Judging from the oversized outdoor grills manufacturers are designing, you could cook for an entire baseball team and still have room to spare on the grill.
These 5-foot or longer grills that are on display at home shows and in glossy magazines rival my kitchen work space.
They’re great if you’re having a backyard barbecue for a crowd, but you may wonder if you have any options when you’re cooking for one or two.
You do: the hibachi grill. This simple little unit, which is available in most hardware stores, is just right for a grilled dinner for two.
A hibachi is made of cast-iron, which means it’s sturdy and won’t blow over if you set it on your deck or patio. Some units have an adjustable grill plate so you can move the food closer or farther from the heat source, which is usually charcoal or flavored wood.
Hibachis are not suited to cooking by indirect heat for long periods of time. The little grill is best used if you’re making small dishes.
Seafood, such as shrimp or scallops, chicken kebabs or strips of marinated beef are great bets for cooking on the hibachi. If you never thought you could grill a dinner for two, the following recipe for scallop and tomato kebabs should change your mind.
Partially fry the bacon before assembling the kebabs, so you don’t have a lot of bacon fat dripping onto the heat source. You may still have a flare-up, so keep a spray bottle of water next to the hibachi as you cook your dinner.
Scallop and tomato kebab
4 strips bacon
10 medium sea scallops, about 3/4 pound
10 grape tomatoes
10 small fresh thyme sprigs
Fry bacon in a large skillet until the strips are lightly browned and partially cooked. Remove and drain bacon on paper towels. Reserve bacon drippings.
To thread the kebabs, place the end of one bacon strip on each of 2 long metal skewers. Add a sea scallop, followed by a tomato. Wrap a thyme sprig around the skewer. Hold the thyme in place by folding the end of the bacon strip back and over the scallop, tomato and thyme.
Repeat the scallop, tomato, thyme and bacon. When you run out of bacon, start the second strip. Each skewer should have 5 scallops, 5 tomatoes, 5 thyme sprigs and 2 bacon strips.
Heat reserved bacon drippings if necessary and brush over the scallops and tomatoes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place kebabs on the grid of a hibachi over hot coals, 3 to 4 inches from heat. Grill 3 minutes per side, or until the scallops are cooked through.
Makes 2 servings.
Note: If desired, the kebabs also can be broiled. Place on a broiler rack 3 to 4 inches from heat source and broil 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Arugula and walnut salad with honey-mustard dressing
2 cups baby arugula leaves
cup walnut halves
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
Divide arugula leaves and walnut halves between 2 salad plates. Stir honey, mustard, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste together in a cup. Spoon half over each salad. Makes 2 servings.
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