Whether it’s for a weeknight dinner, on a camping trip or during a big gathering for friends and family, our grills are busy this time of year. So many foods taste great cooked outdoors.
This collection of recipes offers something for any griller to try, whether you rely on a charcoal kettle, a big gas grill or tabletop hibachi.
Spatchcocked chicken with fig glaze
Also known as butterflying the bird, spatchcocking involves removing the chicken’s backbone with a pair of kitchen shears, and then flattening it before sliding it onto a hot grill. Not only is the presentation spectacular, but spatchcocking allows the chicken to cook considerably faster and with more even results. This technique works for any size bird.
Adapted from “Grill Smoke BBQ” by Ben Tish (Quadrille, $35).
1 cup coarse sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons each coriander and fennel seeds
Zest of 2 lemons
1 sliced red chili pepper
1 large (4 1/2-pound) chicken
3/4 cup fig jam
3 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
14 ounces broccolini (or other preferred vegetable)
4 large black figs, cut in half (I used pitted dates)
Olive oil, for cooking
Sea salt and black pepper
Prepare brine by placing ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan with 4 1/2 cups water. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring as you go to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.
Prepare the chicken: Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Put chicken on a stable cutting board, breast side down, and cut out the backbone using kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. Make a cut along one side of the backbone, starting down near where the thighs meet the tail. Continue cutting, working your way around the thigh joint until you’ve snipped through every rib bone and completely split the chicken up to the neck. Turn the bird over and press on it HARD to flatten. (You should hear a couple of cracks.)
Pour brine in nonreactive container large enough to hold the chicken and pour in enough cold water to cover. Leave in fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Make glaze: Place fig jam, vinegar and 1/3 cup of water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to boil on stovetop. Stir until jam has melted. Set aside.
Light grill and set for direct/indirect cooking. Lift chicken out of brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub with 1/3 of the glaze and season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin-side down, on grill in the direct heat zone and cook for 4 minutes, to start caramelizing the skin. Turn chicken over and transfer it indirect heat zone.
After 10 minutes, baste chicken with fig glaze and continue to cook another 30 to 40 minutes, glazing it twice more during the process. When it is ready, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone should register 165 degrees, and the outside will be nicely glazed and caramelized. Rest chicken in a warm spot for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the broccolini with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in grill basket. Place basket in the direct heat zone, along with the figs or dates. Cook for about 15 minutes until fruit is soft and sticky and broccolini is nicely charred and al dente.
Serve chicken on a platter with the broccolini and roasted fruit.
Grilled bread with rosemary white bean puree
Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer
This is a perfect dish to make ahead, as it can be served room temperature. Feel free to substitute chick peas for the white beans and add other herbs such as thyme or Italian parsley. Recipe by Amanda Cushman.
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 16 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 loaf crusty Tuscan bread, sliced in 1 / 2-inch slices
Virgin olive oil for brushing
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and sauté the shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Add the beans and salt, pepper and rosemary, cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and cook for about 7 minutes.
Using a fork, mash up the beans in the skillet to form a rough paste. Add water as needed when the beans become too thick. Set aside.
Combine the tomato with the olive oil and minced garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Heat the grill over high heat. Brush the bread with a little olive oil and grill on both sides until toasted and charred slightly, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the bread to a serving platter. Spoon the puree on top of the bread and garnish with the tomato.
Grilled scallops with lemon-herb drizzle
Here, plump scallops are threaded onto skewers with scallions that, once grilled, mellow in flavor, soften and frizzle beautifully. The skewers are then drizzled with a classic Mediterranean combination of lemon, extra-virgin olive oil and herbs for a simple but irresistible dish.
The scallops also can be cooked on the grill. If you're using bamboo skewers, they'll need to soak for 30 minutes before going over the fire.
From cookbook author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/4 pounds large scallops (about 12)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice and oregano in a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley.
Trim the scallion roots and greens, leaving about an inch of the white and light-green part. (Save the greens for another use, if desired, such as in a salad.)
Thread the scallops and scallions onto four skewers, alternating them on each skewer. Brush the skewered scallops and scallions on both sides with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and season with the salt and pepper.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook for 5 to 6 minutes total, until grill marks have formed and the scallops are no longer translucent, turning them over once.
Serve right away, drizzled with the lemon-herb mixture.
Per serving: 210 calories, 18 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar