Dust off the grill for Memorial Day
Grilling can be a quick way to get a meal together if you’ve got the right recipe and ingredients at hand.
Here’s a smart recipe that takes only 30 minutes to make and doesn’t let taste get overlooked in the rush to the table. Your speedy dish can still be mouthwatering enough to maintain the cook’s credibility – and a touch of Mexican style will do that for most people these days.
These grilled shrimp tacos are minimal work to prepare, maximum pleasure to eat. Diners can enjoy the combination of seasonings, the creamy texture, spiked with cumin, garlic and lime, tomatillo salsa (ready-made to save time) and shredded cabbage to give crunch.
The recipe is featured in “Real Simple: Meals Made Easy” (Real Simple Books, 2006, $24.95). The cookbook is a well-designed and illustrated collection of some 82 recipes, grouped according to their special advantages, in chapters on one-pot meals, no-shop meals and reliable sides, among others.
Tip from Real Simple’s editors for this recipe: Skewer your shrimp twice – that way, they’ll lie flat on the grill and won’t spin when you turn them. First spear the shrimp through the tail, then bend the shrimp and spear it through the head.
You’ll need to have wooden skewers at hand, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes. The length of skewers available will vary, and there’s no one right size. You might use 12, for example, of the type often bought in a large bag of 50 or so.
The editors don’t specify how many shrimp go on each skewer, either, because the number of shrimp in 11Ú2 pounds may vary slightly. In the end it really doesn’t matter because you’re taking the shrimp and limes off the skewers and placing them onto tortillas. Just alternate lime wedges and shrimp, the editors say.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
1Ú2 cup sour cream
3 T. mayonnaise
3 T. milk
1Ú2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
11Ú2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 limes, quartered
1Ú2 teaspoon kosher salt
Eight 6-inch corn tortillas
3 cups shredded green cabbage
14- to 16-ounce jar green (tomatillo) salsa
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and cumin; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and the garlic.
Heat a grill or broiler. Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the shrimp and lime wedges on the skewers. Brush the shrimp with the garlic butter. Grill or broil until the shrimp are cooked through and the limes are browned, about 3 minutes per side. Season the shrimp with the salt. Transfer to a plate. Grill or broil the tortillas until warmed, about 30 seconds per side. Place them between clean towels to keep warm. To serve, remove the shrimp from the skewers, divide them evenly among the tortillas, and top each with the cabbage, sour cream mixture, and salsa. Serve the lime wedges on the side. Serves 4.
A food feature headlined “Red Carpet Recipes” is going to catch the eye of cooks with a taste for something special, seasoned with a touch of glamour.
Whatever the achievements of the celebs who preen along red carpets, when these famous faces make an appearance at chic Los Angeles restaurants they surely get offered food that’s a cut above the average, don’t they?
That reasoning led editors of “Self Dishes” (Self, $4.99) to ask star chefs at some of these popular eating places to share their recipes for dishes that were appetizing but also slimming enough to satisfy stars’ pampered palates.
Then the editors added a few shortcuts, and trimmed fat and calories to make the recipes healthier. “Now you can bypass the paparazzi, skip the schmoozing and get a taste of the good life right in your own home,” says the red-carpet feature in “Self Dishes,” a special issue of Self magazine that’s devoted to healthy eating.
Here’s a dish to try from Dominick’s, a West Hollywood eatery that attracts big-name diners.
Grilled Breast of Chicken Marsala
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1Ú2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1Ú2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
16 small carrots, peeled
31Ú2 cups Marsala wine
8 pieces dried porcini mushrooms
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
4 T. light cream
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Mix fennel, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Sprinkle this spice mix over chicken; set aside. Boil carrots for about 4 minutes and remove; dry on a paper towel. Set aside.
Bring Marsala to a low boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until sauce reduces, about 20 minutes. Discard garlic and set sauce aside.
Coat grill with cooking spray and grill chicken 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Grill carrots about 5 minutes, rotating until charred.
Return sauce to stove; bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and whisk in cream. Divide carrots among 4 plates and top with chicken, sauce and a sprig of rosemary. Makes 4 servings.
As chef and co-owner of New York City’s Gotham Bar and Grill, Alfred Portale has planned and served nearly a million gourmet meals over the past 22 years.
This month, Portale won the James Beard Foundation’s national “chef of the year” award, the nation’s highest honor for professional cooks.
Portale said he grew so tired of being served the same old tomato salad at every summer picnic that he developed his own version incorporating hunks of watermelon.
“It’s a totally new taste,” he said. “And you can put a little goat cheese on it, or feta. It’s a fabulous salad.”
Watermelon, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion and Cucumber Salad
3 cups diced (1-inch) watermelon, preferably seedless
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1Ú3 cup minced red onion
1 cup finely diced, peeled, seeded cucumber
3 T. freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine watermelon, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, lime juice and oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Makes about 41Ú2 cups, enough to serve 4.