Victoria Day and Memorial Day weekends tend to mark the start of the grilling season, with North Americans typically gathering for the three-day weekends to cook and eat while enjoying the (finally) warm weather. Kick off the season right by adding a new food to last year’s cookout menu. After all, that grill can cook plenty more than just burgers, hot dogs and chicken. Believe it or not, the following foods taste incredible when barbecued.
We usually don’t even cook lettuce indoors, so it’s extra-unusual to consider grilling it. But as it turns out, the charred, wilted edges add a wonderful texture to salads. Wash the lettuce and pat it dry. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with some lemon juice and salt, and grill for about four to five minutes over medium-high heat, turning occasionally.
Chop up the lettuce however you want and add your favorite salad dressing and toppings. Need some ideas? Try this yummy cilantro-lime vinaigrette from OurBestBites.com.
If you’re a fan of bananas foster — and let’s be honest: who isn’t? — you’ll love grilled bananas. Leave the skins on, cut the bananas in half and cook, skin side up, on medium heat for three minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn over with tongs and cook for another five minutes or until the skin pulls away from the bananas. For a sweet dessert, try this recipe for honey-rum grilled bananas from Taste of Home.
Why should we unnecessarily heat up the whole house when pizza tastes just as good — if not better — on the grill? We know what you’re thinking, and yes, you would think the dough would fall through the grates, but it doesn’t! You should make sure the grates are clean so the dough doesn’t stick. Coat the dough with olive oil and lay it on the grill over medium heat. Let it cook for about one to one-and-a-half minutes on one side, and then (carefully!) flip it with tongs.
Throw on the sauce and toppings like you’re participating in a timed challenge on an episode of “Master Chef” — seriously, you need to make it QUICK. Close the grill and let it cook for another one-and-a-half to two minutes, checking at least once to make sure it doesn’t overcook. The cheese should be bubbly and the crust browned. Remove it from the grill with tongs, and eat!
If you need a recipe to get started, try this grilled veggie pizza from MyRecipes.com.
If bananas aren’t really your thing, grilled peaches makes for a tasty summer dessert. You’ll need firm peaches that have a little give when you put some pressure on them. Cut them in half and pit them, brush the grill with oil and cook on low to medium heat for about two to four minutes per side. They should be tender and have grill marks when they’re ready. Try these grilled peaches with honey and yogurt from Skinnytaste.com.
If you’ve ever been to Drago’s in New Orleans, you already know that charbroiled oysters are heavenly. If you haven’t been, we’ll let you slide this time and help you make grilled oysters from home — but get your butt to Drago’s at some point in your life! Cook oysters over medium-high heat. When the first one opens, which should take about eight minutes, remove all of them from the grill. Shuck, sprinkle with lemon juice and enjoy!
Grilled oyster recipes often use massive amounts of butter. Yes, this is delicious — but it also adds a lot of fat to what could be an amazing AND healthy meal. Keep it simple like we suggested above, or try these wood-grilled oysters in chipotle vinaigrette from Epicurious. You can also grill clams — it should take about the same amount of time to cook.
Grilled pineapple can be eaten as dessert or used in an Asian-style dish for lunch or dinner. You’ll need ripe but not mushy pineapple that has a little give to it when you put pressure on it. Cut off the top and bottom, as well as the rind. Cut crosswise into six slices and cook over medium-high heat until grill marks appear, which should take about four to six minutes per side.
Try this grilled pineapple and scallops teriyaki recipe from Whole Foods. If you’d rather pineapple for dessert, try this recipe for grilled pineapple slices with ginger cream from EatBetterAmerica.com.
If you’re in a guac slump, grilled avocados might be just what you need. Grilled avocados in non-guacamole form are also amazing. Make sure the grill is clean so the avocado doesn’t stick, and brush the avocados with lime juice and olive oil. Cook, flesh-side-up, on medium-high heat for about three to five minutes. Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa where the pits used to be, or try this grilled avocado, tomato and red onion salad from Michael Chiarello at FoodNetwork.com.
Note: Don’t forget to keep your grilling eco-friendly. To find out how, click here.