As fall fast approaches, we continue to enjoy time outdoors, and simpler, grilled meals are the order of the day. My family recently enjoyed a meal that was cooked 100 percent on the grill — even dessert — which meant minimal cleanup and no hot, steamy kitchen.
The sun-dried tomato vinaigrette sauce on the halibut delivered a lot of “bang for the buck” — it was simple, robust, flavorful and beautiful in color. And speaking of bucks, halibut is quite costly — it was definitely a splurge item.
Any substantial, steaky fish can be easily substituted, and you can foil grill a more delicate white fish if that is preferred.
Sometimes the starch is a challenge to grill; potatoes take ages and other go-to carbs like pasta, rice and quinoa require a stove. So bread was a simple, crowd-pleasing option, and grilling it gave the meal some added interest.
Dessert was a throwback to my son’s sleep-away camp of days gone by; they called them “banana boats,” but we called them simple and delicious. And if you want to gussy them up with marshmallows, graham crackers or vanilla ice cream, your guests will be all the happier.
Grilled Halibut with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Halibut has a wonderful texture and holds up well on the grill. But it if is not to your taste or budget, you can substitute tuna or salmon, or even a milder, delicate white fish like flounder, cod or haddock. In that case, you will need to foil grill.
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes with oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Place all the ingredients in a blender or mini Cuisinart and give them a whirl. I went for a chunky, coarse consistency, so I was quick with my trigger finger, giving the mixture a brief whiz. But you can certainly opt for a puree if a smoother texture is preferred.
4 halibut steaks, about 1-inch thick
Juice of 1 lemon
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Place the steaks in a shallow dish and spritz with lemon, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Lay the fish on a hot grill, sear for about a minute, and then move to an area of the grill that is less hot; cook for about 3 minutes.
Flip the fish and repeat the second step. The fish is done when it flakes easily and is opaque all the way through.
Remove the fish from the heat and cover it with the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette sauce. Serve immediately.
I had a half loaf of semolina bread left from a pasta dinner the previous night. This was the ideal way to re-purpose it. We smeared it with surplus sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, but it was lovely on its own, too.
Thick slices of hearty bread — Italian, baguette, whole grain, ciabatta, etc.
Olive oil for brushing
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
Brush the bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Place the slices on a hot grill and toast for about two minutes. Flip, allowing the second side to toast.
Remove from the heat and serve solo or with the spread of your choice.
Grilled Banana Boats
4 ripe bananas
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Place each banana on a piece of heavy-duty foil and slice a “valley” down the middle of the banana lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through.
Place chocolate chips in the valley and close the foil packet.
Grill on a medium flame for about 6 minutes until the chips are melted and the banana is slightly caramelized. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serves 4. JN
Keri White is a food columnist for The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, a Jewish News-affiliated newspaper.