If you say you’re having an Al fresco dinner party in Italy, they would all think you’re crazy because literally translated, Al Fresco means “in jail” in Italian. What I and most Americans mean is to eat outside and preferably with your hands.
When my wife and I put on an Al Fresco party we like to serve almost everything, kabob style. We’ll prep everything and marinate each one with very bold flavors for 24 hours ahead of our party then cook off 1/3 of all the kabobs and place them in grand colorful platters just before our guests are due to arrive. I then keep cooking as the platters get lower to keep them fresh & hot. Colors should be bright and cheerful from the tablecloths, napkins, stem ware, plates and platters.
Hey, this would be a wonderful idea for our 22nd wedding anniversary coming up on the 28th!
We love good bread at every meal and this garlic Bread recipe can easily be adapted for the grill. TIP: Just place the bread in the fridge for ½ an hour to stiffen up the butter, this way when you grill it butter side down, most of it will stay on. If you’re looking at your grill, lie the bread down like on a clock dial at 1:50. Once you have nice marks (about 1 minute on high) lift up and lie back down at 2:10. You’ll have perfect diamond marks every time. Works with veggies & steak too!
Basil Garlic Bread
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 loaf (8 ounces) French bread
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, parsley, basil and
- garlic. Cover and microwave until butter is melted. Stir in cheese.
- Cut the bread in half lengthwise; place cut side down on an uncovered
- grill over medium heat for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Brush
- cut side with the butter mixture. Grill or broil 1-2 minutes longer.
- Yield: 4 servings.
When you get a solid fish filet like Halibut, it’s perfect for kabobs like these-
Apple Halibut Kabobs
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or unsweetened apple juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons diced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium Golden Delicious apple, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Pour half into
- a large resealable plastic bag; add halibut. Seal bag and turn to
- Pour remaining marinade into another large resealable plastic bag;
- add the onion, apple and red pepper. Seal bag and turn to coat.
- Refrigerate fish and apple mixture for 4-6 hours, turning
- Drain fish, discarding marinade. Drain fruit and vegetables,
- reserving marinade for basting. On eight metal or soaked wooden
- skewers, alternately thread the fish, onion, apple and red pepper.
- Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and
- lightly coat the grill rack. Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat
- or broil 4 in. from the heat for 6-10 minutes or until fish flakes
- easily with a fork and fruit and vegetables are tender, turning and
- basting frequently with reserved marinade. Yield: 4 servings.
These chicken kabobs are sweet and savory and a real crowd pleaser-
Apricot Glazed Chicken Kabobs
- 1/2 cup apricot spreadable fruit
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup
- marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken; seal
- bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.
- Drain and discard marinade. On four metal or soaked wooden skewers,
- alternately thread the chicken, onion, zucchini and summer squash.
- Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs,
- lightly coat the grill rack.
- Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat
- for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear, turning and basting
- occasionally with reserved marinade. Yield: 4 servings.
A big crisp green salad and a large bowl of room temperature Mexican Rice finish this party off beautifully. Just don’t forget the Mojito’s!