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Man and Fire (April 5, 2010)

We finally got a barbecue. We spent our rather cool and rainy last summer learning to grill all sorts of dishes. The results ranged from "wow, that's pretty good" to "utterly divine!"

With our new barbecue came the best book we've ever seen on the subject, Jamie Purviance's Weber's Way to Grill.

This is not a just a collection of recipes; Weber's Way to Grill is a complete grilling technique book, and perfect for Ron, who taught himself to cook from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Like Child, Purviance guides you through every step, leaving nothing to chance or guess; there are more than 1000 step-by-step photos and recipes ranging from how to grill artichokes to zucchini and obviously everything in between!

As BBQ newbies, we appreciated the section Grilling Basics covering charcoal and gas grilling, smoking and barbecuing, plus details on "must-have" and "nice-to-have" grilling tools! What fun; Helen promptly went shopping!

We quickly graduated from shrimp and burgers and began making more elaborate dishes; we were amazed at the range of dishes one can prepare on the BBQ. Plus, Purviance's sauces and sides are fine tuned to match the flavours imparted by barbecuing, and we were never disappointed. You grill? You get this book!

On today's menu:

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (110 KB)


Vietnamese Shrimp Pops with Peanut Sauce

Move up from basic shrimp to these tasty little pops! We fix them weekly, as they're a perfect starter to a casual meal, and can become the main event with a tangy slaw on the side. Hint: you can make them as little or medium sized patties, without the skewers, just make plenty.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Way to grill: direct high heat (450° to 550°F)
Grilling time: 4 to 6 minutes
Special equipment: bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned peanut butter, stirred
  • 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
    Shrimp Pops
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sauce ingredients. Place over medium heat and cook (but do not simmer), whisking constantly, just until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes (the sauce will thicken further as it cools). Remove from the heat.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the shrimp pop ingredients and process until a chunky paste is formed. Pour the vegetable oil onto a sheet pan and brush it evenly all over the surface. Using 2 spoons, shape the mixture into small ovals or quenelles, placing them on the oiled sheet pan as you make them. Turn them, making sure they are well coated with oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up the texture.
  3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  4. Place a quenelle on the end of each skewer. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the shrimp pops over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once or twice (cut one open with a sharp knife to test for doneness). Arrange the shrimp pops on a serving platter. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.

Tony's wine recommendation:
An off-dry white with good acidity: Off-Dry Riesling or White Zinfandel


Thai Squid

Oh, my, remember that fabulous squid in Bangkok? It can be yours again, and best of all its easy and quick. Who would have thought that a BBQ can be so versatile, cooking delicate seafood as well as sturdy steaks! Warning: make twice as many as you think you need... they disappear in a flash!

Serves 4

Prep time: 45 minutes
Marinating time: 20 minutes

Way to grill: Direct high heat (450° to 550°F)
Grilling time: 2 to 3 minutes

  • 12 whole, small squid
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  1. Hold each squid and gently pull to separate the tube from the tentacles. Pull out and discard any remaining contents from inside the tube, including the plastic-like quill. Peel off the brownish skin that coveres the tube. Rinse the inside of the tube and set aside. Slice off the tentacles portion just above the eyes and discard everything except the tentacles. Squeeze out and discard the hard beak found at the base of the tentacles. Remove the gritty "teeth" on the tentacles (you can feel them) by rubbing them between your fingers under cold running water.
  2. In a large bowl combine the marinade ingredients. Add the squid and toss to coat them evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. Remove the squid form the bowl and discard the marinade. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the squid over direct high heat with the lid open, until they are just turning opaque and no longer look wet, 2 to 3 minutes, turning once. Serve warm.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Chablis, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Sancerre


Chicken Involtini with Prosciutto and Basil

Well, did you ever? Sure you can do burgers, sausages and all, but when you can whip up a dish like this one on the BBQ you've become a chef. Ron made this recipe with ease, and dazzled our guests (and Helen!). It's pretty, it's full of fresh flavours and it's something you'd order in a restaurant. Surprise your friends and family with your BBQ prowess the next time you light up – just don't let them in on how uncomplicated it really is.

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Way to grill: direct medium heat (350° to 450°F)
Grilling time: about 12 minutes
Special equipment: butcher's twine

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces each, tenders removed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 very thin slices prosciutto
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese, halved
  • 8 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups good-quality tomato sauce
  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.
  2. For each piece of chicken, use about 12 inches of plastic wrap. Place the chicken, smooth side down, to one side of the plastic, about 2 inches from the edge. Fold the remaining plastic over the chicken leaving an inch or so from the folded edge. This will allow the chicken to spread out as it gets thinner. Starting from the thick side, gently pound the chicken with the flat side of a tenderizer or the bottom of a small, heavy skillet, moving to different areas with every stroke until it is about ¼ inch thick and just about doubles in size. Do not pound too hard or the chicken might break apart.
  3. Season each piece of chicken on both sides with the salt, granulated garlic, and pepper. Arrange the chicken with the smooth side down on a work surface.
  4. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken. Then lay down 2 halves of the provolone and then 2 basil leaves. Carefully roll up the chicken, keeping it snug as you work. Tie 2 pieces of butcher's twine around each piece to keep it together. Trim the loose ends of twine. Lightly brush each rolled piece of chicken with oil.
  5. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until golden on all sides, about 12 minutes, turning a quarter turn every 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the tomato sauce.
  6. Remove the twine from the chicken pieces, cut into slices, and serve warm on a pool of sauce. Garnish with torn pieces of basil.

Tony's wine recommendation:
New World Chardonnay, white Rhône, Alsace Pinot Blanc


Orange-Glazed Carrots

Carrots are a perfect side dish to almost everything, but they always took too long on the grill, and sometime cooked unevenly. Jamie let us in on a secret: jump-start the process by boiling first, then finish on the grill. The results are perfect every time, and so tasty even the kids want seconds.

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 8 to 10 minutes

Way to grill: direct medium heat (350° to 450°F)
Grilling time: 4 to 6 minutes

  • 2¼ tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 12 medium carrots, each 6 to 8 inches long and about 1 inch wide at the stem, peeled and trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  1. Fill a large saucepan with water to within a few inches of the top. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt to the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots to the boiling water and cook until tender but still crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and plunge into an ice bath to cool them rapidly. Then remove the carrots from the ice bath and drain.
  2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.
  3. In a large bowl combine the melted butter, honey, orange zest, vinegar, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Add the carrots to the bowl and toss to coat them evenly.
  4. Brush the cooking grates clean. Remove the carrots from the bowl and let the excess butter mixture drip back into the bowl. Set the bowl aside. Grill the carrots over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly caramelized, 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Place the carrots back into bowl with the remaining butter mixture. Toss to coat thoroughly. Garnish with the parsley and serve warm.


Grilled Ginger Pear Sundae

Foodland Ontario always has great ideas with seasonal local foods; their current collection includes this easy dessert with two of our favourite ingredients, pears and candied ginger. It's a perfect combo; the pears team well with the peppery, slightly sweet ginger; the ice cream and caramel topping elevate this dessert to divine! Make the ice cream a few days ahead for best flavour and convenience if you think you can leave it alone. Ha ha ha ha!

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes 
Freezing time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

  • 2 cups (500 mL) low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) diced crystallized ginger
  • 4 large ripe but firm Ontario pears or peaches
  • 2 Tbsp (25 mL) butter, melted
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) caramel sundae topping
  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) toasted sweetened flaked coconut
  1. In bowl, stir ice cream with crystallized ginger; cover and refreeze until firm, 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Cut pears in half lengthwise and core. In small bowl, mix together butter, sugar and ground ginger; brush some on cut surfaces. Place cut side down, on grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marked. Brush skin with remaining butter mixture; turn over and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Scoop ginger ice cream onto individual plates or bowls.
  3. Arrange 2 peach halves beside ice cream. Drizzle with caramel sauce; sprinkle with coconut. Serve immediately.

Tips: Instead of barbecuing, heat a ridged grill pan over medium heat for 5 minutes and grill as directed.

Crystallized or candied ginger is available in the bulk section of grocery stores.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Asti Spumante


We wish to thank:

Theresa Stahl, Weber Canada, for her assistance. For more information, go to


Weber-Stephen Products Co. Palatine, Il, for permission to publish material and photographs from Weber's Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance. © 2008 Weber-Stephen Products Co.


Foodland Ontario. For more information and great recipes, go to


Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download this article in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (110 KB)




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