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Don’t Hire a Caterer: Summer Barbecue

DON'T HIRE A CATERER: SUMMER BARBECUE

By Georgette Farkas

Georgette Farkas is officially our Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, but we’ve also crowned her our Hospitality Maven. Drawing upon her experiences working at leading restaurants and spearheading her eponymous Rotisserie Georgette, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In addition to everything she does at GP across all teams, she also regularly entertains at home, creating incredible dishes with that extra special touch that makes food even more memorable and delicious.

In this series, Georgette shares tips from the caterer’s tool kit to make entertaining at home (almost) effortless. From time saving shortcuts and grocery store secrets to garnishing hacks and presentation magic, she’ll help you host a party that’ll make your guests feel extra special and that you’ll actually be able to enjoy.

She’s also curated recipes for you, highlighting the tips she’s shared. Each month look for dishes and ideas that would be delicious on their own, but that together make up menus that will have you entertaining like a pro.

As the weather heats up, we can’t help but want to take the cooking outside. A couple summers ago, I hosted an online class, World Tour Brochettes. I stand by these recipes – they are timeless, delicious, and infinitely adaptable. Best of all, they are perfect for effortless summer entertaining.

Call them brochettes, skewers, kabobs, as you like. It all comes down to assembling well-seasoned ingredients on a stick to grill over open flames, ideally with a little char around the edges. Of course broiling is an option for city apartment dwellers. These recipes take you on a journey without ever leaving home. We could have chosen flavors from countless destinations, but landed in the South of France, Southern Spain and then Thailand.

I’ve paired each brochette with a side dish made with the same seasonings used in the marinades. This makes for a great menu and also simplifies the market list. I’ve also planned marinade quantities so that you will use only a part of it to coat meat and vegetables, reserving the remainder to spoon over the cooked brochettes.

I recommend flat surfaced brochettes, as they will hold ingredients in place when turning them on the grill. Whether rounded or flat, if using wooden brochettes, soak them first so as to avoid burning the ends. I treasure my steel brochettes with decorative brass finials, a souvenir from long ago summer travels in Turkey.

Each of these dishes can be prepared a day ahead to lighten your entertaining load. In fact, the brochettes will benefit from marinating overnight. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together. Not to worry if you’re not grilling outdoors, the broiler setting in your oven will do just fine.

Check out the recipes below or download the recipe packet here: https://docs.greatperformances.com/view/1031572904/

RECIPE: HERBES DE PROVENCE CHICKEN & ZUCCHINI BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Raosted Cherry Tomatoes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For Marinade:

  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp herbes de Provence
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

 

For the brochettes:

  • 4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 whole green and yellow zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 8 whole purple pearl onions, peeled and blanched

 

For the tomatoes:

  • 4.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400֯.
  2. On a sheet pan, toss cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp herbes de Provence, 1 Tbsp chopped garlic, ¼ cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook cherry tomatoes until softened and slightly caramelized, approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven, adjust salt and pepper. Set aside. May be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator at least one hour prior to serving.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine lemon zest and lemon juice with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper. Whisk together to dissolve salt. Incorporate remaining garlic, herbes de Provence and olive oil.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss chicken, zucchini and pearl onions in just enough marinade to coat. Arrange them on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of chicken between two pieces of zucchini and placing a pearl onion between each set of chicken and peppers.
  5. Marinate covered in refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  6. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook five to six minutes on each side.
  7. Place brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade on top. Arrange roasted cherry tomatoes around brochettes.

RECIPE: GINGER-MISO CHICKEN & JAPANESE EGGPLANT BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Carrot, Cabbage, and Kale Slaw

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 4 oz rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Thai chili paste
  • 2 oz Tamari
  • 3 Tbsp white miso
  • 2 Tbsp honey

 

For the brochettes:

  • 4 pcs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 whole Japanese eggplant, cut in 1” rounds
  • 2 whole green peppers, halved, seeded, cut into 1.5” squares
  • 2 tsp white sesame seeds

 

For the slaw:

  • 5 oz red or purple cabbage, fine julienne
  • 5 oz carrot, spiral cut or julienne
  • 2 oz kale, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 oz sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Procedure

  1. In a mixing bowl combine rice vinegar, Thai chili paste, tamari, miso, honey, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Set aside. Can be prepared several days ahead.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, daikon, and kale. Toss with half of the above marinade, or just enough to coat. This is best made the day before. Once slaw has marinated overnight, drain off and discard any excess liquid. Remove slaw from refrigerator at least one hour before serving.
  3. Whisk sesame oil into remaining marinade. Toss chicken, eggplant, and green peppers in just enough marinade to coat. Set aside remaining marinade. Arrange chicken and vegetables on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of chicken between two pieces of green pepper and placing a piece of eggplant between each set of chicken and peppers. Arrange brochettes on a sheet tray. Marinate covered in refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking.
  4. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  5. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, place brochettes in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook five to six minutes on each side.
  6. Arrange brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade over them. Arrange scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds on top. Serve the slaw alongside.

RECIPE: SHRIMP, CHORIZO, AND SWEET RED AND YELLOW PEPPER BROCHETTES

Side Dish: Orzo with Safran

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

 

For the orzo:

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ cup orzo

 

For the brochettes:

  • 16 ¼”-thick slices cured chorizo
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled with tail on (size U8)
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut in 1.5” square
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut in 1.5” square
  • 6 cippolini onions, blanched, peeled, halved

Procedure

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, tomato paste and chopped parsley with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate bowl toss shrimp, peppers, sliced chorizo and half the cippolini onions with just enough marinade to coast. Arrange them on brochettes, sandwiching each piece of shrimp between two pieces of pepper and placing a cippolini onion half and chorizo slice between each set of shrimp and peppers.
  3. Arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and refrigerate covered for at least three hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking.
  4. Just before grilling, tighten up your brochettes, making sure the ingredients are closely pressed together, as this will make for even cooking.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan, add orzo and cook approximately 7 minutes to al dente. Drain, setting aside 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid.
  6. In the meantime, coarsely chop the trim from the red and yellow peppers and slice the remaining cippolini onion. In a medium skillet, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, remaining cippolini onion and chopped red and yellow pepper trim. Cook stirring over medium heat, until soft and lightly caramelized. Incorporate half the remaining marinade and saffron. Add orzo and just enough of the reserved orzo cooking liquid to loosen the mixture slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss in chopped parsley.
  7. On a heated grill, cook brochettes approximately five to six minutes on each side, until browned and the shrimp have reached an internal temperature of 165֯. If cooking indoors, arrange brochettes on a sheet tray and place in an oven pre-heated to 450֯ or place under a well heated broiler on high setting. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side.
  8. Place brochettes on a serving platter and spoon remaining marinade over them. Arrange orzo alongside.