By Lori Powell
I love to barbecue. Over the past 20 years I have pretty much grilled about anything, from whole turkeys to pizza and desserts.
The grills that I alternate between are two different-sized kettle grills and an oversized gas grill with rotisserie. It is a way to cook without too much fuss, time and cleanup. If you have a large gas grill, just heat one side when you’re not cooking for a crowd.
So put on your bug spray and enjoy some super-easy side dishes for one or two people.
Grilled Garlic Ciabatta Bread
Using ciabatta rolls ensures that you will only cook what you need. They are a great bread for capturing the lovely butter, olive oil and garlic in its cratery interior. Great topped with grilled shrimp or to serve alongside pasta.
Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves. Halve 1 ciabatta roll and brush the cut sides with half of the butter mixture. Grill cut sides down over moderately high heat, until golden brown on undersides, about 2 minutes. Brush tops with remaining butter mixture, turn over and grill second side until crisp and golden brown, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a cutting board, cut sides up, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Cut crosswise into pieces before serving.
Serves 1 to 2.
Grilled Cluster of Wild Mushrooms
It is easier today to find whole clusters of mushrooms, such as Hen-of-the-Woods or the more common Oyster mushrooms, at your supermarket, as well as at your local farmers’ markets. Grilling them after tossing in oil results in a crispy, almost fried exterior with a deliciously moist, tender inside. You only have to make these once to start craving them again and again. Enjoy with grilled steak, chicken and corn on the cob.
Check mushrooms to make sure that they are clean, turning them over and brushing them to get rid of any dirt or anything else that might be clinging on. Do not rinse under water or mushrooms will become water-logged.
Toss 1 large cluster of mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Grill over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and cut into quarters.
Serves 1 to 2.
Grilled Fingerling Potatoes in Foil
Fingerling potatoes are another great ingredient that can now be found in your local supermarket at this time of the year. If you can’t find them, very small new potatoes will work just as well. The foil packet steams the inside of the potatoes and browns the outside. It prevents everything from slipping through the grill rack and infuses the potatoes with the flavor of the herbs. Serve with grilled fish or hamburgers.
Tear a large sheet of heavy-duty foil and arrange on it about ¾ pound of fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise. Drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, 1 rosemary sprig and a couple of basil sprigs. Toss to coat potatoes and make a packet with the foil to enclose potatoes, sealing seams so steam will not escape; keep potatoes in one layer.
Place on a moderate grill and cook, turning a couple of times until potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Wear oven mitts while peeking inside package, being careful of steam when opening the foil.
Serves 1 to 2.
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