From the Farmer’s Table – Recipes to Grill with Gusto

Summer time, and the grillin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’, and the grill is nearby. (With apologies to George and Ira Gershwin.)

Hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and tofu dogs reigned supreme over the recent Fourth of July weekend. With grilling season in full-swing, here are some seafood and vegetable recipes for the grill guaranteed to keep both omnivores and vegetarians happy.

Grilled Red Snapper with Catalonian Romesco Sauce
(serves 4)

4 red snapper fillets (6-8 oz. Each)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Catalonian Romensco Sauce
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. raw almonds
2/3 c. French or Italian bread cubes with crust
2 cloves garlic
_ t. cayenne pepper
4 t. fresh lemon juice

The fillets can be grilled over high heat on a charcoal or gas grill. Alternatively, they can be broiled in a broiler, using a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil.

Using a brush or drizzling with a spoon, coat the snapper fillets with the extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

To roast the red pepper, place it over a hot fire in a grill or a broiler pan about 2 inches from the heat source. Turn the pepper occasionally until it is evenly blackened on all sides. I have also roasted red peppers over the gas burner on my gas stove. If you are using the broiler, you can cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds, and place it cut side down on a foil-lined boiler pan. After the skin is charred, place the roasted pepper in a paper bag, seal, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Open bag and peel off the blackened skin. Remove the stem, seeds and membranes if you have not already done so.

Place the roasted pepper in a blender. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saute pan, making sure the entire surface of the pan is coated. Place the almonds and bread cubes in the pan and saute for 3 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Put the almonds and bread cubes in the blender. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, lemon juice,  salt, and 3 T. olive oil and puree. The finished sauce may be slightly grainy because of the almonds. If you prefer a slightly grainier, more nutty sauce, you can use the almonds and bread crumbs. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Oil the grill rack or the top of the broiler pan with an oil-soaked paper towel. Place the fillets on the rack or a prepared broiler pan. If you are using the broiler, preheat it before pacing the pan under the broiler 2-3 inches from the heating source. Cook the fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side. They should be opaque throughout and lightly browned on top. Transfer the fillets to individual plates and spoon some of the sauce over them. Place the remaining sauce in a bowl so it can be passed around during the meal. (Adopted from Williams-Sonoma Seafood cookbook.)

Scallop and Squash Skewers with Tarragon Herb Marinade
(serves 4 as main dish)
Herb Marinade:
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. minced fresh tarragon
2 T. minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t. fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
small pinch ground white pepper
1 1/2 t. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice

24 large sea scallops
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
24 – 36 cherry or grape tomatoes

lemon wedges

Prepare charcoal or gas grill for grilling over medium-high heat. (You can also use a broiler.). Soak 12 long wooden skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes; drain.

Combine olive oil, tarragon, parsley, thyme, and minced garlic in a glass or ceramic (non-reactive) bowl. Add a small pinch of ground white pepper, white wine vinegar (or lemon) and salt to taste. Stir to blend. Add scallops, zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes to bowl. Let stand for about 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Thread 6 scallops on each of 4 skewers, horizontally through their sides. Thread the zucchini and summer squash horizontally on the remaining skewers, putting a cherry or grape tomato between the squash slices.

Oil the grill rack or top of broiler pan with a paper towel soaked with oil. Place the vegetable skewers on the grill rack, or place on the broiler pan 2-3 inches from the heat source. Cook until softened and grill-marked. Each side should take 4-5 minutes. The scallops skewers should be grilled for about a minute and a half on each side, until the scallops are opaque. Transfer skewers to warmed plates and serve immediately, accompanied by lemon wedges. (Marinade adopted from Nancy Garcia’s family Tarragon Marinade recipe; scallop and squash skewers combination inspired by Williams-Sonoma Seafood cookbook.)

Grilled Vegetables with Lime-Herb Marinade
(serves 12 as side dish)

6 medium zucchini
6 cripolini onions or fresh Mexican onions (you can substitute two large sweet onions, such as Texas or Maui or Walla Walla, for these smaller onions if you want)
12 large white or Crimini (brown) mushrooms
4 red peppers
6 ripe Roma tomatoes, halved
optional: 12 small heirloom tomatoes (the green Zebra, light yellow Lemon Boy or other small heirlooms)
On the side:
3-4 limes, cut into wedges
Californi chili powder

Lime-herb marinade:
_ c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 _ t. fresh rosemary
1 t. fresh thyme
pinch crushed hot red pepper
_ t. salt
juice of one lime
(if using dried herbs, use 1 t. rosemary and _ t. thyme leaves)

Prepare charcoal or gas grill for grilling over medium-high heat. (You can also use a broiler, but a grill is preferable as you’ll be staggering the times you put the skewers on .) Soak 12-15 long wooden skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes; drain.

Combine olive oil, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper and salt in a small sauce pan. Stir well to blend. Warm over medium heat until it starts to bubble gently. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for four more minutes. Remove from heat and let stand. This will infuse the herbs into the marinade.

Prepare the vegetables. Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stems, seeds and membranes. Cut each half into quarters. Remove the dry skins from the onions and cut off the root ends. Cut in half, quarters, or eights, depending upon the size of the onions. Cut the zucchini diagonally into 1 inch slices. Lightly wash the mushrooms and trim their ends. Cut the Roma tomatoes in half. If using small heirlooms, leave them whole. Place the vegetables on skewers. Do not mix the vegetables on the skewers, as they will have different cooking times.

Prepare the grill with vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil to prevent the skewers from sticking. When the grill is hot, add the juice of one lime to the marinade and stir to blend. Using a brush, brush each skewer with the marinade. Stagger the cooking times of the vegetables. Start with the zucchini and onions, add the mushrooms two minutes later. The tomatoes and peppers should be added two minutes after the mushrooms. Turn the vegetables as they brown, and baste with remaining marinade as they cook. Remove from skewers and serve on platter. Serve with lime wedges and California chili powder on the side. The lime juice and chili powder provide a Mexican kick to this side dish.

If you are using a broiler, place the skewers on lined broiler pans 2-3 inches away from the heat source. The skewers might take a little more time to cook, as you’ll be temporarily reducing the temperature each time you open the door to add more skewers. (Adopted from Time-Life Books’ Fresh Ways with Vegetables.)

Katie Malich thanks grill-masters Daniel N. , Rick T. and Pam T. for inspiring this edition of From the Farmers’ Table.

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