Nothing says “summertime” like firing up the grill and gathering friends and family to enjoy dining alfresco. The secret to effortless summer entertaining is to use tried and trusted ingredients that complement the flavors of your favorite seasonal foods. Try these tips to prepare tasty meals outdoors for the whole family.
Always clean the grill with a wire brush and heat it for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Keep food in the refrigerator until the grill is ready.
Marinate fish and meat before cooking to add flavor and zing. Try Crosse & Blackwell® zesty Seafood Cocktail Sauce to complement succulent seafood like fresh shrimp, crab and lobster. It can also be used to lend a lively accent to salad dressings and pasta dishes.
Use a meat thermometer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises cooking red meat to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F. Ground meats should be cooked to 160° F and poultry to 165° F.
Always place cooked food on a clean plate so it doesn’t come in contact with uncooked meat juices. Wrap leftovers and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
Remember, the grill isn’t just for meat. Experiment with vegetables to add a delicious and colorful punch to the plate. Slice zucchini, eggplant, squash, onions and peppers, then coat with a tablespoon of olive oil and seasonings before cooking. Skewer vegetables with meat to make kebabs or add them to salads and side dishes.
Fruits make great grill mates, too. The caramelized flavors of grilled apples, peaches, pineapple and bananas are delicious served with fresh cream or a scoop of gelato.
To add vibrant flavor and gourmet flair to grilled food, side dishes, pasta and buns, consider condiments such as salty capers or tropical chutney. Crosse & Blackwell Major Grey’s Chutney is fruity and full bodied, combining choice herbs, spices and luscious tropical fruits and vegetables. It makes for a delicious appetizer when poured over cream cheese or can serve as a unique marinade for pork or chicken.
You can find many free grilling recipes are available online! Here’s one site to get you started: Crosse & Blackwell 2014 Guide to Summer Dining.