Fire up that grill!

Barbecue: It's time to cook outdoors, and skewered shrimp, sausages and vegetables make it easy.

May 14, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Big burgers, thick steaks or a whole salmon are fine for the Fourth of July, but to ring in the grill season in grand style, try a festive mixed grill on skewers.

Besides simplifying menu planning, serving and eating, skewered combinations of vegetables with seafood or chunks of chicken or meat cook very quickly -- an important consideration in case the weather changes abruptly. Even if a sudden downpour sends everybody indoors, the skewers can go under the broiler to finish cooking.

Just don't be tempted to move grilling operations into a garage, shed or enclosed porch; carbon monoxide from charcoal or briquettes can easily reach lethal concentrations in enclosed areas.

Creole Skewers with Mustard Butter

Serves 12 as an appetizer or 6 as a main course

24 presoaked wooden skewers

1 each red and green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks, 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 pound Andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 pound large shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined

Mustard Butter (see recipe)

Skewer ingredients, alternating chunks of red and green pepper with onion, sausage (push skewer through casing side of sausage so cut edge is parallel with skewer) and shrimp (push skewer through the length of the shrimp).

Prepare fire for direct-heat method of cooking. When coals are ready, brush skewered ingredients with Mustard Butter, place on oiled grill over direct heat, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with remaining Mustard Butter.

Mustard Butter

Makes 2 cups

1 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons Creole mustard or other coarse-grained mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/3 cup lemon juice salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic and whisk in mustard, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Butter can be used at this point or chilled and remelted for using later.

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