Five for the Grill
While we’ll always save room on our plates for a classic, juicy burger or charred hot dog, we’re kicking off barbecue season by shaking things up with a little help from the Executive Chefs at our Garden Cafes. To get ready for Memorial Day, we grilled (pun intended) Chef Jared Frazer and Chef Keith Rudolf about their favorite unexpected ingredients to throw on the barbecue and their ideas have our mouths watering. The key is to experiment and be open to new flavors. If there’s a food you enjoy traditionally prepared, chances are you may like it even better grilled! Read on for the chefs’ picks, along with a few staff favorites, below.
Watermelon: During summertime at the café, Chef Keith of Glen Mills loves to serve grilled watermelon on a bed of baby arugula, topped with cherry tomatoes, feta or goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar mixed with a bit of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. “The watermelon takes on a more savory flavor, while remaining the refreshing summer staple we all love,” says Keith. “I like to cut large cubes and spear them on long bamboo skewers that have soaked in water overnight. Grill the watermelon for a couple minutes on each side, just enough to get a nice char.”
Citrus: “I like to grill citrus— lemons, limes, oranges, whatever speaks to me,” says Chef Jared of Westport. “The fire caramelizes the natural sugars that are inherent in the fruits. This changes the taste from acidic to a sweeter, palatable flavor.” Grilled citrus can be used to finish fish on the grill, or even strained and used in citrus-based salad dressing.
Green Beans: Charred green beans make a great addition to summer salads, especially paired with oven-baked tomatoes and your favorite dressing.
Polenta: Toast polenta on the grill for additional flavor and crispiness that makes a pleasing alternative crostini or hamburger bun. We’re especially partial to grilled polenta topped with an avocado salsa and spicy shrimp!
Peaches: Grilling peaches infuses the fruit with the light, smoky notes, while caramelizing the natural sugars for added sweetness. We love grilled peaches served over fresh vanilla bean ice cream topped with salted caramel sauce. For a more savory rendition, drizzle the peaches with aged balsamic vinegar and garnish with fresh rosemary.