Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Salmon grilled in banana leaves

Banana leaves and maple syrup give this grilled salmon a sweet, Asian flair.

Banana leaves are usually in the freezer section of an Asian grocery store. They keep the fish moist. Serve fish with jasmine rice and a quick stir fry of snow peas.

Banana leaves
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp freshly squeeze orange juice + zest
4 5 oz pieces of salmon fillet, skin removed
1 2 –inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and julienne

1. Combine maple syrup, soy sauce, cumin and orange juice. Pour into a sealable bag. Add salmon pieces then press air out of bag and seal. Refrigerate one hour or up to six.
2. Using one 12-inch square of banana leaf, place salmon in the middle of the top one third of the leaf. Top with some ginger and orange zest and wrap completely in banana leaf. Tie with a string to secure.
3. Grill in pre-heated barbeque over high heat for 8- 10 minutes depending on thickness of fillets.
4. Serve and cut open banana leaf at the table to let the aroma steam out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grilled Chicken with Pesto Mayonnaise

Sure, anyone can throw some chicken on the grill, but the accompanying pesto mayonnaise makes this dish really special.

And if you're feeling fancy you can even jazz up the chicken with a filling. Cut a pocket in the middle of the thickest part of the chicken breast and fill with two sundried tomatoes (the ones in oil) and a teaspoon each of goat cheese and pesto. Secure with a toothpick. Proceed with recipe as written but cook a few minutes longer.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, patted dry
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup each of pesto and mayonnaise

1. Preheat barbeque to high.
2. Toss chicken in a bowl with garlic and oil to coat then season with salt and pepper. This is a good job for young helpers.
3. Grill chicken about 6 minutes per side or until completely cooked. Reduce heat slightly if you are getting flare-ups. The breast should feel firm at its thickest part.
4. Stir pesto and mayonnaise together in a bowl.
5. Serve chicken immediately with a large dollop of pesto mayonnaise.
Makes 4 servings.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grilled Haloumi with White Corn and Apple Salsa

This is an easy-to-make appetizer that is sure to impress guests. Haloumi is a white cheese from Cyprus with a pleasant, refreshing taste and a very firm texture. It is made with goat's or sheep's milk or a combination of the two. It is usually grilled (Saganaki anyone?) until a golden crust has formed on both sides and eaten hot. Haloumi cheese may be purchased at any cheese shop and is great for vegetarian meals - kebabs on the BBQ or fried to perfection.

Make 12 appetizers
Prep time: 10 minutes
On the table: 15 minutes

1 tart apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (1/8” sized), approximately 1 cup
1/2 cup defrosted frozen white corn
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2 Thai bird chilli peppers, seeded and finely sliced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp ouzo
1 tbsp olive oil + extra for brushing on cheese
12 oz haloumi, cut into 1/4” slices

1. Combine diced apple, corn, onion and peppers in a bowl. Toss with lime juice, ouzo and oil. Season lightly with salt and white pepper.
2. Lightly brush each side of the cheese with olive oil.
3. Using a non-stick grill pan over high heat, cook the haloumi slices 1 minute per side or until golden.
4. Spoon one tablespoon of salsa on top of cheese and serve immediately.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lamb chops with gremolata

Why not give steaks and chicken the night off and try something a little different?

Look for frozen lamb chops when they are on sale at the grocery store and stash a few in your freezer. Marinate the lamb in some lemon juice and olive oil only if you can do it in advance; otherwise go straight to the gremolata.

Gremolata is a traditional Italian accompaniment which typically contains garlic, parsley and grated lemon peel, some of the ingredients that I always keep on hand.

I like to serve this with a simple dish of orzo (rice-shaped pasta) that cooks fast. I boil 3 cups of chicken stock, add orzo and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes or until it is tender. Crumble in some goat cheese, a squeeze of lemon and it is a perfect duo with the lamb. A pre-washed package of mixed greens with your favourite bottled vinaigrette brings it all together in less than 20 minutes.

1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 lb lamb loin chops

1. Combine lemon juice with garlic, olive oil and parsley in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Season lamb with salt and pepper.
3. Pre-heat grill to high heat.
4. Cook chops for about 5 minutes per side or until medium-rare**. Cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with gremolata.

* Lamb chops can vary in thickness. Most common supermarket thickness is 1 inch. For thicker chops, more grilling time will be necessary.
** Lamb will be medium-rare if you remove from the heat at 140 F and let rest to redistribute the internal juices.