Cooking meat over fire is an ancient ritual, but Bon Appetit does its best to turn the backyard grilling season into a thoroughly modern affair.
Flip to the Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs and you’ll learn about an “oven-cheat” method that claims to make your baby backs or spare ribs ultra-tender without the cook standing over a smoker for 12 hours. And instead of organizing according to a hierarchy of land animals, Bon Appetit starts with chicken, “an all-purpose protein that adapts easily to countless cuisines and skill levels.’’
Chapters highlight grilled burgers (fairly common for this genre) and hotdogs (not often given the nod) and the more gourmet flatbreads and pizzas. Overall, the 350 recipes have a global flair — “because if there’s one form of cooking that unites the cultures of the world, it’s grilling.” Recipes include Mediterranean Chicken With Za’atar, Bombay Sliders With Garlic Curry Sauce, Green Shawarma Salmon and Cambodian-Style Ginger-Honey Baby Back Ribs. Skip the Old-Fashioned Potato Salad and try Black Barley Salad With Fennel and Radishes.
Finally, who needs sweet tea when there’s a chapter devoted to festive cocktails such as the Tangerine-Ginger Caipirinha?Chicken Skewers With Coriander Marinade and Lemon Salsa Makes 6 servings 8 Meyer lemons 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber, preferably English hothouse 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, divided 1 serrano chile, finely chopped Pinch of sugar Kosher salt 1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces Freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Using a sharp knife, cut all the peel and white pith from lemons; discard. Cut between membranes to release lemon segments into a medium bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Strain juice into a clean bowl; reserve lemon segments and juices separately.
Mix segements, 1 tablespoon lemon juice (set aside remaining juice for another use), cucumber, 2 tablespoons scallions and chile in a small bowl. Stir in sugar; season salsa to taste with salt and set aside.
Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Puree 1/4 cup cilantro, yogurt, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, coriander and turmeric, if using, in a small food processor or blender until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.
Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil. Thread 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Grill, turning once and watching closely to prevent burning, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Spoon lemon salsa over chicken. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1 tablespoon scallions.
Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard Award-winning food editor and restaurant critic. She has won more than 25 national writing awards and been included in the “Best Food Writing” anthologies of 2008 and 2011. She is the author of The Star’s “Eating for Life” cookbook and the past president of The Association of Food Journalists. She also makes a mean flan.