Authors Karen Adler and Judith Fertig are wondering, “How does your garden grill?” Celebrate your garden harvest by grilling, roasting and smoking to perfection each fruit and vegetable with their new cookbook, The Gardener & the Grill (Running Press, 2012). Grilling what you grow gives you twice the sense of accomplishment, so check out these savory recipes taken from Chapter 5, “Meat, Poultry & Fish.”
When you’ve got a garden going and the grill fired up, dinner is only minutes away. A few fresh-picked vegetables and fruits, snipped herbs, and tender cuts of poultry, pork, beef, fish, and shellfish can all combine for a meal worth celebrating. At the very least, you can add a handful of fresh greens to each plate, top them with something grilled, and drizzle the plate with garden-fresh vinaigrette.
Choose thin, tender, boneless cuts of chicken, turkey, pork, or beef to cook as quickly as the vegetables do. Boneless chicken or turkey breast, boneless chicken thighs, pork tenderloin, and boneless steaks all grill well with vegetables.
You can easily substitute firm tofu for any of the chicken, turkey, pork, or beef cuts; simply brush the tofu with olive oil, season to taste, and grill, turning once, until the tofu has good grill marks. Tofu is already “cooked,” so you’re just adding the grill flavor.
Chicken, turkey, pork, and sausage of all kinds should be completely cooked through to a temperature of 160 to 165°F. Remember that the meat’s internal temperature will continue to rise by about 5 degrees after you take it off the grill. Thin cuts are difficult to judge by temperature; it’s just as easy to simply cut into the middle to check doneness. The juices should run clear.
Beef steaks, on the other hand, can be easily checked with a grill or instant-read thermometer. Just remember that the temperature will continue to rise by about 5 degrees after you take the steak off the grill. So, if you like your steak rare (125°F), pull it off the grill when the internal temperature reaches 120°F. Let the steak rest for about 5 to 10 minutes so the temperature rises; this also helps keep the juices from running out of the steak when it’s cut. Fish fillets and shellfish cook quickly. Fish cooks in about 10 minutes per inch of thickness over a hot fire, turning once. Most fish fillets are about 3/4 inch thick in the thickest part, so they take about 7 to 8 minutes total to grill. By turning fish fillets only once (and preferably with a wide fish spatula), you help the delicate fish from falling apart on the grill. If you’ve never grilled a fish fillet before, practice on a less expensive, but still delicious, farm-raised catfish fillet.
If you have a large grill surface, you can do the meat on one side and the vegetables on the other. If you have a small grill, it’s best for food safety reasons to grill the vegetables first.
Reprinted with permission from THE GARDENER & THE GRILL, © 2012 by Karen Adler & Judith Fertig, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
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