinade made with only four ingredients–dark molasses, soy sauce, fresh chopped ginger, and lime juice– turns these salmon fillets into something extra special. While the fish is marinating for an hour or more, some of the marinade is transferred to a saucepan and quickly reduced to a rich, dark syrupy glaze. Continue reading