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The Griller's Guide

May 31, 1990

Remember when they called them cook outs? That was just after the age of barbecue, which stretches so far back in American history that nobody is quite sure where the word came from. What is certain is that the word barbecue was being used in America as far back as 1709, and that by the middle of the last century the word had turned into a veritable institution.

These days, of course, nobody cooks out or barbecues any more. In modern America, we grill.

We grill over all kinds of wood. We grill with all sorts of equipment. And, of course, we grill an enormous variety of food.

One of the great things about grilling is that it need not be limited to meat. Fish--lighter and more healthful than red meat--is a natural. Many vegetables grill beautifully--literally, beautifully. Highlighted with grill marks, perhaps given a faint umber tint by the smoke, they have an irresistible rustic charm.

Nor need the products of your grill take the hackneyed form of a meat-and-potatoes barbecue dinner (though barbecued new potatoes are a delight). Grilling can turn out ingredients for fresh, dainty salads in the Thai or Vietnamese manner. Exotic ingredients like radicchio and pancetta take on an exciting new aspect when kissed by the grill.

Summer is practically here. It's time to get out of the kitchen and into the back yard. Grilling is what summer is all about.




4 heads radicchio

Olive oil

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

12 slices pancetta

4 ounces goat cheese, sliced or crumbled

Basil Mayonnaise

Basil leaves

Cut each head radicchio into 3 wedges. Brush lightly with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap each wedge with pancetta slice, securing with wet wood pick. Grill over medium hot heat until pancetta is browned. Serve with goat cheese and Basil Mayonnaise and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Makes 6 servings.

Basil Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt, white pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, basil, garlic, salt and white pepper to taste and 1/8 cup olive oil in blender container. Cover and blend on high speed 5 seconds. While blending, slowly add remaining olive oil. Makes about 1/2 cup. Note: Although many recipes call for uncooked eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that diners avoid eating raw eggs. Commercial egg substitutes may be used in place of raw eggs in certain circumstances. Check egg substitute package for applications.


3 pounds small red potatoes, halved

3/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched

1 red onion, chopped

4 to 6 slices prosciutto, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 Roma tomatoes, halved

Prepare medium hot fire. Combine in bowl 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and toss well. Place on oiled grill 4 to 6 inches from coals. Cook turning and moving occasionally until potatoes are lightly browned and just tender when pierced with fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Brush asparagus tomato halves with olive oil marinade. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place on grill over medium hot fire and cook 5 minutes, turning asparagus once. Combine in bowl remaining minced garlic, red onion, rosemary, vinegar, Dijon mustard, remaining olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Add hot potato and asparagus and toss to coat well. Serve on large platter; top with prosciutto and surround with grilled tomatoes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes about 8 servings.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 salmon steaks

Mixed salad greens


Combine olive oil, Dijon mustard and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Brush salmon steaks with mixture. Prepare hot fire. Add lemon juice to salmon. Place salmon on oiled grill, set 4 to 6 inches from coals. Cook steaks, brushing several times with olive oil mixture about 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned on bottom.

Using wide spatula, turn steaks over and brush cooked side with more marinade. Cook until second side is nicely browned, about 5 to 6 minutes, brushing with more marinade. Flake fish into chunks and serve hot or cold over chilled mixed greens. Top with Dressing. Makes 4 servings.


3/4 cup yogurt

1/3 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or fennel


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