by Jean Redstone
In no time at all, if not already so, you’re going to dust off the grill. The real heat of summer is peeking around the corner and every barbecue chef knows that summer smells as much like charred meat as it does like roses in full bloom.
Despite the backyard joy of a thick cut of steak or juicy breast of fowl blackening on the barbie, the art of grilling is awesomely ancient. It goes back to marauding armies, shafting chunks of meat with their swords and holding those swords over an open fire.
You will recognize such dishes as today’s “shish kebab”, which literally means “gobbets of meat roasted on a spit or skewers” in Turkish. Not just meat, fish is also well-served cooked over coals or flame. Call the recipes below “Fish Kebabs” and add variety to your outdoor (or in) grilling.
One essential trick with kebabs is to refrain from crowding the chunks of food on the skewer. Leaving space, a half inch or so, between the food, aids in even and thorough cooking. Another suggestion is to watch the kebab carefully. Seafood especially cooks quickly.
This bettycrocker.com recipe is tasty and pretty on the plate.
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 Tbls chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 lb sea scallops
12 uncooked large shrimp in shells
8 medium whole fresh mushrooms, (about 6 oz)
8 cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini or cucumber, (about 1 inch in diameter), cut into 1-inch slices
Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat. Spray the grill or use grilling tinfoil to prevent scallops from sticking (which they tend to do). Mix lemon juice, oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Cut scallops in half if over 1 inch in diameter. Thread scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini alternately on each of four 10-inch metal skewers. Brush with lemon juice mixture. Grill uncovered 4 inches from medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, brushing frequently with lemon juice mixture and turning once, until scallops are white and shrimp are pink and firm. Serves 4. Note: Change it up with seasonal vegetables: cuts of summer squash; red, yellow or green pepper strips; red or white onions. Kebabs are flexible.
Oregano gives this shrimp-lovers’ dish a Mediterranean flair.
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined 4 red potatoes, quartered
2 large onions, quartered
1 C grape tomatoes, approx 20, or 2 large tomatoes 2 lemons 3 Tbls olive oil 3 Tbls dried oregano salt black pepper
metal or bamboo skewer (wood skewers need to be soaked before using to prevent burning.)
Place potatoes into a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until nearly tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
If using large tomatoes, cut into chunks. Grape tomatoes can be used whole. Cut lemons in half, lengthwise, then cut into 1/4″ slices, to make half circles. Place shrimp on skewers, through head and tail, alternating with the vegetables between them until all skewers are full but not crowded. You should try for 3-4 shrimp per skewer and leave about an inch of skewer showing on both ends. Brush the skewers, both sides, with olive oil and then sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper.
Brush the grill with olive oil and place skewers on it. Cook 3-5 minutes per side. Shrimp should be pink in color and firm to the touch. Do not overcook, or they will be rubbery. Yields 8 kebabs. Note: If cooking with a broiler: Preheat broiler. Meanwhile, brush broiler pan with olive oil and place full skewers on pan. Put under broiler for 3-5 minutes. Once the shrimp turn pink evenly, flip over and cook other side until that turns pink as well. Again, you want an evenly pink shrimp, firm to the touch.
GINGERED FISH KABOBS
Perfect for a luau party.
2 C pineapple juice 1 Tbls cornstarch 2 Tbls soy sauce (can use reduced sodium type)
1 1/2 Tbls white vinegar 2 garlic cloves, crushed 3 Tbls minced fresh ginger (or 2-4 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste) 1 1/4 lbs raw firm fish, such as salmon, tuna or halibut, cut in chunks 4 C fresh pineapple in large chunks (or substitute canned pineapple chunks, drained) 1 large red onion, cut in wedges
In a small saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in pineapple juice. Add soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Simmer, stirring a few times, until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Let cool. Add fish and pineapple to sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Turn once if sauce does not cover fish. When marinated, thread fish, pineapple and onion on skewers. Place on a hot grill (or under a broiler) until fish is done to your liking.
Serve with rice. Heat marinade and use as a sauce over fish and rice. Makes 6 servings.