Every grilling season presents a new opportunity to add recipes and tricks to your routine. This year, kick up your cooking skills with advice from the ultimate grill master, Chef Michael Symon, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” and author of three best-selling cookbooks and owner of several restaurants.
“With the right techniques and ingredients, any home chef can grill foods that are seasoned to perfection and overflowing with melt-in-your-mouth goodness,” says Chef Symon. “With some simple techniques, great meat or veggies, and my favorite topper — Castello cheese — every dish will burst with flavor.”
The following tips from Chef Symon will help you make the most of every grilling occasion:
• Judge proteins by their appearance. Red meat should appear red, not gray, with plenty of marbling; the fat melts to add flavor and create a wonderful mouth feel.
• Pay attention to temperature. Heat up your grill, with the lid down, for 20 to 30 minutes prior to grilling. This is a good time to take out your meat or poultry, which should be at room temperature before it is cooked. Begin grilling your protein on high heat to give it some char and then finish on low heat so it’s juicy and doesn’t burn. After grilling, let your protein rest to ensure it retains these flavorful juices.
• Don’t over-season. Season simply to showcase the meat or veggies: kosher salt, ground black pepper, plus a drizzle of olive oil to help it sear.
• Resist the temptation to flip. Whether you’re cooking protein or veggies, you should only turn your food over once when grilling. Allow your food to develop a wonderful char on one side before moving or flipping it.
• Be adventurous with ingredients. Instead of a traditional cheeseburger, make Chef Symon’s bison burger using Castello Burger Blue cheese, which comes pre-sliced and ready for grilling. Shape ground bison meat into patties, grill three minutes on one side, then flip and top with sliced red onion and Burger Blue.
• Cut protein against the grain. The grain represents the direction of muscle fibers. Cutting slim strips, against the grain, shortens muscle fibers and makes the protein more tender and enjoyable.
• Use vegetables for flavor and texture. Vegetarians and meat lovers alike appreciate properly grilled vegetables, which add a healthy touch and contrasting textures to your grilling menus. Chef Symon’s grilled eggplant is topped with melted Castello Burger Blue cheese, as well as an arugula salad with vinaigrette, capers, red onion and toasted sliced almonds.
For full recipes from Chef Symon, and more creatively crafted cooking ideas, visit castellocheeseusa.com. : :
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Ingredients for four servings.
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T olive oil
1 lbs. ground Bison, loosely packed in to burger patties
4 oz. Castello burger blue cheese
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced into rings
1 cup arugula
4 brioche style soft hamburger buns, toasted
Preparation: Heat your grill to medium high heat. Season the burgers with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides, drizzle with olive oil then place them on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes then flip. Add the blue cheese, about 1 oz. per burger, and let cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the burgers from the grill on to the toasted buns. Top with a slice of red onion and ¼ of the arugula. Serve.
Ingredients for 4 servings
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant, cut in to ½ inch thick pieces
4 slices Castello Burger Blue cheese
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 cups arugula
½ cup sliced red onion, shaved paper thin
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
Preparation: Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lay out the eggplant slices and drizzle them with olive oil on both sides. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides, then place on the grill. Grill for about 4 minutes with the lid down, turning halfway though, until the eggplant is nicely charred and softened.
Top each slice of eggplant with ½ slice of Burger Blue cheese. Cover and continue to cook for another minute, until the cheese has melted. Remove to a plate or platter to rest while you make a salad with the arugula. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar and mustard with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper, then add the arugula, red onion, capers and almonds. Gently toss to combine everything, then serve alongside or on top of the eggplant. Serve immediately.