Food & Wine
June 01, 2008

I consider myself the ultimate lazy griller. I don’t experiment. I don’t marinate. I don’t make dipping sauces. The results invariably leave me slightly deflated, and I find myself wondering if there isn’t something I can do to make the meal more interesting without sacrificing the simplicity that is one of grilling’s biggest selling points. To answer that question, three of F&W’s resident grilling experts—Tina Ujlaki, Marcia Kiesel and Nick Fauchald—came up with easy strategies for everyday dinners and entertaining. Nick suggests enhancing the smoky flavor of grilled dishes with sauces like a smoked-almond romesco; Tina’s idea is to give a kebab party where guests do all the cooking.

In an effort to compensate for my preference for rich meats, like the spectacular suckling pig Jean-Georges Vongerichten roasts in “The Chef, the Pig and the Perfect Summer Party,” I had another question: What about healthy grilling? Chef Kerry Simon of Simon L.A. gave us terrific recipes, showcased at a lunch hosted by actress Kelly Lynch and screenwriter Mitch Glazer at their modernist house in the Hollywood Hills. Simon’s red curry chicken now has a permanent place in my repertoire.

When I’m grilling, I give about the same amount of thought to what I’m drinking as I do to what I’m eating—in other words, not much. In her Wine Matters column, Executive Wine Editor Lettie Teague dismisses this behavior and debunks the idea that it’s OK to drink inconsequential wines in the summer; then she names the refreshing yet compelling wines she turns to herself. For more choices, Deputy Wine Editor Ray Isle suggests 32 terrific and unexpected bottles that pair beautifully with grilled food. Now that Lettie and Ray have done so much of the work for me, I’m delighted to say I can still be lazy—and drink very well.

Where I’m Coming From

My New Manhattan Discoveries:

Merkato 55
Marcus Samuelsson’s African-inspired menu is captivating, from the mealie (cornmeal) breads with apricot blatjang (a chutney) to the lassi. What a delight to leave behind the ubiquitous flavors of the Mediterranean and discover these new tastes.

In a homey West Village setting, I had delicious crabmeat with tiny gnocchi in a silky turmeric-onion sauce.

Momofuku Ko
Sure to be the year’s most talked-about dish: the astonishing shaved foie gras with Riesling gelée and pine-nut brittle from chef de cuisine Peter Serpico, a partner at Ko with David Chang.

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