We give the grill a workout every summer, often with small items that want to fall through the grate no matter how carefully they’re arranged on the open surface. I have two grill trays that work well when smoking cherries or cheese or charring large batches of thin asparagus spears. I also have a pair of copper grill mats ideal for sourdough pizza and other soft ingredients—we even grilled scrambled eggs and potatoes on one when I forgot to put a skillet on the sailboat. But for grilled meals with more emphasis on variety than quantity, I reach for skewers.
As I share this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon, you can spear so many foods on a stick and cook them over an open flame. A simple marinade can tie the ingredients together, playing well with flavors that range from sweet tomatillos, to mild potatoes, to spicy peppers. Skewers are also ideal for grilling shrimp, scallops, meaty fish, and cubed meats.
Learn more about grilling kebabs and get the complete recipe for Veggie Shish Kebabs with Garlicy Marinade in my column.
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Twice as Tasty
Once you start seeing the grill as a tool for more than hamburgers and steak, you’ll be surprised by what you can cook on it. Curly garlic scapes? Toss them with oil and then on a grill tray until lightly charred. Juicy fruit like peaches and pineapple? Slice generously and lay on the grill until the sugars caramelize. Sturdy leafy greens like romaine lettuce and napa cabbage? Slice whole heads in half or quarters, grill until charred on the edges and soft at the center, and toss with a homemade salad dressing for a grilled Caesar salad.
If you start with fresh, flavorful ingredients, you can grill many foods with just a little oil to keep them from sticking. Marinades can up your grilling game and give a common baseline to flavors, especially when you mix and match ingredients on skewers. Once you find a favorite marinade, you can pour it over many ingredients. Here are just a few ideas on the blog. You can find more marinade and grilling recipes in the recipe index.
- Grilled Fish Skewers: This herb-and-spice marinade won’t overpower delicate fish and can complement flavorful vegetables like mushrooms and peppers.
- Chipotle-Marinated Grilled Shrimp: This spicy, smoky marinade is readily absorbed by shrimp, tofu, parboiled potatoes, chicken, and more.
- Grilled Fish Tacos: With lemon juice, paprika, and cumin, this fish taco marinade also works well on skewered shrimp or cubes of paneer.
- Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula: I love this North African marinade in its traditional use, on shrimp and fish, but it’s also delicious for tofu and would work well on a range of meats.
- Marinated and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: Large, meaty portobello mushrooms soak up this wine and orange marinade, which is hearty enough for dense fish and other meats.
- North African-Inspired Grilled Fish: I use this spice-heavy marinade for skewers of fish, but you can also use it to coat fillets or steaks or cubes of summer squash and eggplant.
- Wasabi-Marinated Shrimp: This simple sushi-inspired marinade hits the mark when poured over shrimp but can even be drizzled on pineapple or peaches for a sweet-and-sour effect.
- Whiskey-Basted Grilled Salmon: This sweet, rich marinade pairs well with strongly flavored fish like salmon and other meats.
You can learn more about getting the most out of your grill in this blog post.
Want more Twice as Tasty recipes? Get my books! Click here to order a personally signed, packaged, and shipped copy of The Complete Guide to Pickling directly from me. I also share tasty ways to use pickles in The Pickled Picnic; it’s only available here.