Rain, shine, hail, or other inclement weather doesn’t stop us from firing up the grill. We’ve been known to brush snow off a Weber grill to cook with fire. We bring up grilling because Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the grilling season (unless, like us, you grill 12 months a year).
Looking for ideas beyond burgers, brats and hot dogs? Below are a variety of grilling alternatives. They’ll suit meat eaters, vegetarians, and “flexitarians” — those who eat mainly vegetarian but also opt for the occasional fish or poultry. We feature: grilled gazpacho soup; grilled halibut; spit-roasted ribs; or grilled flank steak, among others. Take your pick. And, before you fire up your grill, check out our top 10 grilling tips as well as our tips for grilling with extra virgin olive oil.
This grilled riff on the famed Spanish soup is a favorite of ours. “Grilling adds a smoky dimension that transforms this warm-weather soup from the realm of refreshing to unforgettable,” Steven Raichlen says in his book The Barbecue! Bible (Workman Publishing, 2008). Raichlen grills scallions, garlic, red onion, slices of artisan bread, bell peppers, and, of course, tomatoes. They’re puréed in a food process, along with fresh herbs, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. (Click here for the recipe.)
Another winning recipe from Steven Raichlen. The peppers are roasted on the grill and the charred skin is removed. If you’re not up for grilling or your grill already is crowded with food, roast the peppers under a broiler. The peppers are then tossed with a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and pine nuts. This brightly colored dish tastes great and makes for a stunning presentation. (Click here for the recipe.)
Chermoula is a spicy Moroccan sauce that can double as a marinade. It combines cilantro, parsley, onions, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne and extra virgin olive oil. Here it accompanies grilled, spicy tuna skewers. But you can also use chermoula with poultry and lamb. (Click here for the recipe.)
Halibut is another favorite of ours. Here, grilled halibut is topped with a vinaigrette made with chopped fennel. Steve Johnson, chef-owner of the Rendezvous in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass., likes using olive oil with grilled fish. “The olive oil-based sauces are a little bit more appropriate for my palate than butter,” Johnson, the creator of this dish, told us. We couldn’t agree more. (Click here for the recipe.)
This steak, featured in the photo at the top, is served with a spicey sauce that includes chipotle in adobo, honey, fresh lime juice, brown mustard, cumin and allspice. You could substitute pork, chicken, or fish such as tuna if beef isn’t on your Memorial Day menu. If you use seafood, don’t marinate it for more than a couple of hours. (Click here for the recipe.)
Seriously consider making this dish if your grill has rotisserie attachment. We can vouch that it’s awesome. The dish comes from Steven Raichlen. He bastes the slowly spinning ribs with a lemon oil he makes from freshly squeezed lemon and extra virgin olive oil. “Gone is the heavy smoke taste so prized by pit bosses in the United States,” Raichlen writes in How to Grill (Workman Publishing Co., 2001). “In its stead is the crusty succulence you get when you cook a fatty meat in front of a fire.” (Click here for the recipe.)
Your friends at California Olive Ranch