Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Grilled cheese of a different nature

Grilled cheese is a classic American dish, when paired with some bread. But what about Grilled Cheese.

Jon Ashton, Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s celebrity “Chef of Staff,” recommends a menu of delicious and healthy grilling recipes that are sure to become your family’s favorites this summer.

“Grilling over an open flame in the great outdoors is one of my favorite things to do,” says British-born Ashton. (We all know the Brits refer to grilling inaccurately as "barbecuing," so he gets points for the correct terminology. “Grilling brings out the flavor of food like no other cooking method because of the direct contact with fire and, in the case of charcoal grilling, the added flavor of smoke, and it just doesn’t get better than that.

“But there are some trade-offs and things to consider when grilling, because it’s far different from cooking on a stove top,” he cautions.

Adjust cooking times. Foods cook more quickly on a grill, and can dry out more quickly, too, so be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly.

Second, when grilling outdoors, be prepared before you put the food on the grill. Remember, you aren’t in your kitchen, and items you need may not be at hand in the backyard. Make sure you have all your spices, seasonings and cooking utensils ready and within easy reach. You don’t want to have to run to the kitchen and return to burned food.

“A little preparation on the front end goes a long way in creating a fabulous grilled meal,” Ashton says. “So take your time, do your prep work, watch the grilling temperature and flame height, and you’ll end up with a smashing good meal every time you grill.”

Now, that last part sounded British. Cherrio!

Cheddar-Bacon Burgers with Chipotle Aioli
Makes 4 servings

1 pound ground beef (round or chuck)
1 cup grated Cabot Extra Sharp or Sharp Cheddar (4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 strips bacon
4 split buns

Prepare hot fire in charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to high.
In large bowl, combine beef and cheddar; scatter salt and pepper over top. Gently work mixture together until well combined. Shape into 4 equal patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Wrap each patty with two side-by-side strips bacon.
Place on grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness.
Toast buns toward end of grilling time. Serve burgers topped with Chipotle Aioli.

Chipotle Aioli
Makes 2/3 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or chipotle hot sauce

In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Orange-Mint Dressing
Makes 4 servings

1 1/4 pounds large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 (10-inch) metal or bamboo skewers
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups mesclun mix, baby arugula, torn frisee (French curly endive) or other greens
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and diced
1 cup garlic-flavored croutons
1 cup grated Cabot Monterey Jack or Mild Cheddar

Prepare hot fire in charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to high.
In medium bowl, toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon oil. Thread shrimp on skewers. Place directly over heat and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat; slide shrimp off skewers onto plate.
In small bowl, whisk together orange juice and zest, vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, honey, mint, salt and pepper.
Divide greens among 4 plates. Top with tomatoes, croutons and shrimp. Drizzle each with one fourth of dressing. Top with cheese.