Put it all on the grill, from appetizer to dessert


To a dad, a grill is as essential as a car. Indeed, a grill is the vehicle to barbecue bliss. If the dad in your life already has a good grill, be it charcoal or gas, maybe he could use some spiffy new tools this Father’s Day, such as tongs, basting brushes or some mesquite or kiawe wood chips.

Jamie Purviance, chef and writer of cookbooks for Weber Grills, was profiled in Bon Appetit magazine’s “Who’s Who in American Barbecue.” A few years ago, I attended a seminar by this grilling guru. Some helpful grill tips I learned:

Don’t oil the grill; oil the food.

Use two sets of tongs: one for raw food, one for cooked food.

Meat should be at room temperature before putting it on the grill.

The “70-30” Rule: Seventy percent of the cooking time for meat should be on the presentation side and 30 percent on the other side. This eliminates sticking to the grill.

As far as charcoal is concerned, “high heat” means two or three layers of coals; “medium heat” is one layer of coals; “low heat” means just a few coals plus an area with no coals. Using indirect heat instead of direct heat can make a big difference, too.

For Father’s Day, here are a few recipes from the Weber cookbooks — everything from appetizer to dessert, all on the grill — to get Dad started on the road to barbecue bliss.

Sweet and spicy grilled nuts

Beer and barbecue just go together. These munchies taste good with a mild English ale. Use indirect charcoal heat or indirect, low gas heat. Recipe from “Weber’s Big Book of Grilling,” makes 20 servings.

For the sweet nut crunch:

1 cup raw unshelled pumpkin seeds

1 cup whole almonds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Spread pumpkin seeds and almonds evenly in a 9-by-9-inch heavy gauge foil pan. Grill over indirect low heat, stirring occasionally, until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from grill. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Drizzle mixture over nuts and toss to coat evenly. Return pan to grill and cook over indirect low heat for 20 to 25 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from grill. Cool in pan for 1 hour. Break into bite-sized pieces. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container.

For the spicy nuts:

1 cup raw unshelled pumpkin seeds

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup roasted Spanish peanuts

2 teaspoons hot chili oil

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Spread pumpkin seeds and almonds evenly in a 9-by-13-inch foil pan. Grill over indirect low heat, stirring occasionally, until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from grill; add peanuts. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. Drizzle mixture over nuts; toss to coat evenly. Return pan to grill and grill over indirect low heat for 5 to 7 minutes more, stirring once or twice. Remove from grill; spoon nuts onto paper towels. Allow to cool. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container. Serve the nut mixtures in separate bowls.

Red snapper with pineapple-peach salsa and mango ‘guacamole’

A crisp, cold pilsner would perfectly pair with this dish. Makes 6 servings.

For the snapper:

2 red snapper fillets, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each, skin on

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

3 cloves garlic, minced

Rinse fish and pat dry. Combine orange juice, oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic in a resealable plastic bag. Add fish and seal bag; turn to coat fish. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. While fish is marinating, make salsa.

For the salsa:

1 fresh pineapple, sliced, cored and peeled

2 medium peaches, peeled, halved and pitted

1 small onion, diced

2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and diced

8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt

Sugar or lime juice, if needed

Place pineapple rings and peach halves in center of cooking grate; grill 5 to 7 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Remove from grill and allow to cool. Dice and place in a small bowl. Add onion, jalapeno and cilantro; mix well. Season with salt. Adjust tartness with sugar or lime juice. Let rest for 30 to 60 minutes before serving so flavors can blend.

For the mango “guacamole”:

3 ripe mangoes

1/2 small onion, very finely chopped

1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 ripe tomato, cored and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 sprigs parsley, chopped

Peel mangoes; cut fruit off each side and ends of pit. In a medium bowl, mash mango with a fork; combine with remaining ingredients until well mixed but still lumpy. Chill until ready to serve.

Remove fish from marinade; blot on paper towel. Lightly brush both sides of fish with oil. Place fish skin side down in center of cooking grate. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork, turning once halfway through grilling time. Remove from grill; serve with the salsa and “guacamole” plus a few warm flour tortillas.

Spicy grilled fries

The only think better than homemade french fries might be fries on the grill. Use direct charcoal or gas grilling. Makes 4 servings.

4 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-by-1/2-inch sticks. Combine potatoes, oil and lemon juice in a large resealable plastic bag; toss to coat. In small bowl, combine seasoned salt, cumin and pepper; set aside. Place potatoes in center of cooking grate. Grill 12 to 15 minutes or until tender, turning twice during grilling. Remove from grill; sprinkle with seasoning mix and toss lightly.

Grilled peaches with fresh cherry sauce

Peach halves, bananas, pineapple slices are all delicious right off the grill, especially served with ice cream. Be sure to burn off any residue on the grill from your dinner before grilling fruit. This recipe from “Weber’s Art of the Grill” is a twist on a classic Peach Melba; makes 4 servings.

For the sauce:

1 pound dark cherries, pitted (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kirsch

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, combine cherries, sugar, wine and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor; puree until completely smooth. Return mixture to the pan over medium-high heat. Add kirsch. Simmer until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 1 to 2 minutes.

Peaches:

4 medium peaches

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup vanilla ice cream

4 cookies

Cut peaches in half; remove and discard pits. Place halves in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt butter and brown sugar. Coat peaches with butter mixture. Grill peaches over direct medium heat until grill marks are clearly visible and peaches are soft, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. While peaches are still warm, layer each serving glass with 2 peach halves, 1 scoop ice cream, and 1 tablespoon cherry sauce. Tuck a cookie into each glass. Serve immediately.