|Time to hit the grill
Meat, fruit, bread, veggies — chefs explain how to give everything an outdoor taste
By Susan Manley firstname.lastname@example.org
Local chefs do up the ante when it comes to grilling at home (you won’t find an Oscar Mayer wiener unless it is for the children’s table), but across the board they all keep it simple.
George Bezanson, owner of Bridge Café in Manchester, favors teriyaki marinated yellow fin tuna and halved lobster on the grill. He serves it with a pureed, grilled pineapple and tomato sauce over cous cous.
“I sear the tuna and quickly cook the lobster. The pineapple and tomato make an amazing barbecue sauce, something completely out of the ordinary,” Bezanson said.
“The key to cooking seafood on the grill is this: make sure the grill is clean and hot so the fish doesn’t stick,” Bezanson said.
Vegetables are on Michael Dussualt’s grill this summer. Dussualt, the chef at Manhattan on Pearl in Nashua, cooks up zucchini, summer squash and eggplant and serves the warm, earthy slices with a feta spinach sauce that is also on the menu at Manhattan on Pearl. The sauce can be served warm, as a dip, or cold, spooned over a platter of grilled vegetables, melting from the heat.
“I like to let the grill do all the work, so I keep it plain and simple,” Dussualt said. Simple for him means salt, pepper, garlic and a skim of olive oil on vegetables sliced into discs before grilling.
“Vegetables have a great carmelization going on with the heat; it doesn’t take much to get a great result,” Dussault said.
Ribs are the thing that rock Hale Cole-Tucker’s grill. Cole-Tucker is the chef at Depot Square Steakhouse in Derry, and at home he follows the same method he uses at the restaurant. Cole-Tucker poaches the ribs for three hours and then tosses them on the grill.
“I love to grill at home and ribs are my favorite,” he said.
“This is the only way to get that fall-off-the bone effect,” Cole-Tucker said. He serves his ribs with a simple cucumber coleslaw made of diced cucumbers, red onion, sour cream and salt and pepper.
One would think that the owner of a place called Chicken N’ Chips would be big on chicken on the grill. Not the case. Owner Ken Ngoon stays away from cooking chicken when he is not working and instead cooks either thick, juicy steaks or lobster, crabs or jumbo shrimp.
“If I am cooking chicken, I do a Chinese style, marinated in ginger, garlic, soy and rice wine. I like it because you get a little buzz,” Ngoon said. “But rice on the grill, it doesn’t work so good.”
All joking aside, for his family Ngoon likes to cook the entire meal on the grill. Side dishes can include corn on the cob, left in husks that have been soaked in water and wrapped in foil or grilled, sliced potatoes that have been simply seasoned.
“With grilling, timing is everything,” Ngoon said. “There is nothing that you can’t cook on the grill.”
Constantine Brianas, one of the owners of the Black Orchid Grille in Nashua, takes the simple route, but with exotic ingredients.
When grilling at home, if it is not a juicy plank steak, then he opts for wild black cod or Chilean sea bass.
Brianas serves the cod or sea bass with a skewer of teriyaki marinated jumbo scallops and shrimp.
“The entire meal is fabulous, and so quick,” he said.
Brianas said that the key to cooking seafood on the grill is preparation.
KC’s Rib Shack in Manchester has an alpha male approach to barbecue as propagated by owner Kevin Cornish. It is easy to picture Cornish slapping a huge rib eye proudly on the grill and standing back to admire his work. Not so.
Cornish just spent three nights camping on the Kancamangus Highway and did all the cooking on raw hardwood and coals. Maybe there was the occasional rib eye reminiscent of the Flintstones, but mostly Cornish cooked up fruits and vegetables.
“Lots of people just cook the meat of a meal on the grill. I am cooking 360 degrees of the meal — all of it,” he said.
“My philosophy has basically been just throw it on the grill and see what happens,” he said.
While camping, Cornish sliced up asparagus, green beans, zucchini, summer squash and other vegetables and tossed them in a zip-lock bag with a secret marinade. The vegetables were tossed about in the bag for a couple of hours and then finally thrown on the grill.
“We all just sat around the camp gushing about the vegetables. Wow, they were delicious,” Corning said.