Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! The lazy, hazy days of summer are finally here—it’s time to gather around the grill. I love recipes that are easy to prepare, cook quickly, and can feed a large or small crowd for Shabbat – or anytime at all. During the summer, I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so my outdoor grill gets a good workout.
Salmon is delicious when cooked on the grill and requires little preparation. It’s very versatile because it can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold. Although I prefer fresh wild salmon, I usually have salmon fillets in my freezer as they’re so convenient. Salmon needs very little marinating time, usually less than an hour. Also, it can be cooked from frozen—just double the cooking time. Salmon is heart-healthy, low in calories, and high in healthy Omega-3 fats, which helps reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Burgers are always popular fare. Don’t overhandle the raw meat mixture or your burgers will turn out tough. If you chill your burgers before grilling them, it helps prevent them from falling apart during grilling. For Shabbat, serve burgers on challah rolls topped with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, roasted red peppers, and grilled onion slices. Kids love sliders, also known as mini burgers, served on mini challah rolls—they’re the perfect size for small hands and small appetites.
Grilled vegetables are always a winner, especially for the adults. Grilled vegetable skewers are also fun and are full of flavor. Arrange the veggies on separate skewers from the meat or chicken and grill until tender and golden. If using wooden skewers, soak them first in cold water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
Add some salads to your menu and you’ve got the makings of a healthy, fabulous feast. Mimi’s Crack Slaw is a winner!
- Marinating meats and poultry before cooking makes them more tender and flavorful. If making an acid-based marinade, use a non-reactive container (glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or a heavy-duty resealable bag). Marinate either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. For longer marinating, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain marinade before grilling. If you want to reserve the leftover marinade for basting or to use as a sauce, be sure to bring it to a boil, then simmer it for 5 minutes before drizzling it over the cooked food.
- Marinate meat or poultry for 1 to 2 hours (or up to 48 hours) in the refrigerator. Marinate fish or tofu for 1 hour. Marinate vegetables (e.g., asparagus, green beans, or broccoli) for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- To keep poultry moist and prevent it from drying out during grilling, remove the skin after it is cooked.
- Ground beef needs to be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F throughout. Large cuts of meat, such as steak, should be cooked from 145° (medium-rare) to 160° (medium). Check the internal temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat or poultry.
- You can precook meat or poultry in the oven ahead of time, and then complete the last-minute cooking on the grill. This helps save time.
- Don’t grill over direct heat. Place food around the hot coals, not directly over them.
STEAK-SPICED PLANKED SALMON
1 (8- x 12-inch, or larger) untreated cedar plank (about 1-inch thick)
6– 8 salmon fillets, with skin (about 6 oz/180 g each)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Montreal steak spices (to taste)
2 tsp dried basil
Lemon slices for garnish
- Soak cedar plank in cold water for about 1 hour before you start grilling. (To keep the plank submerged, place a couple of unopened cans or other heavy objects on top of it.)
- Season salmon fillets on both sides with lemon juice, olive oil, steak spices, and basil.
- Remove soaked plank from water and shake well to remove any excess water. Heat plank on grill over indirect heat until hot, about 6–8 minutes.
- Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, on preheated plank (careful, it will be very hot!). Grill for about 7–8 minutes. Turn salmon over and grill on the second side for 2–3 minutes longer. Keep lid closed for even cooking.
- When salmon is done, carefully remove hot plank from grill and place on a heatproof surface. Slide a flexible wide spatula between skin and flesh of salmon fillets, then transfer fillets to a serving platter.
- Garnish with lemon slices and serve hot or cold.
Yield: 6–8 servings. Keeps 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats and freezes well.
- No Plank? Oil grates of grill; preheat grill. Season salmon fillets as directed in Step 2, oiling them lightly on both sides to prevent sticking. Place salmon fillets, flesh-side down, on grill. At the beginning, salmon fillets will cling to the grate until they’ve cooked for about 7–8 minutes. Turn salmon over carefully, using a wide spatula. Grill the second side 2–3 minutes longer or until the fish flakes. This is known as the 70/30 timing rule, which results in a beautiful presentation with great grill marks.
- Is it Done Yet? Fish is done if it’s opaque yet still moist in the centre. It should just flake when gently pressed with a fork. On an instant-read thermometer, the interior temperature should reach 145°F. If overcooked, fish will become dry.
- Grate Tip: If you cooked the fish with the skin on, just slide a flexible metal spatula between the flesh and skin, leaving the skin behind on the cooking grate or pan.
TERRIFIC TERIYAKI MARINADE
This terrific marinade is guaranteed to bring rave reviews from family and friends. It is delicious on meat, poultry, fish, tofu, or vegetables.
1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh)
1/4 cup soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
2 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
3 cloves garlic (about 1 tablespoon minced)
1 slice peeled fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon minced)
2 tsp Asian (toasted) sesame oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- Combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- Store, covered, in the refrigerator, until ready to use.
Yield: about 3/4 cup, enough for 2 to 3 lbs of meat (e.g., steak, London broil), fish, chicken, or tofu. Keeps for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
GRILLED VEGETABLE MEDLEY
“Veg-out” at your next barbecue with this easy Mediterranean-style dish!
1 large red onion, sliced in rings
3 colored bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), cut in chunks
2 cups mushrooms, halved
1 small eggplant, ends trimmed, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
2 zucchini and/or yellow squash, trimmed, sliced diagonally 1/2-inch thick
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
4 cloves garlic, crushed (about 4 tsp minced)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (see Note)
- In a large bowl, combine onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and asparagus.
- Add garlic, olive oil, and vinegar or lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Marinate at least 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight).
- Transfer vegetables to a perforated grill basket, reserving any leftover marinade. (If you don’t have a grilling basket, use heavy-duty foil that has been slashed in several places.)
- Grill over medium-high heat for 15–20 minutes, or until nicely browned, stirring two or three times.
- Remove from grill and transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add reserved marinade and fresh basil. Mix well. Delicious hot or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 servings.
Note: Instead of fresh basil, use 2 tsp dried basil, but add dried basil to vegetable mixture before marinating, along with the salt and pepper. Thyme and rosemary also make flavorful seasonings.
Chimichurri is a bold-flavored herb sauce that is as common in Argentina as ketchup is in North America. Winner, winner, chicken for dinner!
6 boneless, skinless single chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, cut in chunks
2/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or sherry
or rice vinegar)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Lightly sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then place in a large resealable plastic bag.
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process garlic, onion, and parsley until minced, about 8–10 seconds. Add olive oil, vinegar, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper; process for about 5 seconds to blend. Transfer sauce to a large glass measuring cup.
- Pour half the sauce over chicken in the resealable bag. Seal bag tightly and shake well to thoroughly coat chicken with sauce. Marinate for 30–60 minutes at room temperature or for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Place remaining sauce in a gravy boat or serving bowl; cover and refrigerate to serve with the cooked chicken.
- When chicken is marinated, preheat grill and set it to medium high. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.
- Grill chicken over indirect heat for 5–6 minutes per side, until grill marks appear and juices run clear. Serve immediately with reserved sauce.
Yield: 6 servings. Reheats well. Chicken freezes well for up to 3 months. Sauce may discolour slightly if frozen.
Instead of chicken, use 2 lb (1 kg) lean London broil or steak. Grill meat over indirect heat for 8–10 minutes per side or until medium (pink juices will come to surface of meat). Remove meat from grill and let rest for 5–10 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve with reserved sauce.