With the Fourth of July only a few days away, outdoor chefs are likely to be searching for something new to toss on the grill. For the waistline watchers who will be invited to the festivities, conjure up something a little different from the usual holiday fare--giving steak, hamburgers and potato salad a well-deserved repose.
For menu planning, choose from Cornish hens, seafood brochettes or lamb as the meat entree, team with a fancy skewered potato salad (cooked over a hot charcoal fire too), and round out the menu with grilled corn on the cob, iced tea and fresh summer fruit for no-fuss entertaining.
Grilling the meat eliminates fatty sauces often associated with some cooking methods and it also serves as a flavor enhancement for the potato salad, rescuing this customary cookout side dish from its plebeian standing.
3 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens, thawed if needed
1/2 cup prepared teriyaki marinade and sauce
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Split hens lengthwise and rinse under cold running water. Drain well and pat dry, then place in large plastic bag.
Combine teriyaki sauce, lemon zest and juice, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over hens. Press air out of bag and tie top securely. Turn bag over several times to coat halves. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning bag over occasionally.
Reserving marinade, remove hens and place on grill 5 to 7 inches above coals. Cook 45 to 50 minutes or until drumstick moves easily. Turn hens over frequently and brush with reserved marinade. Remove to serving platter and immediately sprinkle cilantro over hens. Makes 6 servings.
POTATO SALAD ON A STICK
4 medium potatoes, about 1 1/3 pounds, scrubbed
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 medium cucumber, cut into chunks
16 cherry tomatoes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Cook potatoes in covered saucepan in boiling water until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, cool slightly and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks.
Meanwhile, combine oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano. Mix well, then set aside.
Combine potatoes, peppers, onion, cucumber and tomatoes. Add reserved vinaigrette and toss to coat. Marinate at cool room temperature 1 hour. Thread marinated vegetables onto 8 bamboo skewers, dividing equally. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with cheese. Makes 8 servings.
GREEK LAMB GRILL
1 (16-ounce) can peach slices in juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless lamb, cubed
1/2 pound small new potatoes, about 6
1 small green pepper, cut into 6 chunks
1 small sweet red pepper, cut into 6 chunks
Drain peaches, reserving liquid. Whisk together liquid, oil, lemon zest and juice, mint, rosemary, marjoram, garlic and pepper. Pour marinade over lamb cubes and marinate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cook potatoes in boiling water just until tender. Drain and cut in halves. Remove lamb from marinade, reserving marinade. Skewer peaches, lamb, potatoes and pepper chunks. Grill 2 minutes per side, or to desired doneness, brushing with marinade during cooking. Makes 6 servings.
GRILLED HALIBUT WITH NECTARINE CHUTNEY
1 (3-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
6 nectarines, coarsely chopped
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 (6-ounce) halibut steaks
Cover ginger with cold water. Let soak 10 minutes, then drain and finely chop.
Place ginger in 2-quart saucepan with nectarines, onion, vinegar, mustard seeds and pepper. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Place 1/4 cup nectarine mixture on piece of foil. Top with 1 halibut steak. Spoon another 1/4 cup nectarine mixture on top of halibut and fold foil tightly to close. Repeat with remaining fish and nectarine mixture.
Cook, seam side up, 6 to 8 inches above hot coals 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Don't turn packets over while cooking. Makes 8 servings.
Note: Two tablespoons brown sugar dissolved in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar may be substituted for balsamic vinegar.