When the weather gets warmer, all we want to do it grill and chill. Memorial Day Weekend serves as the unofficial start of summer, so there's no better time than now.
We asked our Chief Culinary Ambassador, Mario Batali, to share some of his favorite BBQ recipes. Fire up the grill, we're ready to eat!
Charred Sweet Corn Fregula
The Babbo Cookbook (Clarkson Potter 2002)
1 1/2 cups fregula pasta
2 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup brown chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Serves 4 as a side dish
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Set up a small ice bath nearby. Cook the fregula in the boiling water until somewhat tender but not cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the fregula, refresh it in the ice bath, and spread it on a tray lined with paper towels to dry
Preheat the grill.
Brush the ears of corn with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill, turning every 2 minutes until all sides are nicely charred and the kernels are just beginning to burst. Remove the corn from the grill with tongs and, when the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.
Combine the blanched fregula, sweet corn, and the chicken stock in a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan and cook over high heat until the stock boils and is mostly absorbed into the grain, about 5 minutes. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper and toss over high heat for 1 minute more.
Fava Bean Guacamole
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 pounds fava beans, shelled
6 scallions, minced
1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, cut into 1/8-inch dice
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt, such as Maldon
Tortilla chips or crudité, for serving
Bring 6 quarts water to a boil and add the kosher salt. Set up an ice bath with 4 quarts cold water and 2 cups of ice.
Boil the favas until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and shock them in the ice bath. Drain again and gently pinch the ends with a finger and thumb to break the skin and push out the bean. Place the skinned favas and all the remaining ingredients into a molcajete or a mortar and pestle (or just a nice bowl) and mash until just a little chunky. Season with coarse salt and serve immediately with tortilla chips and/or crudité.
Grilled Margherita Pizza
For the dough (skip this if you bought the dough)
1 packet dry active yeast’1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 3/4 cups unbleached flour, plus 1Ž2 cup to work with
2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons to work with
For the topping
1/4 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 pound ham, sliced thin and pulled into pieces
teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese (Optional)
Makes two 10-inch pizzas
To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the yeast, honey, and water and stir until well mixed.
Add the flour, salt, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil and stir until well mixed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured cutting board or other clean work surface and knead until firm, 4 to 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, which should be about the size of a softball.
Coat the sides of a large, clean mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place , shielded from direct sunlight, until the dough doubles in size. ( This can happen quickly if it’s hot out, so keep an eye on it.)
Punch the dough down with your fist so it deflates and divide it in half. Roll each half into a ball and place on a 11-vy-17-inch greased baking sheet. Brush each dough ball with a little oil and cover carefully with plastic wrap. Keep cold in a refrigerator or ice-filled cooler overnight.
When you are ready to make you pizzas, prepare enough coals for a medium-hot fire or set a gas grill to medium-high. Arrange the coals so one side of the grill is hot and one side medium-hot, or, if using a gas grill, preheat one side hot an the other medium.
Line up the topping ingredients so you can easily get to them once you’re grill.
Dust the work surface with a little flour and place ont of the dough balls in the center. Press with your fingertips to create a thin, roughly 10-inch round flat crust. (If it is not perfectly round, do not worry. Also, this is not pizza dough that you can throw like in the movies.)
Carefully pick up the dough and place on the hot side of the grill and let it cook for 1 minute without touching it. If you move it before it sets, the results will be disastrous!
Using tongs, carefully loosen the dough from the grill and slide it to the warm side. Continue cooking until golden brown on the bottom and the top is just set and dryish looking, about 2 minutes more. Carefully flip the crust with tongs and put the uncooked side on the hot side and cook 1 minute more.
Again carefully slide the dough to warm side of the grill and immediately place half of the grated mozzarella on it.. Spoon dollops of tomato sauce over and around the cheese, reserving half of the tomato sauce. Do not worry about trying to cover the whole surface of the pizza.
Sprinkle the ham and oregano and grated cheese , if using, over the sauce.
Cover the grill and cook 2-3 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Carefully remove the cooked pizza to a plate or board, cut into wedges, and serve (or, cover and keep warm while making the second pizza).
Repeat with remaining ball of dough and ingredients to make the second pizza.
Shrimp Rosemary Spiedini Alla Romagnola
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only (about 2 cups loosely packed)
1 bunch basil, leaves only (about 2 cups packed)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt [need to check this amount again]
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1Ž4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds large shrimp (21–30 per pound), peeled and deveined
12 large rosemary sprigs, prepared as skewers (see sidebar) and soaked in water for at least 2 hours, or overnight
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Toss the parsley and basil leaves into a food processor, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and 1Ž4 cup of the olive oil, and zap until the herbs are chopped and the bread crumbs look green. Transfer to a pie plate or wide shallow bowl, add the shrimp, and toss to coat well.
Skewer 4 or 5 shrimp on each rosemary sprig (the easiest way to do this is line up 4 or 5 shrimp—“spoon fashion”—at a time on a work surface and run a skewer through them; then separate them slightly so they will cook evenly). Dredge on both sides in the bread crumb mixure, place on a platter, and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Put a piastra (see page 000) on the grill to preheat.
Spritz or brush the piastra with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the skewers on the piastra and cook, turning once, just until the shrimp are opaque throughout and some of the crumbs are browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the lemon wedges.
Warm Potato Salad
3 pounds tiny new potatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup plus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons capers
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh marjoram
Bring a salted pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and let the potatoes cool. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in half. Place them in a large bowl and while the spuds are still warm, add the red wine vinegar and toss gently to coat—the vinegar will all soak into the potatoes.
In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat and fry each egg, leaving the yolk soft-set and runny. Remove from the heat when cooked and thinly slice.
In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, capers, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, then add the marjoram and the sliced eggs. Toss everything to coat, and serve warm.
If you need to make this in advance, do it all in the morning, then reheat in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes right before serving. Do not put this in the fridge if you do not have to; a chill will make the potatoes starchy.
Serves 6 to 8
All recipes posted with permission from Mario Batali.