A wealth of ideas for your barbecue bash

BOOKMARK

August 30, 2006|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining

By Cheryl and Bill Jamison

Grilling

Exciting International Flavors From the World's Premier Culinary College

By the Culinary Institute of America

Lebhar-Friedman Books / 2006 / $35

As you might expect, this book has a more formal, instructional style than The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking. It includes lots of vital information for the beginning griller, from cooking times for meat, poultry and seafood to instructions for filleting a round fish. For the more adventurous, there's lots of opportunity for showing off, with recipes like Grilled Venison Chops With Sherry-Mustard Sauce and Peppercorn Rabbit With Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto.

We tried the simpler Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Pineapple Chutney (encouraged by the directions to use any meaty fish, we substituted blue marlin), which took nice advantage of fresh ingredients. The pineapple chutney bore close resemblance to a salsa and really brightened the look and flavor of the fish.

While the details in Grilling are helpful, the tone occasionally feels a tad stilted for this subject. The formal idea of mise en place - the French and cooking-school term for preparing your ingredients and tools beforehand, and the name of the introductory section - seems a bit high-concept for the spontaneous fun of casual grilling.

But if you look past the terminology, you'll find some good basic information without fuss - this book recommends using the hand test, too.

kate.shatzkin@baltsun.com

Herbed Grilled Lamb Burgers

Serves 6

BURGERS:

1/2 cup minced fresh mint

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced, or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried, finely crumbled

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt

2 pounds freshly ground lamb shoulder

6 thick slices red onion

vegetable oil for coating onions (about 2 tablespoons)

12 slices sourdough bread

Pickapeppa hot sauce (optional)

GARLIC MAYONNAISE:

1 to 4 mashed garlic cloves

1 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise

pinch of salt

Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (you should be able to hold your hand a couple of inches above the top of the cooking grate for 4 to 5 seconds before the heat forces you to pull away).

Mix the mint and rosemary together in a medium bowl. Add salt and ground lamb, gently mixing together just until the seasonings are incorporated. Gently form the mixture into 6 patties about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. The patties should hold together firmly, but don't compact them or handle them any longer than necessary.

Coat the onion slices with oil. Grill the burgers uncovered over medium heat for 5 to 5 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Turn so that each side faces the fire twice, rotating a half turn each time for crisscross grill marks. Grill the onion slices along with the burgers for about the same amount of time until crisp-tender. Toast the bread at the edge of the grill if you wish.

While burgers grill, make garlic mayonnaise by stirring garlic into mayonnaise to taste and adding salt.

Arrange each burger on a slice of sourdough, topped with a grilled onion slice, a slather of mayonnaise and another slice of sourdough. For more piquant burgers, add a spoonful of Pickapeppa sauce to 1 slice of bread. Serve immediately.

Adapted from "The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining"

Per serving (1 burger plus 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise): 825 calories, 37 grams protein, 43 grams fat, 12 grams saturated fat, 69 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 1,297 milligrams sodium

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