Dinspiration: 10 Dishes For Memorial Day Grilling


1. Grilled Pineapple and Red Onion Salsa

Peel and core a small pineapple; cut it and a small red onion into thick rings. Rub with oil and grill over medium-low heat until soft and lightly charred, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool, chop, and combine with minced garlic, minced fresh chile (like Serrano), a handful of chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.

2. Charred Radishes with Lemon-Parsley Butter

A nice cocktail-hour snack. Grill an array of radishes on little skewers, four to six each, until nicely charred on the outside, but still crunchy in the middle. Serve with a dish of softened butter mixed with minced parsley and lemon zest, coarse salt and some grilled bread.

3. Grilled Fennel with Oranges and Olives

Brush thick slices of fennel bulbs with olive oil and grill over not-too-high heat. Cut oranges in half and grill, cut-side down. Put fennel on a bed of arugula or watercress (or whatever greens you like), squeeze grilled oranges over the top, and scatter with some pitted olives (the oil-cured kind are really nice here). Garnish with fennel fronds.

4. Spice-Rubbed Carrots

Rub peeled carrots with a little olive oil, then roll them in a mixture of cumin, garam masala or curry powder, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Char over the flame, then move them away from direct heat and cover the grill until carrots are tender. While they grill, stir together some thick yogurt and lemon juice, and serve it alongside the carrots as a sauce. Garnish with cilantro or mint.

5. Grilled Sausage Coil with Raw Oysters

This is a thing they do in Western France; kind of primal, and so good! Go to a place that has a decent selection of sausages (a butcher is your best bet), and buy one of those thin ones that comes in a coil (rather than individual links). Stick a few skewers all the way through the coil so it holds together, and grill over medium heat until cooked through. Put the sausage coil in the center of a platter, along with a small knife for you and your guests to cut off chunks as you go. Arrange some raw shucked oysters and a few lemon wedges around the sausage, and have at it. Surf and turf.

6. Grilled Tuna Niçoise:

Brush tuna with olive oil and grill; keep it rare (really, just a minute or two per side). (You might grill some new potatoes while you’re at it.) Serve with more olive oil, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, olives, grilled red onion, and parsley. Green beans and hard-cooked eggs are optional.

7. Grilled Fish Sandwich with Chile-Lime-Carrot Relish

Mayo scented with chile and lime is good as a dressing here, too; and use tomatoes if you can’t find tomatillos. Grate two or three carrots and combine with lime juice, chili powder, minced garlic, salt, and pepper; press down to soften the carrots a bit. Brush any sturdy white fish with olive oil and grill until done, about three minutes per side. Split good-quality rolls; spread carrot relish on the bottom half and add sliced tomatillos, cilantro sprigs, and the fish.

8. Steak Salad, Light On The Steak

Halve endives or radicchio; brush with oil and grill; chop into rustic pieces and toss together with halved cherry tomatoes, some bits of charred steak (this is a great use for leftovers), toasted pecans or pine nuts, olive oil, and balsamic. Sprinkle some blue cheese over the top before serving.

9. Grilled Pork With Basil Peanut Sauce

In a blender, combine a few handfuls of fresh basil, a lump of peanut butter (say, a quarter cup), a tablespoon or two of fish sauce, a clove of garlic, a small piece of fresh ginger, a pinch of red chile flakes, and a little water; process until you have a smooth, thick paste, then taste and add more of whatever you like. Rub the paste over a pound of boneless pork chops (about a half-inch thick) and set aside to marinate for a few minutes. Slice a couple of heads of baby bok choy in half; brush them with peanut or sesame oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Grill the pork until it’s slightly blackened and cooked through; grill the bok choy until it wilts slightly and is tender when pierced with a knife. Serve together.

10. Szechuan-Style Cumin-Chile Lamb Burgers

Cut 1 1 ⁄ 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, breast, or neck into chunks; put it in a food processor with a few chopped scallions, toasted cumin seeds, chopped garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and some hot red pepper flakes. Pulse until the meat is ground. Shape into 4 burgers and grill, turning once, until medium rare (or however you like it), 6 to 8 minutes total. Serve on a grilled bun with a handful of cilantro leaves.