Start Your Grills: Part 1 of Unknown Number of Sizzling Posts
After what seemed like weeks of non-stop rain (in reality it was just eight straight days) we finally caught a break. Sunshine on a Sunday and I was off work! This meant just one thing, all other pre-determined dinner/food plans were put on hold, at least for the following 24 hours. It was time to pull the cover off the old Weber, pack some newspaper and charcoal into the chimney, and start the grill.
Now this was not the first time I was to be grilling this season, or even this year, but because of the recent inclement weather it seemed to take on extra importance, to both the family and myself. So careful thought would have to be given to what approach I was to take regarding this meal and the subsequent leftovers, if there were any after the two bottomless pits with legs have had their fill.
So off I went to select and prepare some food for the coals on this, the most perfect of (the last eight) days. Sunshine and balmy weather had me dreaming of lighter and more refreshing foods of meals long past. So I decided on a tasty meal of surf and turf, which, incidentally, is one of the easiest things I have prepared on the grill.
Shrimp, Scallops, and smoked sausage with a little citrus, minced garlic and some summer veggies (yellow squash and zucchini). I gathered my supplies: tongs, a hearty spatula, the chimney, my trusty well used Paella Pan (if you don’t have one of these, get one ASAP, they are multi use and great for this kind of meal and of course for making Paella), and then I set to work. Only one thing, I didn’t follow my own advice from a few weeks ago on stocking up my daily wine rack correctly. Smh. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was just a slip of the mind, but whatever it was it was equal parts horrifying and embarrassing. I was 100% out of white wine and rose. GASP! For Shame. I feel your judgement and scorn; it is well warranted and documented. I promise I will learn and hopefully never repeat this glaring mistake again. In wake of this discovery I made do with a few Gin and Tonics as I longed for some vino to fill my glass.
This got me to thinking, as it is now summer(ish) out and there will likely be more food being grilled, perhaps there are a few idea for grilling out that I can share so you can show off your skills to friends and family while making the neighbors jealous AF. So without any more delay and no more ado, these are some of my favorite simple grilled meals and parings (besides hotdogs, because they need two things and two things only: mustard and beer. Full stop. One does not put ketchup on a hotdog, in fact I usually don’t have ketchup even in my house).
~Herb and Garlic Pork Chops with Grilled Potato Salad ~
Ingredients: Herb de Provence, salt, pepper, and minced garlic rubbed on the chops. Small potatoes (halved or quartered, green onions, a trio of mustards (Dijon, Coleman’s, and a spicy brown), smoked paprika, more garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.
Grill the chops until done (flipping half way), clean the grill and put the potatoes on the grill and flip when char marks appear, remove and grill the onion until charred, remove and chop up and add to the bowl of grilled potatoes. Add a few table spoons of the mustards, a dash of smoked paprika, teaspoon of garlic, and salt% paper to taste. Stir and serve warm.
Grenache, Cote-du-Rhone, Rose
~Grilled Mussels ~
Ingredients: 3 pounds of fresh Mussels (or more), cleaned and de-bearded, garlic, white wine, butter, chopped parsley, lemon (to grill).
When the coals are hot and the perfect gray/golden ember, throw the mussels directly on the cleaned grill (or in a Paella pan) close grill top. In a few minutes the mussels will open up and then they are done. Use tongs to move them from the grill to a large bowl, remove any mussels that do not open. Add a touch of white wine, the chopped parsley, garlic, and butter, stir. While the flavors meld throw some halved lemons on the grill until they have a nice grill marks, then squeeze onto the mussels. Pour out onto butcher paper or newspaper and go to town.
Serve with Muscadet or other crisp white wine with minerality in spades, and lots of it, and I do mean lots, at least one bottle per adult. You can grill good bread to soak up the goodness in the bowl but it is not required.
~Italian Mixed Grill ~
Pick at least three of the following, and at least one sausage: Pork Chops, Lamb Chops, Veal Chops, Chicken quarters, hot, mild, or sweet Italian sausage, skewers of shallots and tomatoes, baby bell peppers, wedges of radicchio brushed with olive oil.
Grill them all until done, in batches if your grill top cannot hold all the bounty. Serve on a platter or large cutting board; loaves of Italian bread, fruit, olives, and olive oil. The leftovers are great for incorporating into meals later in the week, so this makes a wonderful Sunday afternoon feast.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Dolcetto d'Alba, Zin/Primitivo, Sicilian Reds (from Mount Etna), and Aglianico