Getting the best from your hibachi

Grill: You don't need a lot of time or space to add charcoal flavor to a meal. Start small, then think big.

July 28, 1999|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,los angeles times

If you love grilling food but don't have a large family to cook for, do your grilling on a hibachi. You'll have all the flavor of grilled food but use only a fraction of the space and fuel. You'll get coals going in half the time.

To get the best use of your hibachi, remember that it is designed for direct-heat cooking. Avoid large pieces of meat that require indirect heat and a cover. Instead, choose foods such as boneless chicken breasts, steaks, fish fillets or vegetables that are done in minutes. You won't be limited, however. Once you get started, your repertoire of fast foods will seem unlimited.

Even sandwiches taste better with a little eau de charcoal. In fact, you can have a great picnic meal with a sandwich and a hibachi that's small enough to fit into a basket.

Put coals and matches inside the grill and pack it. Assemble your sandwich and wrap it in a double layer of heavy-duty foil. When you're ready to eat, loosen the foil around the sandwich and put it on the hot grill. You'll have a savory hot meal in about five minutes.

The following provolone and olive sandwich is excellent for picnics. The sun-dried tomatoes and olives won't wilt in the heat and the vinaigrette dressing retards spoilage.

You also can pack a dessert for the grill. Make a Peach and Blackberry Cobbler in a cast-iron skillet or small metal cake pan instead of the glass dish called for in the recipe. Cover the cobbler tightly with foil. To reheat the cobbler, place it over ash-covered coals for about 5 minutes.

Grilled Provolone and Olive Sandwich

Serves 2

2 (4-inch lengths) French bread

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano

1/4 cup chopped pitted olives of your choice

1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

4 slices provolone cheese

Split each hunk of French bread lengthwise in half. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar on 2 bottom slices. Then follow with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil on each. Top each with half the oregano, olives and tomatoes. Arrange 2 slices provolone over each mound of olives and tomatoes. Cover with top halves of bread hunks.

Place sandwiches on double sheet of foil. Place on rack over hot coals of hibachi and heat until cheese melts. Check after 5 minutes.

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Serves 2

1 large peach, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups blackberries or black raspberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

TOPPING:

2/3 cup flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

dash salt

2 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons whipping cream or milk

In 1 1/2-quart oven-proof glass bowl, toss together peach slices, blackberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Set aside.

In bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in cream and mix briefly just to make a wet batter. Drop Topping over fruit in a ring around inside of dish, so fruit is bare in center.

Bake at 425 degrees until batter is done and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Spoon into bowls and serve warm.

Pub Date: 07/28/99

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