Memorial Day is long gone and summer is officially here, which means that grilling season is in full swing. If you’re going to be hosting a barbecue and, like me, get frustrated by having half the party out by the grill and the other half inside making pasta salad, try out this fully grilled menu that will bring the whole party out to the back deck. From start to finish, the whole meal tastes like summer.
Appetizer: Grilled Insalata Caprese
Grilling the tomatoes intensifies their flavor and adds a new twist to the classic Italian appetizer. I was not sure what to expect from warm tomatoes, but this easy trick makes the dish even more delicious and definitely impresses the crowd! It’s my new go-to for “classing up” summer BBQs.
Note: Garlic oil is simply oil infused with garlic. If you do not have this, dice 2-3 cloves of garlic and let them sit in olive oil for 10 minutes before brushing the tomatoes.
Time: 10 minutes
• Vegetable oil, for brushing grill
• 2 large red tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
• 2 large yellow tomatoes, each cut into 4 slices
• 2 tsp. garlic oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
• 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, halved, each half thinly sliced
• 12 leaves fresh basil
1. Brush grill grates with oil, and pre-heat grill to medium.
2. Brush tomato slices with garlic oil, season with salt and pepper (if desired), and place on grill. Cook 8 minutes, turning once, or until tomato slices are juicy and grill-marked.
3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella in alternating pattern on serving plate. Drizzle with 2 tsp. garlic oil, and top with basil leaves.
Recipe and picture from Vegetarian Times.
Entree: Balsamic Black Garlic Halibut Steaks
Are you tired of the same old salmon and swordfish on the grill? I was, so I decided to try a lighter white fish. Halibut is a great fish for grilling, and this recipe with orange juice and garlic makes for a delicious, light summery entrée that pairs well with any of the classic barbeque side dishes (and a crisp glass of white wine!)
Note: You can use fillets for this recipe, but the steaks hold together better on the grill. Also, regular garlic can be substituted for black garlic, although the black version is loaded with more antioxidants!
Time: 30 minutes or less
• 4 halibut steaks (6 oz. each)
• 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 4 cloves black garlic
• 1 orange (juiced)
• 2 tsp. orange zest
• 3 Tbsp. olive oil
• Dash of sea salt and ground white pepper
• Fresh cilantro, chopped (for topping)
1. Brush grill grates with oil. (Grill should already be pre-heated from the Caprese).
2. In a small bowl, combine garlic, balsamic vinegar, orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, sea salt and pepper.
3. Marinate halibut steaks in balsamic mixture for no longer than 10 minutes (or marinade will start to break fish down and make it difficult to grill).
4. Place steaks on grill; cook for 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
5. Flip steaks halfway through cooking to prevent halibut from falling apart.
6. Top with a sprig of fresh cilantro and serve.
Recipe Modified from Foodily.com
Dessert: Grilled Watermelon Fillets with Watercress and Mint
What says ‘summer’ more than watermelon? Grilling slices of watermelon adds an interesting twist to the typical summer dessert by concentrating the fruit’s flavor and texture. The balsamic vinegar adds a bit of tangy-ness, while the mint and watercress finish it off with a fresh, summery kick. And it’s just as refreshing as its ungrilled counterpart!
Time: 20 minutes
- Vegetable oil (for brushing grill)
- 4 1-inch-thick slices watermelon, rind removed (1½ lb.)
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. agave nectar
- 6 cups watercress, coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1. Brush grill grates with oil; keep on medium heat.
2. Brush watermelon slices with olive oil. Grill watermelon slices 5 minutes, or until just scorched around edges.
3. Whisk together balsamic vinegar and agave nectar in bowl. Toss half of vinegar mixture with watercress in large bowl.
4. Divide watercress salad among 4 plates. Top with grilled watermelon; garnish with mint and remaining vinegar mixture.
Recipe from Vegetarian Times.
Ashley Carter recently completed the first year of her Master’s degree in the Nutrition Communication program at the Friedman School. She loves cooking and trying new, interesting recipes, especially when she can be doing it outside with all of her friends!