By Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE
Don’t you just love grilling season? Actually, I think grilling season is 365 days a year but there is an uptick in grilling this time of year. To honor this festive method of cooking, I am providing five strategies for successful grilling that will have you pulling delicious, nutritious food off the grill all summer long.
1. Preheat your grill for about 10 minutes and then clean off the grill grates. It is easier to clean the grates of a hot grill! Once the grill is clean you will want to oil the grates to prevent food from sticking. To oil the grill, grab an oil-soaked paper towel with long-handled tongs and rub the oil soaked towel over the grates. Then commence cooking as directed.
2. Marinate, especially when cooking meats. Marinating does more than infuse food with flavor. It also inhibits the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling meats like poultry, red meat and fish. Marinating can reduce HCA formation by 90 percent.
3. Use a meat thermometer. I know, I know, this is rather geeky sounding and very dietitian like—and there are really cool chefs who can simply touch meat and tell if it is done. I will have to sit in the, “rule following dietitian camp,” on this one. Plus who doesn’t enjoy avoiding foodborne illness and eating juicy meat cooked to perfection rather than overcooked dried-out meat. Due to this basic, properly cooked meat philosophy, I have run through many thermometers and have finally found one that works great. The Thermoworks digital is an instant read thermometer, and is hands down my favorite! It costs approximately $20.00 and can be ordered at: http://thermoworks.com/products/low_cost/.
4. Grill vegetables! Since you have the grill fired up, go ahead and load it up with your whole meal. Recipes abound for grilled cabbage, zucchini and onions. There are many ways to cook vegetables, but one nice tool to have on hand is a vegetable grilling basket. This is especially true of vegetables that are in small pieces. Simply toss chopped veggies with oil and seasonings then add to the grill basket. Cook, turning occasionally until the desired degree of doneness is reached.
5. Grill some fruit! Fruits such as, pineapple, peaches, watermelon and more develop a rich sweet-savory flavor when grilled, turning them into a decadent dessert. Try them directly on the grill, in a kabob or in a grill basket—you will not be disappointed.
Simple Grilled Salmon
4 4-ounce salmon fillets
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Once grill is heated, brush off any remaining charred bits from previous grilling adventures and oil the grill grate. A simple way to oil the grill grate is to soak a paper towel with oil, then grab the paper towel with long-handled tongs and rub over the grill grate.
Rub the salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic, salt and pepper. (This could be done the night before and then left to chill in the refrigerator.)
Grill salmon fillets skin-side down for 10 minutes or until cooked completely (the flesh will be opaque but will still be moist). Remove salmon to a platter drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with additional lemon if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrient Breakdown: Calories 240, Fat 15g (3g saturated fat, 6g monounsaturated fat, 2g omega-3 fatty acids), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 210mg, Carbohydrate 1g, Protein 23g.
Carbohydrate Choices: 0 carbohydrates, 3 medium fat meats, 1 fat
Cook’s note: You can grill the salmon for 6 minutes on the skin side and flip it to grill another 4 minutes on the flesh side. This will give you the nice grill marks associated with grilled food but can be a little tricky when it comes to flipping. However since the salmon has been rubbed with oil it should not stick to the grate.
This article appears in the May-June 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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