Last week, I saw a gorgeous lamb steak in the butcher case at our fancy-schmance grocery store – and yesterday, I found an article in an old issue of Living magazine with instructions on how to properly grill various vegetables. Hooray! That means we get a Greek Grill-Out for dinner, and you get easy, delicious, dino-chow recipes. Don’t you love when it all works out?!
Grilled Lamb Souvlaki
1-2 lbs. lean lamb (I used steak; you can also use cubes from leg or shoulder.)
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5-7 bay leaves
1. Marinate the lamb: Mix together the oil, lemon juice, thyme, and garlic. Add lamb and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
2. Preheat your grill on high until very hot, about 10-15 minutes.
3. If using steak, sprinkle both sides of the lamb steak with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and top with the bay leaves. Grill approximately three minutes per side, until well-browned and cooked to desired doneness. (When you flip, remove the bay leaves, set aside, and add back to top of steak after you flip.) If using cubes, thread the cubes onto skewers, alternating with the bay leaves. Grill 5-7 minutes, until browned on all sides.
Here’s the steak with the bay leaves on top, ready for the grill to work its magic:
And the end result:
I have a pretty terrible track record for grilling vegetables. Y’all know my preferred cooking method: crank up the heat and let it burn! But veggies are tender creatures and require different treatment on the grill to emerge with a carmelized outside and tender inside. Read below for handy tips for some of the best dino-chow veggies. (Good heavens to Betsy Ross! Eggplant is super fussy, but man! when I followed the instructions, it was really delicious.)
*See my note below for details on how I managed grill temperatures and timing to cook the lamb and a bunch of different veggies for our dinner.
asparagus: place 6 or 7 spears side by side, and thread a skewer through the upper third of the spears; repeat at the bottom. (It makes a sort of asparagus raft.) Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until marked and just tender, about 9 minutes.
eggplant: halve eggplant lengthwise, then cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch wedges. Brush cut sides with olive oil. Grill one cut side down over medium-high heat until golden and marked in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cooler part of the grill (medium heat) and grill the other cut side, about 5-6 minutes. THEN, grill skin side down until soft, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and eat.
yellow squash and zucchini: cut squash lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Brush with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat, until marked and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
tomatoes: halve tomatoes lengthwise and brush cut sides with olive oil. Place a thin slice of garlic on each cut side. Grill tomatoes, cut side up, over medium-high heat, without flipping, for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
red and yellow onions: cut onions into 1/2-inch thick slices and thread on a skewer horizontally. Brush with olive olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over low heat, with grill cover down until marked and soft, about 15 minutes. Flip and grill ’til cooked through, about 15-18 minutes.
mixed veggie kebabs (zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, etc): Thread the pieces onto skewers and brush with olive oil. Grill over medium heat, turning every few minutes, for 12-15 minutes.
Eggplant, yellow squash, and tomatoes, halfway through the grilling process (Much to Dave’s chagrin, those are neither pats of butter nor slabs of cheese on the tomatoes; they’re garlic cloves.):
*How I Did It
1. I marinated the meat for the specified time, then when I was ready to start grilling, removed the lamb from the marinade, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and let it rest at room temperature while I started the vegetables.
2. I heated the grill to medium-high and grilled the eggplant, squash, and tomatoes, keeping an eye on the clock and removing vegetables to a platter and covering them with foil as they finished cooking.
Note: I was very aggressive with the sea salt after the vegetables were grilled; they need it. (Also, I gotta say: I was a little disappointed by how the veggies looked when they were done. Not very exciting. But they tasted great! The eggplant was smokey on the outside and creamy in the middle; the squash was tender but not mushy.)
3. When all of the veggies were finished, I jacked up the heat on the grill for the lamb. When it was finished, I covered the lamb in foil to let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Then I put everything on a platter, and we dug in!
[P.S. The corn on the cob belongs to my caveman.]
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