We’ve said it before: Summer is the time when any cooking you do will hopefully involve the grill.
But as the hot weather months roll on, the excitement of cooking on a grill can fade. Whereas Day One of grilling season might entail dishes that take hours of preparation – handmade barbecue sauces, hours of smoking – by Day 55, it’s a different story.
In short, it’s a good time to master satisfyingly easy recipes.
To do that, we turned to top chefs, who spend enough time crafting meticulous dishes in their day job. They still want to grill on their time off, but they want it to be as simple as possible.
Josh Capon, of Bowery Meat Company in New York, breaks it down: “I work hard at my restaurant. When I’m off, I’m going to let my grill do the work.”
His go-to recipe is a mess of chopped vegetables and cubed meat, tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Get whatever kids are handy, he recommends, and get them to put the mix on metal skewers. Grill on medium heat until the meat is done, and you’re ready to go.
Here, five other hard-working chefs offer the dishes they make with no more than six ingredients that, on a hot summer day, provide maximum flavor for minimal effort.
Buffalo chicken tenders
Who says? Michael Symon, Angeline at Borgata, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and co-star of the daytime TV show, The Chew
Lazy fix: “This recipe is from my cookbook ‘5 for 5 for Every Season,’ and it gives everyone the chance to feel like buffalo chicken is a summer dish. Season 2 pounds boneless chicken tenders with salt and pepper. In a bowl, toss with ½ cup of hot sauce. Put the chicken on a grill over a medium hot fire and cook, covered, turning once, until charred and cooked through, about 4 minutes total. In a bowl, combine 2 cups sliced celery with ½ cup crumbled blue cheese and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the salad on top of the chicken, and add more hot sauce if desired.”
Who says? Joseph Johnson, Minton’s, New York
Lazy fix: “My go-to recipe on the grill at home is cheese-and-green stuffed burgers; the beauty of them is that you get everything in one bite. For the burgers, I use a blend of chuck, short rib and brisket. Shape the meat into slim patties. Top half of them with a mix of grated cheeses – I use sharp cheddar and feta, plus precooked, chopped broccoli or whatever vegetable you like. Cover with another patty and seal the edges so the filling is enclosed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium hot fire. Serve it on a potato bun (you probably want to toast it) with some spicy pickles, and BBQ sauce on top.”
Who says? Zak Pelaccio, James Beard-winning chef at Fish & Game, Hudson, N.Y.
Lazy fix: “Take four large lamb chops. Use a mallet (or any heavy, blunt object at your disposal) to pound the lamb chops as thin as you can without tearing/breaking apart the chop. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, mash 12 anchovy fillets and 8 peeled garlic cloves. Stir in 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil and ¾ cup fresh lemon juice. Season with salt. Grill the lamb over the screaming hottest part of your fire (and preferably that’s a charcoal fire with coals so hot they’re white and laced with flames). If you’ve pounded the chops nice and thin (to approximately ¼-inch thick), the cooking time will be approximately 1½ minutes on the first side and 45 seconds to 1 minute once flipped. Grind pepper on top and serve with the garlic vinaigrette.”
Korean short ribs
Who says? Daniel Patterson, Coi and Alta, San Francisco, and co-founder of the charitable fast food mini chain, Locol, in California
Lazy fix: “My go-to grilling recipe for the summer is kalbi (short ribs), treated simply with an easy marinade. (Editor’s note: Make sure to have Asian ingredients on hand.) All you need to do is whisk together ¼ cup soy sauce, 2½ tablespoons red miso, ⅓ cup lemon juice, ⅓ cup honey, 1½ tablespoons red chile paste (gochujang) or sriracha, and 2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional). Then you let the short ribs sit in the marinade for about 30 minutes at room temperature before tossing them on the grill over high heat. Takes about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. I typically serve the kalbi in a big pile with a bunch of different vegetables from my local market or salads made from whatever produce and scraps I can find in my fridge.”
Grilled burrata pizza
Who says? Marc Forgione, chef/owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione, New York
Lazy fix: “Roll out store-bought pizza dough into rough circles or rectangles. Set the dough over a very hot fire for 30 seconds. Remove from the grill (use a pizza peel if you have one), dust with semolina flour, and grill the other side for 30 seconds. Flip the dough again, top with cut-up fresh tomatoes or a good-quality jarred sauce, burrata (or mozzarella), and your favorite herbs. Close the top and cook just until the dough is cooked through and a little bit charred.”
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