Archive for April, 2013

Grilled Feta-Stuffed Figs - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

Figs are more than 55% sugar. On the grill, that sugar caramelizes and creates complex flavors that complement a fig’s natural floral aromas. We stuff the figs with a Greek mixture of feta cheese, honey, and oregano to heighten the flavors.

TIMING
Prep: 15 minutes (plus 5 minutes for glaze)
Grill: 5 to 8 minutes.

GRILL TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 6 skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes if bamboo)
– Long-handled tongs.

GETTING CREATIVE
– For a touch of anise flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon pure anise extract to the feta stuffing.

TIP
– To make these with dried figs, put the figs in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak until plump, 10 to 15 minutes. Proceed with the recipe. The figs will still be good, just not as good as fresh figs.

BUYING FIGS
Fresh figs are a fixture of Mediterranean culture. They come to American markets throughout the summer and fall. Among the hundreds of varieties, you’ll find fig colors ranging from minty green to sunny yellow to dark purple. Inside, the soft, sweet flesh is usually pink or purple. Look for plump, unblemished fruits that barely yield to gentle pressure. Some of the more popular varieties include Mission, Kadota, Smyrna (from Turkey), Calimyrna (from California), Brown Turkey, Celeste, and Magnolia. Any variety can be grilled.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-low (300°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium-light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, medium-light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 2 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 5 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
18 large, fresh figs, stems trimmed
3 ounces feta cheese (about ¾ cup crumbled), at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Oil for coating grill grate
3 tablespoons Orange Honey-Butter Glaze.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Cut a narrow pocket into the blossom (bottom) end of each fig. Stick your pinky finger into the pocket and use it to press indentations into both sides of the pocket, creating a small cavity in the center of each fig.
3. Purée the feta, honey, oregano, and olive oil in a small food processor. The mixture will be thick. Alternatively, mash the cheese vigorously with a fork, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
4. Using a small spoon and your fingertips, stuff about 1 teaspoon of the feta mixture into each fig cavity. Or pipe the mixture from a pastry bag into the fig cavities. Gently squeeze the blossom ends together to enclose the filling.
5. Skewer 3 figs crosswise on each skewer (the stem end should be perpendicular to the skewer).
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the fig skewers on the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked, turning once or twice, 5 to 8 minutes total.
7. Brush with the honey-butter glaze, if using.

Comments No Comments »

Unripe green plantains are starchy and firm. They’re often thinly sliced into strips and fried to make snacks somewhat like long potato chips. Fully ripe black plantains are altogether different-sweeter, softer, and a little closer to bananas than potatoes in texture. Grilling them caramelizes the sugars in the fruit. Be sure to use plantains with skins that are completely black all over.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes (plus 5 minutes for glaze)
Grill: 10 to 15 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula.

TIP
– To ripen green plantains, put them in a paper bag, close the bag, and let stand until black all over, at least overnight and probably longer.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
4 ripe black plantains, unpeeled
Oil for coating grill grate
½ cup Orange-Espresso Glaze, made without the salt.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Cut the plantains on the diagonal into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Cut off the ends from the end pieces.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the plantain pieces on the grill, cover, and cook, turning often, until the skins are blackened all over and the flesh feels very soft when pressed, 10 to 15 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.
4. Remove the plantain pieces to serving plates. Slit the tops of the skins and peel back to expose the flesh. Brush the hot flesh generously with the glaze and serve.

Comments No Comments »