Summer barbecue that’s more than burgers and dogs

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Just like at kids birthday parties that serve pizzas, everyone thinks that throwing some burgers and dogs on the BBQ is the way to go. Well, not this summer. I spoke about a few of my favourites to barbecue in this video, and also wanted to follow up with some recipes that you can try out on your crowd this summer.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom

A great portobello is a meaty option for both meat eaters and vegetarians. They are substantial enough to be put between two buns or to eat as an accompaniment.

4 portobello mushrooms
¼ cup olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean portobello mushrooms with a brush or a dry piece of paper towel and cut off the stem close to the base.

With the stem side up, evenly drizzle the oil, garlic and herb mixture around the inside of the mushroom.

Grill on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes.

Grilled Vegetables

Think asparagus, peppers, corn, zucchini, eggplant and any other vegetable that you love. As long as you slice, dice, toss and season with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, you’ve got a delicious side to tempt everyone to jump in and eat some plants! Use a grilling tray if you have one, or tin foil that’s oiled in advance. Some veggies can be cooked on the upper grill when you turn them frequently.

Coconut Curry Mussels

I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s a real crowd-pleaser. Even those who don’t usually enjoy mussels come back for more. I’ve also made these on the stove top, so they can be made any time of year, but coming off the barbecue enhances the wow factor!
Serves 4.

1 can (14 oz) coconut milk, regular
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lime juice (about one lime)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) runny honey
2 teaspoons  (10 mL) fish sauce
2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut or peanut oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon (15 mL) garlic. minced
2 lb (900 g) live mussels, scrubbed and beards removed (discard any that won’t close when tapped)
1/4 cup (50 mL) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the grill to medium temperature.

In a medium bowl, add the coconut milk, curry paste, lime juice, honey and fish sauce and stir well.

In a large disposable foil pan or roasting pan, combine the oil, ginger, and garlic. Place the pan over direct medium heat, close the grill lid, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk mixture to the pan and gently stir to combine. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes to bring the sauce to a boil.

Add the cleaned mussels to the sauce. Cover the pan with tightly sealed foil, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove foil and stir gently to see if all the mussels are open. If not, continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the foil from the foil pan and gently stir, checking that all the mussels have opened. Slowly take the pan off the grill and spoon mussels and sauce into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the whole dish. Serve with LOTS of crusty bread.

Still, the burger is a barbecue staple. So much so that I’m doing a challenge to find The BEST Burger with Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010. We want to know your favourite burger (meat or plant-based), that you grace your grill with and serve to friends and family. This isn’t a recipe challenge, but a butcher-made or store-bought burger that’s available for us and you, to buy and try out. We have a list going already and will taste test the burgers that you suggest with specific ranking and scoring. We will share the results on air on Friday, June 15th, just in time for Father’s Day. Listen to our chat about the challenge here.

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