From ember-roasted baba ghanoush to scallops with warm tomato-basil dressing, here are fantastic grilled appetizers.
Food & Wine
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Ember-Roasted Baba Ghanoush
Michael Chiarello takes advantage of every hot coal by cooking whole eggplants and onions directly on the embers while grilling fruit and other vegetables on the grate. The eggplant and onions become this smoky dip.
Pork satay, a staple among hawkers in Singapore, is typically very sweet. Bryant Ng’s version, which he marinates in a combination of lemongrass and coconut milk, is more balanced. He also adds extra fennel seeds, making the tender skewered meat even more aromatic.
The marinade for these shrimp—a piquant mix of lemon juice, garlic, ginger, basil and parsley—would be equally good with pork or chicken. The dipping sauce is almost chutney-like with chunks of whole tomatoes; lemongrass and lime juice add tang.
Michael Psilakis likes to riff on saganaki—fried cheese with lemon. He uses manouri, a fresh, milky white cheese made from the whey that's drained off during feta production. Like nearly all Greek cheeses, it's produced from either sheep's or goat's milk.
Blaine Wetzel grills oysters, then drizzles them with butter flavored with sage, oregano, lemon juice and tequila. He prefers oysters from Samish Bay in the northern Puget Sound, where some food historians say the first Pacific oysters grew in 1919.