Gourmet Grilling


If you turn up your nose at the thought of grilling hot dogs and burgers but don’t want to be left out of the barbecue fun, we’ve got some upscale options for you. Colorful ingredient salads that include grilled components allow you to enjoy the grilling experience while maintaining your food standards.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon or whole grain mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed

For the grape salad:

Canola oil

2 jalapeno chili peppers

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups green seedless grapes, roughly chopped

2 cups red seedless grapes, roughly chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the chicken:

3/4 cup apricot jam

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

Canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 package baby greens

1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Prepare the vinaigrette:

Whisk the vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper, to taste, in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and until emulsified.

For the grape salad:

Heat the grill to medium hot.

Brush the chilies with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on all sides. Remove to a bowl, cover and let steam for 15 minutes. Remove the skins and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and add the grapes, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. .

Prepare the chicken:

Whisk together the apricot jam and vinegar. Season with salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Brush the chicken on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until the first side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn, brush with the glaze, and sprinkle on the thyme. Cook until just cooked through, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and allow to rest 5 minutes. Slice into 4-5 slices, keeping the pieces together.

To serve, divide baby greens among 4 plates; add a chicken cutlet. Add some of the grape salad, and finally the almonds. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Caesar-style Grilled Steak Salad

For the grilled steak

2 pounds oyster steak

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons crushed garlic

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon or yellow mustard

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

For the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon or yellow mustard

½ teaspoon sugar

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup water

For the croutons:

12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices French bread (from 1 loaf)

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bags romaine hearts

Prepare the steak:

Place the meat in a shallow non-reactive dish or zippered plastic bag. Combine the red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, mustard and spices in a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Pour marinade over the meat, stirring to coat the meat well with the marinade. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight, turning meat occasionally.

Prepare the croutons:

This salad uses slices of French bread as croutons instead of cubes for unusual presentation — we think you’ll like the look.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Stir together spices in a small bowl and sprinkle bread slices. Bake for 8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Set aside.

Grill the meat:

Preheat grill to high. Grease the grill grate with an oil-dampened paper towel. Wipe the marinade off the meat and place on the grill. Sear one side and continue to cook until meat is easily removed from the grill. Flip and cook the other side, approximately 8-9 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and set aside on a plate while you assemble the salads.

Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the dressing to taste. Divide the salad among 6 large salad plates. Slice steak across the grain and place several slices on each plate. Garnish each salad with 2 croutons. Serve immediately.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to peppermill@hamodia.com. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.