Grilled Clams

Grilled Clams

Grilled Clams

Need I say more? This recipe is quick and easy. And impressive on a warm summer evening. We like to make it as an appetizer for our foodie friends, but it could be dinner if you pour it over rice or pasta (gluten-free of course!).

Although I've always used butter in the past, I wanted to attempt a dairy free version this time around. Butter or ghee lends a nice richness, but olive oil was an exceptable stand-in.

Start with high quality clams. I prefer them on the smaller side (1 1/2 - 2 inches wide). When you buy clams, ask if they need to be rinsed or not. Some farmed clams don't need to be rinsed, while most others do to remove sand (say no to grit!).

Many folks will appreciate some bread to soak up the delicious juice, so find a good gluten-free bread. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and grill it for a few minutes each side for a real crowd pleaser. Believe it or not, the pic above features a gluten-free hot dog bun cut into four thin slices. Not my first choice, but it turned out great!

Grilled Clams
serves 4

1 pound clams
1 lemon, sliced and seeds removed
1 Tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 shallot finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs chopped parsley

Prepare a parchment lined foil pouch. Place clams and lemon slices on half.

Fold foil + parchment over and seal edges by rolling over 2-3 times. (FYI - the reason I line the foil pouch with parchment is because I am concerned about the acid from the lemons reacting with the aluminum foil.)

Clams & Lemons

Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Almost all the clams should open. Discard unopened clams.

Grilled Clams

Carefully take a peak into the pouch. You should see steamy open clams and smell the mouth-watering blend of clams, wine and garlic. Pour the clams + juice into a bowl and top with parsley. (I put the parsley in first and it wilted into a unattractive mess...so don't do that.)

Serve these Grilled Clams with GF bread and a buttery Chardonnay!

All Things Grilled Part 2

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Part 2 in a 3 part series on Grilling!

Scallops are a beautiful thing when properly prepared. The tender flesh plus the subtle taste of ocean can be heavenly. If you want to cook delicious scallops, there are three keys to success: 1) start with high quality dry scallops, 2) season appropriately, and 3) sear well.

Dry scallops are usually shucked on the boat and stored without any water or preservatives. This treatment leads to the freshest, tastiest scallops. On the contrary, wet scallops are shucked and then stored in water, salt water, or water + a chemical preservative. These treatments make the scallops last longer, but contribute to sub-par shellfish.

Scallops naturally contain a lot of moisture, but you want it to be the natural, briny flavor of the ocean. So ask your fishmonger for dry scallops. Before preparing your scallops, pat their surface gently with a clean cloth or paper towel(s). Also, make sure to remove the tough muscle on the side (see below). Season them generously to enhance their flavor and help form a crust (when seared). Salt and pepper will do, but we found that a variety of spices were delicious as well.

Scallops with muscle removed

Creating a crust is a great textural complement to the delicate flesh of a scallop, but this technique can be a challenge. Using dry scallops, seasoning, and searing them in a well-oiled pan over medium-high heat are important.

Another way to create a tasty scallop is grilling! Grilling scallops creates a beautiful crust as well as smokey, charred flavors. We found that grilled scallops pair nicely with refreshing citrus and tropical flavors too. Make sure to oil the grill just before adding the scallops.

Grilled Scallops Two Ways

Grilled Scallop with Mango Lime Salsa

Grilled Scallops with Mango Lime Salsa
serves 3

1 pound large dry scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder

Mango Lime Salsa
1 cup peeled, diced mango
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
2 Tbs lime juice
pinch or two salt

Set scallops on a paper towel lined plate. Lay another paper towel on top of the scallops. Gently pat. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium.

Remove paper towels from scallops. Season scallops with salt and chili powder.

Oil grill to prevent sticking. Grill scallops about 3 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Remove from grill.

Serve with Mango Lime Salsa (or Orange Salsa below).

Grilled Scallop with Orange Salsa

Grilled Scallops with Orange Salsa
serves 3

1 pound large dry scallops
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Orange Salsa
1 cup peeled, sectioned orange
1 Tbs finely chopped jalapeno
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 Tbs lime juice
pinch or two salt

Set scallops on a paper towel lined plate. Lay another paper towel on top of the scallops. Gently pat. Set aside.

Heat grill to medium.

Remove paper towels from scallops. Season scallops with salt & cumin.

Oil grill to prevent sticking. Grill scallops about 3 minutes per side or until almost cooked through. Remove from grill.

Serve with Orange Salsa (and maybe even a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc).

All Things Grilled Part 1

Bison Burger with Potato "Bun"

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Grilling!

I love a good burger. There is nothing quite like taking your first bite of a juicy, perfectly cooked burger and having all of the layers and components harmoniously meld together in that one bite. Once you have had that wonderful experience, it is quite disappointing when things (flavors, textures, proportions) don’t seem to work out.

One challenge for gluten-free folks is what to do about a bun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a light, airy, appropriately sized bun with my burger. But sometimes a dense, dry gluten-free bun interferes with the star of the show…the meat! I’ve tried lettuce wraps and grilled portobello mushrooms too, but my quest for a new “bun” continues.

When my brilliant and creative side kick, Constance, mentioned using a thick potato slice as a bun, I couldn’t wait to try the concept of a burger and fries all in one! It was a beautiful thing...I fell in love with burgers all over again.

Grilled Bison Burger
makes 4 burgers

1 pound ground bison (or sub grass-fed beef)
½ cup grated red or white onion ½ tsp garlic salt ¼ tsp lemon pepper cheese slices optional

Turn on grill and set to high heat.

Meanwhile, combine burger ingredients and divide meat evenly into 4 patties.

Reduce heat to medium high once grill temperature reaches 400° F.

Place patties on grill for approximately 3 minutes. Rotate the patties 45° and grill for 2 more minutes if grill marks are desired. Then, flip the burger and cook for 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from grill and allow to rest 3-5 minutes.

Grilled Potato "Bun"

1-2 russet potatoes (nice thick round ones), scrubbed
olive oil or fat of choice (about 1 Tbs)
salt & pepper

Microwave (each) potato 2 minutes.

Slice potatoes crosswise in ½ inch thick slices. (Use the bigger pieces for buns and the smaller pieces for “fries”.)

Drizzle or brush with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Grill potatoes for about 4 minutes, preferably on the cooler side of the grill. Rotate potatoes 45° and grill for 4 more minutes, if grill marks are desired. Flip potatoes and grill another 3-5 minutes, depending how crispy you want them.

Set potato "buns" aside for a few minutes while the burgers rest. Then use the potato slices as a bun to build a tasty burger.

Optional toppings:
* stone ground mustard
* grilled onions (sliced ¼ inch thick and grilled about 10 minutes on medium low, flipping occasionally)
* grilled tomatoes (try a drizzle of oil + balsamic for a tangy treat; grill about 5 minutes on medium low)
* avocado
* arugula
* baby spinach
* grilled or sauteed mushrooms

Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato & Arugula Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato