It’s National BBQ Month, which means it’s time to break out of the kitchen and step out into the great outdoors. We’re not sure about you, but we love grilling up everything that summer produce has to offer. To celebrate BBQ Month, we’re sharing some of our favorite grilling recipes – featuring Garden State produce – from some of our favorite NJ chefs and cookbook authors.
From sweet tomatoes and corn to burgers and even a condiment that will turn any dish into a star, these chefs, cooks and authors know a thing or two about how to turn up the heat! For those who want to dive straight in and get grilling, here’s a quick guide to the recipes and cookbooks featured below.
Table of Contents
- Charred Jersey Tomato Salad – The Jersey Shore Cookbook
- Appalachian Chimichurri – Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook
- Minty Lamb Burgers – Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook
The Jersey Shore Cookbook
by Deborah Smith
Founder of JerseyBites.com, Smith knows a thing or two about cooking. But she knows even more about where to find the best food across the state. This cookbook is a testament to the delicious food that is being served up and down the Jersey coastline. Restaurants from Asbury Park to Wildwood contributed 50 of some of their most prized recipes to include in this ode to Jersey dishes, from breakfast to dessert.
Flipping through the pages, you’ll drool over culinary creations like Creamy Crab Soup from Marie’s Seafood in Sea Isle City or Seared Scallops with Red Pepper Coulis from the Lobster House in Cape May. Yes, there are plenty of seafood dishes to choose from, but it wouldn’t be a book about New Jersey dishes without having at least one pork roll recipe from The Committed Pig in Manasquan. Smith shared one of her grilling favorites with Best of NJ, that includes some farmer’s market highlights (Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes).
Charred Jersey Tomato Salad from Iron Room Restaurant, Atlantic City
(Excerpted from The Jersey Shore Cookbook and reprinted with permission from Quirk Books. Credit: Kevin W. Cronin.)
3 ears Jersey sweet corn
1 bunch Jersey asparagus
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 to 6 large Jersey beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint good-quality Greek yogurt
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
½ bunch oregano, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Method: With a sharp knife, cut corn kernels off cobs. Chop off the top third of each asparagus stalk; you want only the tips. Reserve remaining asparagus for another use. In a medium saucepan over medium to high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté corn and asparagus for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly cooked but still crisp. Do not overcook. Let cool. (This can be done an hour or so before serving.)
Preheat an outdoor grill. Toss tomatoes with salt, pepper and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive oil (just enough to coat them). Place tomatoes on the hottest part of the grill and heat until one side is charred. Immediately toss tomatoes with corn mixture. In a mixing bowl, stir together yogurt, scallions, oregano, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve this salad family-style, with the yogurt sauce alongside, so that guests can dress their salads. Or plate individual portions, with a dollop of yogurt sauce on each.
Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook
by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino
Husband and wife team, Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino, turned their passion for cooking, fresh ingredients and inspiring photography into a cookbook that is completely dedicated to the unsung hero of our kitchen – the humble onion. In their first cookbook collaboration, what started as an obsession with a simple grilled onion taco turned into a full-on love affair with a food group that is oftentimes neglected, even though it supplies the fundamental foundation of flavor for countless dishes.
Winslow and Ambrosino, residents of Lambertville, share over 150 recipes from culinary traditions across the world in their cookbook, delving deeper into topics like “what makes a leek a leek” and “what’s the big deal about ramps?” In preparation for grilling season, their Appalachian Chimichurri is the perfect accompaniment to Grilled Steak or really anything that comes off the grill. With it’s combination of fresh herbs and tangy acids, it cuts through richness, helping to make any dish a summer staple.
(Excerpted from Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook)
Yields about 1 cup
1 small bunch ramps (about 3 ounces), finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Method: Combine the ramps, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Stir everything together and taste; adjust the seasonings as needed. The chimichurri can be made up to 2 hours ahead.
Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen
by Melina Hammer
Engage your kids this summer with a little help from Licking the Plate‘s Melina Hammer, who has created a cookbook that is one part cooking school and one part cookbook. Offering countless recipes that will have your kids not only in the kitchen cooking with you (dare we hope they will one day soon be cooking for you), but also gobbling up what they worked so hard to create.
Even though this recipe involves grilling, your kids can get a jump start on the condiments, preparing a minty fresh sauce that is ideal for a hot summer day. Remember, showing your kids safety in the kitchen is one step towards them becoming better-prepared mini chefs. (For those that don’t have kids, there are plenty of recipes in this cookbook that are just as enticing for newbie adult cooks).
Minty Lamb Burgers
(Excerpted from Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook)
1 ½ lbs ground lamb
1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane
3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan and ground in a mortar and pestle
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil, for brushing
brioche, flatbread, or ciabatta rolls, for serving
easy tzatziki, to serve
lettuce leaves or quick pickled onions, to garnish
Method: Make the patties: In a medium bowl, gently mix together the ground lamb with the garlic, mint, parsley, cumin, and a pinch each of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Divide the meat into 4 patties of equal size and thickness – about ½ inch thick – and transfer them to a plate. Press a small dimple in the center of each patty with your first two fingers to offset how it shrinks as it cooks. Lightly brush the burgers with olive oil and season again with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Know as you go: Handle the ground lamb lightly, rather than packing a patty firm. You want the patty to hold together but not be too dense, as you’ll end up with a tougher – not tender – burger.
Cook the burgers: Heat a grill (or stovetop grill pan) over high heat. When it is hot, brush the grate lightly with olive oil. Grill the patties over medium heat for 7-8 minutes for medium rare or 8-10 minutes for medium, turning halfway through. Transfer burgers to a plate to rest while you grill the bread.
Grill bread: Slice bread or buns in half horizontally, brush lightly with olive oil, and place cut sides onto grill. Grill long enough to allow bread to char in spots, 3-5 minutes.
Serve: Transfer grilled buns to a serving dish. Place burgers onto grilled bread and top with tzatziki and pickled onions, lettuce, or any additional toppings, and dig in.
Looking to step up your kitchen game? Click Here to see Best of NJ’s Top Recipes & Kitchen Tips!