What better way to usher in the good weather than with some stellar homemade dishes that are great for the grill? We asked four chefs to each give us a barbecue dish that’s a step above those tired frozen-burger patties—and had them recommend a thirst-quenching brew to accompany it.
Reza Parsia’s whole grilled sea bass
“The fish works great on the grill, but the trick is to make sure it doesn’t stick,” says the chef at Financial District Greek restaurant Estiatorio Volos. “The white flesh is nice and mild, the skin is crispy, and fish has a fresh, sweet taste to it.”
1 European sea bass (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 tsp each of minced garlic and ground fennel seeds
1 lemon wedge
1 sprig thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each capers and dried oregano
Heat the grill to medium-high, brush the fish on both sides with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.
Fill the cavity with minced garlic, thyme, and one lemon wedge.
Place the fish on the grill and cook for six minutes per side, until skin is charred and crispy, and flesh is opaque.
For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and oregano in a small bowl, season to taste. Drizzle the mixture over the cooked fish.
Goes great with: Alfa Beer, a light Greek lager.
Nicole Rumball’s Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
“This is a great way of getting a lot of different veggies,” says All the Best Fine Food’s executive chef about a dish that’s also prepared at the gourmet food shop. “If you want to add extra pizzazz, replace the skewers with firm, woody sprigs of rosemary.”
Ingredients (makes 12 skewers):
12 eight-inch wooden skewers
Approx. two pounds of fresh vegetables, including red, yellow, and green bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and red onion.
12 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp each dried oregano and dried basil
2 tbsp each of fresh chopped oregano and fresh chopped basil
Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Cut all vegetables into uniform one-inch chunks and toss together in a large bowl with oil, dried herbs, and salt and pepper.
Thread vegetables on skewers making alternating colourful layers and finishing each skewer with a cherry tomato.
Place vegetable skewers on the hot grill, cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar over medium heat until reduced to a syrupy glaze.
Season hot vegetable skewers lightly and brush with balsamic glaze.
Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve warm or at room temperature.
Protip: Slide the grilled vegetables off the skewers and toss with couscous, quinoa, or other favourite grain or pasta. Add a garnish of feta, chevre, or Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Goes great with: Blanche de Chambly, a nice summery wheat beer.
Ted Corrado’s Korean-style short ribs
“When people talk about barbecue season everyone thinks of burgers or steak, but this is one of the main things I rock at my place when having a barbecue,” says the Drake Hotel’s corporate executive chef. Boasting subtle Asian flavours, the dish is sharing friendly, something that’s reflective of the chef’s soon-to-be-unveiled new menu.
5 pounds Korean-style beef short ribs (Miami ribs)
1 cup each brown sugar and soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup mirin
1 green onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated (optional)
4 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
Sprinkle brown sugar over beef and mix well to evenly coat. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Transfer beef into a large sealable freezer bag. Add marinade, shake to coat, press out excess air from bags, seal.
Refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Make sure grill is really hot. Grill short ribs, turning once, to desired doneness, about 3–4 minutes per side. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions.
Goes great with: Stiegl Bier, a crisp and clean pilsner.
Hemant Bhagwani’s Curry Crunch Burger
“The Canadian palate is becoming much more adventurous,” says the Amaya founder, citing the main inspiration for his Indian-inflected chicken burger. “This seemed like a good opportunity to do a burger, but one that brought the cuisines of different ethnicities.”
Four soft hamburger soft buns, toasted
Handful of fresh arugula leaves
1 large red onion, sliced into rings
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
10–12 blue corn tortilla chips or 1 medium sized poppadom, broken into small pieces
Four small chicken breasts
2 tbsp each of vegetable oil, ginger/garlic paste, mild cayenne powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 cup plain yoghurt
Juice of one lemon
Cilantro mint yogurt raita
3/4 cup plain yogurt
4 jalapenos, cored, seeds, and minced
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp each sugar and salt
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the chicken, mix together all the ingredients, add the chicken and toss well. Set aside for at least 20 minutes. Grill over medium-high heat for 6–7 minutes per side, until done.
For the raita, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until fine. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate.
Serve chicken breast on buns, top with arugula, tomato, red onion, and crumbled tortilla chips/poppadums. Slather with raita, and store-bought mango chutney (optional).
Goes great with: Beau’s All Natural Beaver River I.P.Eh?