In these days of social distancing and stay at home time, let’s not forget to take time to celebrate Father’s Day. And, what better way to do that than with some good food cooked on the grill. Send dad a special mail-order meat delivery if you are far away, drop off grilled items at his front door if you can’t get together, or commemorate the day with a cook-out outside on your deck. If you live together with your dad it makes it all the easier to honor the holiday.
The following shish kebab recipes are perfect items for a get together like this one. You can easily meet everyone’s tastes and also have them ready beforehand.
Of course – you can just cook a whole tenderloin on the grill with some grilled veggies on the side for dad on his day. Have fun and stay safe!!!
Helpful Hints for the Grill:
- Keep the grill surface as clean as possible.
- Have all your utensils ready to use. A metal spatula and tongs are especially helpful.
- I have a flat tray with ½ inch sides (called a jellyroll pan) that I save for the grill. You need one that fits flat on your grill top. You would be amazed at what you can cook on this tray and not have to use your oven on a hot night.
- You need to decide what will do well on a grill surface. For example: swordfish and salmon are dense enough to cook on grill bars but filet of sole is too tender to survive the rigors of the grill.
- You usually have to coat vegetables and low-fat items with oil before you place them on the grill. I use olive oil – it works well and adds flavor. If you are using a marinade -adding a little oil to the marinade will take the place of an oil coating.
- If you are using wooden skewers – soak them in water before using. You don’t want them to burn up in the grill.
Shish kebabs are a great item for the grill. Since they supply the meat and vegetables for a meal – all you need to provide is a simple salad and perhaps a loaf of good bread.
The kebab has all kinds of possibilities. Fish, vegetables, and meat are all candidates for this meal on a stick.
Preparing vegetables for kebabs:
There are certain vegetables you need to precook before you put them on the grill – especially if you are also grilling other fast cooking items on the skewer.
Onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc… all need to be precooked – Put a small amount of oil on the prepared vegetables and put them in a 400-degree oven or in a flat pan on the grill top for about 10 minutes. Let them cool and use them in the kebabs. You don’t need to cook them thoroughly – just enough to ensure they will be cooked when you are finished grilling everything else on the skewer.
Vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms need only to be cut into cubes and brushed with oil before putting them on the skewer raw.
Preparing meats for kebabs:
Meat or fish should be marinated when cooked in this manner – it helps add flavor and shorten the cooking time. It also tenderizes the fish or meat. Meats should marinate for at least 2 hours and usually not more than 12. Fish should marinate not more than 2 hours and not less than ½ hour.
I sometimes use Portobello mushrooms instead of meat on the skewer. They also need a marinade to prepare them. A simple marinade for these mushrooms is equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil with some chopped fresh garlic and basil. Marinate for about 1 hour. Just cut one of the big caps in quarters and slide on a skewer.
Meat Shish Kebabs
I like to use leg of lamb for these shish kebabs because it is tender when cooked medium-rare. If you use beef, make sure it is a tender cut from the loin or rib. Chicken tenders and pork tenderloin also work well in this recipe.
- 2 lbs cubed lean meat
- 1 medium-size eggplant or zucchini – peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1 zucchini – cut into large cubes
- 2 small onions – cut in 4 pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 dozen good size cherry tomatoes
- 2 lemons - juiced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup red wine
Mix the marinade ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Set aside.
Take as much of the fat off the meat as you can and cut into fairly large cubes. Place the cubes in the marinade. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Toss the ingredients at least once during this time.
Preparation for the Grill:
Take the meat out of the marinade set aside in a bowl.
Starting with a cube of meat, then zucchini or eggplant, then cherry tomato - alternate the ingredients until you have filled the skewers. Save some of the marinade juices to use just before cooking. You can prepare the shish kebab to this stage and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill. If possible take them out and bring to room temperature before putting them on the heat.
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Drizzle some of the marinade over the meat and vegetables and place the skewers right on the grill top. I use a pair of tongs to turn the skewers over at least once during the cooking process. You will want to keep an eye on the level of heat you are using – you want a slight char but you don’t want to burn the meat or the vegetables.
This works well with any meat. Remember – the meat is not going to cook for a long time – so use a tender cut. If you use different vegetables – remember some might need to be precooked.
I like swordfish, fresh tuna, monkfish or halibut for this dish. Shrimp also works well, but you have to use good size raw shrimp for the skewers. Filet of sole, tilapia, or more tender fish will not work.
- 1 ½ lbs dense fish cut into cubes and/or large shelled raw shrimp
- 2 small zucchini or eggplant cut into large cubes
- 1 sweet onion cut into chunks
- Juice of one lemon, one orange, and one lime
- ¼ cup parsley
- 3 scallions - finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup dry vermouth
Mix the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Place cubes of fish and/or shrimp in the marinade. A combination of the two is nice. You only have to let this marinate for about ½ hour. Turn the fish over once during this process.
I think that onion and zucchini work well in combination with fish. You can either precook the onion or not if you like it crunchy.
Follow the same directions for skewering and grilling as the kebabs above. Just remember – fish cooks quickly on the grill – so check it often.