Grilling great meat and gorgeous veggies for goodness and taste

Updated: 2013-09-27 07:01

By Maggie Beale(HK Edition)

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Are you planning to watch a good movie at home or catch up on the days' happenings with family? Then a good selection of grilled vegetables and home-made burgers can be the ideal supper dish. Serve the vegetables and the burgers with French bread or burger buns or focaccia (Italian olive oil flat bread) and with ketchup, mustard and/or mayonnaise.

Prepare the grill pan with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and gently fry 1 tspn (teaspoon) each: dried thyme, dill, and chopped parsley for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside while you wash and dry the vegetables and prepare the burgers. Remove the herbs from the cooked oil, you want the flavor to permeate the oil but if you cook the herbs too long they can turn bitter. The reserved herbs can be sprinkled over the serving platter if desired.

Marinate the vegetables for hour before grilling in a mixture of 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped, sea salt and ground pepper to taste.

Burgers: for each medium sized patty, 1 per person, take 4 ozs (quarter of a pound, 125 gms) thin slices of beef with a little fat - a ratio of 85 percent meat to 15 percent fat gives tasty results. Using a heavy knife or a mechanical mincer chop into small pieces, or buy ready minced beef. I prefer to source the meat in slices so that I can choose the ratio of meat to fat.

For 4 burgers: mix the following with the chopped meat; tspn Worcestershire sauce, tspn made mustard, 1 heaped tspn very finely chopped spring onions, tspn finely chopped garlic, tspn finely ground dried rosemary, a pinch of grated nutmeg, salt and white pepper to taste, stir well together before adding 1 beaten medium-sized egg. Mix well using two large forks and slowly add 2 Tbsp plain flour and 1 Tbsp quick oats. Separate into patties and dust with plain flour to keep the patties from sticking to each other. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, while you fix the vegetables. When you cook the patties, grill them for 3-6 minutes each side, you can test for doneness by easing open a slit at the fattest part of the patty - if it is still reddish then grill for a minutes or two more.

Corn cobs: pull back the husks but don't remove. Cut off the silk strands, rub the cobs with oil, salt and pepper. Fold the husks back down neatly and grill for 7 minutes turning frequently.

Bell Peppers: Remove stems, seeds and the pale ribs. Cut into segments from top to bottom and cut the curled ends to make grilling more efficient. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

White or yellow Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil and keep the slices to the outer edge of the pan so that they cook slowly, they will go darker as they cook, but don't let them go black as that will make them bitter.

Pumpkin: Remove skin and cut into cubes, grill brushed with oil until they color and soften. Prick with a fork to determine softness, keep checking as they turn very (too) soft very quickly. Remove to a platter.

If you like a spicy bite you can grill whole chili peppers too. Grill each side 2-3 minutes, reduce the heat, then cut off the stems and pull out the seeds using plastic gloves and protecting your eyes with eyeglasses or goggles, a chili seed in your eye is something you don't want to suffer - I speak from painful experience!

Avocado fries: peel and cut 1 avocado into 6-8 pieces lengthwise, dust with plain flour and fry in oil for 2-3 minutes until they start to brown.

Sweet little Thai asparagus: Soak in salted water for 5 minutes, shake and pat dry and fry in a heated grill pan with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Turn several times for a total of 3 minutes. Remove to a platter.

Brown button or meadow mushrooms: Rinse well and pat dry, cut off the stems to facilitate cooking and grill the lot in olive oil for 3-4 minutes for small sized mushrooms - up to 12 minutes for very big flats.

Tomatoes: Use small sweet Dutch tomatoes, wash and dry leaving the tops of the green stalks intact - that's where the lovely aromas lie but don't eat the stalks, grill without turning for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt just before serving.

Zucchini and cucumber: Slice into inch thickness, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Potatoes: There are many ways to grill potatoes. For best results use small potatoes - avoid any that are green, they're poisonous. Boil in salted water for 7 minutes before frying in oil for 5-8 minutes more. Or you can do a whole baked potato wrapped in aluminium foil and grilled for 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

Grilling great meat and gorgeous veggies for goodness and taste

(HK Edition 09/27/2013 page7)