Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 – Appetizer to Dessert on the Grill!
I always love a summer grilling menu with friends, so imagine my excitement to be chosen by Foodbuzz as one of the 24 food bloggers to host this month’s 24, 24, 24 event! 24 food bloggers from around the world feature 24 different menus in the same 24 hour period and then post them the following day, and my summer grill menu was selected for May. I’ll be posting the recipes for each dish during the week on this blog, but this will give you the highlights of our fun event last night. Any good summer party starts with gardens – and fortunately mine are blooming nicely…
So…on to the menu! I love doing a complete menu – appetizers all the way to dessert – on the grill. Most people don’t think of grilling for some of these course, so it’s always a surprise and a delight. I think my friends thought so! We started with appetizers, and first up was a simple grilled shrimp. I marinated the shrimp in the classic combo of lemon, garlic and parsley and grilled them just until barely cooked through. You can serve shrimp like this either warm, room temp, or stick them in the refrigerator and serve them cold. My husband said he ate about 20 of these!
After the appetizers we moved inside for the meal itself. First up, a grilled romaine and asparagus salad. Most people have never heard of grilling lettuce, but lots of leafy stuff works well on the grill. Anything that can hold together like radicchio or romaine is perfect. I just lightly drizzled the whole heads and the asparagus spears with extra virgin olive oil then sprinkled them with salt and grilled them until they were nicely charred. The warm charred part of the lettuce contrasts with the inside leaves that are still cool and crisp, making for a really unique salad.
I chopped the charred lettuce and asparagus and tossed them with my version of Heidi Swanson’s pine nut dressing – lemon, shallots, extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and pine nuts. This might be my new favorite dressing!
I had marinated some boneless chicken breasts in a basil marinade (kind of like pesto but without the cheese and nuts) for about 4 hours, then grilled them off on the grill so they were just barely undercooked. That allowed me to put them back in a baking dish and hold them in the oven (covered with foil) while we ate our salad without them overcooking. See how great those grill marks look?
Columbia Crest Reserve Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, 2005Paul Jaboulet Aine Tavel, L’Espiegle, 2005 (rose wine is a great summer wine – especially with a grill menu like this)Piculit-Neri Delle Venezie, 2007 (great IGT wine that was given to me by my dentist of all people!)Zenato Valpolicella Ripassa, 2005 (Valpolicella is a bit weak and watery, but the ripassa technique gives it body much more like an Amarone)Catena Malbec, Mendoza, 2004Valkenberg Madonna Eiswein, 2004 (wonderful pairing with the peaches and ice cream!)