July is National BBQ month and while most people think this means hot dogs, hamburgers and ribs, we have a new twist on typical BBQ food. Outdoor grilling opens up a vast cornucopia of flavors and ingredients that just takes casual dining to a whole new level. It all begins at the local farmers market….
…. Fresh mozzarella, eggplant, tomatoes and basil
…. Juicy ripe peaches, mint and basil
…. Corn, tomatoes and parsley
Our three favorite recipes for BBQ month are easy, delicious and sure to please!
-Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Open Sandwich
-Grilled Breast of Chicken with Peach-Mango Salsa
-Grilled Spicy Shrimp with Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
1. Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Open Sandwich
For a light lunch or a hearty appetizer these open-faced sandwiches are utterly delicious and so simple to prepare.
Makes 4 sandwiches
4 1/2” slices of French baguette, cut on an angle
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
¾ lb eggplant sliced crosswise ¼” thick – one slice should cover the slice
of baguette – 4 slices
2 beefsteak tomatoes sliced crosswise ¼” thick
½ lb buffalo mozzarella sliced ¼” thick
8-10 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Light the grill and brush the bread on both sides with EVOO and grill over a high heat until crisp, turn and grill the other side. Bread should be crispy on the outside but still soft inside. About 30-seconds per side. Put on a serving platter.
Brush both sides of the eggplant with EVOO, season well with salt and pepper. Grill over a moderate heat until charred about 5 minutes. Turn and grill for another 3-4 minutes so eggplant is tender.
Put the tomato slices and mozzarella on top of the eggplant, cover the grill and cook until the cheese begins to melt, about 2-3 minutes. Slide the eggplant onto the grilled bread, top with the fresh basil.
2. Grilled Breast of Chicken with Peach-Mango Salsa
Wonderful pairing of juicy summer fruits with tender, crispy-skinned chicken – a perfect combination!
4 chicken breasts with the skin on
3Tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together well. Toss the chicken in the marinade to coat it all over, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
1 ripe mango peeled and chopped
2 ripe peaches peeled and chopped
2Tbs red onion finely chopped
1 green jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed, finely chopped
1Tbs fresh basil, chopped
2tsp fresh mint chopped
1Tbs fresh lime juice
¼ tsp salt
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let stand for one hour
Preheat the grill to medium high, remove chicken from marinade and grill each side for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and serve with salsa, baby potatoes and lime wedges.
3. Grilled Spicy Shrimp with Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
This recipe serves 4.
You’ll need 32 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and devined (keep the tails on).
Marinade for the shrimp:
2Tbs fresh lime juice
1Tbs olive oil
2tsp chili powder
¼ fresh black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp hot pepper sauce
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients, add shrimp, toss well. Cover and leave in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Thread eight shrimp onto 4 skewers place on a grill rack coated with oil ready for grilling.
Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad:
3 ears of fresh corn, shucked
1 Vidalia onion peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
1cup cherry tomatoes halved
2 ripe Hass avocado peeled and sliced
1Tbs fat free Greek yoghurt
2Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
1tps fresh chopped thyme
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
2tsp rice wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh black pepper
Preheat the grill to high.
In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the dressing and chill until ready to serve.
Lightly coat the corn and onion slices and grill until lightly charred. Cool and then cut the corn kernels from the cob and cut the onion slices into quarters.
Lower grill to medium high and grill the shrimp turning once. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side.
Arrange the tomatoes, corn, onion and avocado on a plate and top with the dressing. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and add to plate. Any left over dressing use as a dipping sauce for the shrimp.