Pork and Mushroom Sliders

There was a time when olives and olive oil got a bad rap for the amount of fat they contained. It got to the point where olive lovers (myself included) felt guilty about eating them.

But in recent years, research studies have shown that the high monounsaturated fat content of olives (and olive oil) has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a decrease in blood pressure. And in terms of their phytonutrient content, olives are nothing short of astounding. Few high-fat foods offer such a diverse range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, some of which are unique to olives themselves.

Of course, when I was growing up, there were only two kinds of olives at the grocery store: green olives stuffed with pimentos and pitted black or “ripe” olives that you could wear on the tips of your fingers until your Mom made you stop playing with your food. And a lot of people never even heard of using olive oil in their cooking.

Times have changed. Now most grocery stores have entire olive bars, with all kinds of exotic varietals — everything from the tiny brown Nicoise to the giant, bright-green Cerignola, to the shriveled black Morrocans. And olive oil has been proven to be one of the healthiest oils you can choose.

Here’s a recipe for Pork and Mushroom Sliders from the International Olive Council that contains both olives and olive oil and is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves them.

Pork and Mushroom Sliders
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, divided and minced
1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
4 cups finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
½ cup chopped ripe olives
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
12 small rolls, split (warmed, if desired)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Blend sour cream and mustard in small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves in mini chopper or finely chop garlic and blend mixture in bowl with fork, mashing garlic. Rub pork with garlic mixture; place in shallow baking pan and roast 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 160 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 clove garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds or until fragrant but not browned. Add mushrooms, olives, shallots and remaining ½ teaspoon thyme leaves. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat; set aside.
Thinly slice tenderloin diagonally across grain. Spread each cut side of rolls with mustard mixture. Spoon half of mushroom mixture (about 2 tablespoons) on bottom of each roll. Top rolls evenly with sliced pork and remaining mushroom mixture. Cover with top halves of rolls. Serve on coated sandwich wraps or bakery sheets if desired.
Yield: 12 sandwiches.
Tip: Meat can be roasted several hours in advance, then refrigerated and sliced before assembling sandwiches.

Cream of Crab Soup

The best soups often are those that aren’t too fancy or complicated but just plain good. And they can be especially appealing when the weather gets a little cooler.

It’s no surprise to my family and friends that I enjoy a good bowl of soup. In fact, I’d bet that at least 40 weeks out of the year you can find a pot of soup simmering on my stove.

Today is one of those soup days. The temperature might reach the low 50s, but it won’t go much higher. It’s a typical May weather. One day it can be in the 70s or 80s and the next in the 40s or 50s. And nighttime temps can fall into the low- to mid-30s.

A recipe for cream of crab soup that I came across in a Baltimore Sun column by Julie Rothman caught my eye as one that could fit the fill on a cool day. It’s from the “Hunt To Harbor” cookbook, published by the Junior League of Baltimore.

Rothman recommends using lump crabmeat in the soup. She also bumped up the amount of Old Bay seasoning and substituted dry sherry for the white wine.

She offered a couple words of caution: The soup improves upon standing, as the flavors have a chance to marry a bit. And when reheating it, be sure to do it slowly and do not allow it to boil.

Cream of Crab Soup
1 medium onion, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pint clam juice
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
½ cup dry white wine
1 pint half-and-half or cream
1 pound crab meat
Saute onion in butter until very soft. Stir in flour and gradually whisk in clam juice. Add seasonings, wine and half-and-half. Simmer until flour is cooked and soup thickens, about 15 minutes. Gently add crab meat and heat. Do not boil.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Grilled Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Kebabs

Grilling is one of the most popular pastimes on Memorial Day. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not everyone is a fan of burgers, steaks, hot dogs and the like. There are those who prefer to make a meal out of veggies and maybe some fish or seafood.

But there’s nothing to say you can’t combine meat, veggies and seafood like the following recipe for kebabs. This tasty creation contains shrimp, onion, peppers and bacon with a little barbecue sauce thrown in on the side. Add some grilled peaches and ice cream, and you have a great grilled meal from main course to dessert.

Grilled Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Kebabs
50 large shrimp (approximately)
17 slices bacon
1 Vidalia onion
16 ounces of medium size mushrooms
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
Barbecue sauce
Cut up the onion and peppers in large chunks approximately 1 inch squares or a little larger.
Cut the bacon slices into thirds and slightly cook the bacon until it is softened but not crispy. (This could be done in the microwave.)
Wrap the shrimp in the bacon slices and assemble the kebabs on the metal skewers starting with bacon wrapped shrimp, a chunk of red pepper, onion, mushroom cap, and green pepper then another bacon wrapped shrimp.
Place the Skewers on a preheated grill with slightly greased foil.
As you are cooking the skewers, baste with the barbecue sauce on each side for approximately 7 to 10 minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill.)
Yield: Serves 4.

Grilled Peaches
¼ cup bourbon
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 6 peaches, halved and pitted
Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring bourbon to boil. Add butter, sugar and cinnamon, reduce heat and simmer mixture until syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Preheat grill for medium, indirect heat (about 300 to 325 degrees). Place peaches cut side down and grill until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip over and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove from grill and place 2 halves on each plate. Spoon glaze over top and, if desired, serve with vanilla ice cream.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Cilantro Pesto Burgers

With Memorial Day just around the corner, most people have their menu planned. And you can bet that there will be burgers served at a lot of get-togethers on the day set aside to honor our veterans. And it’s the perfect time, since May is generally considered to be National Burger Month across America.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m planning to fix burgers on the grill Monday. Besides my regular burgers, I’m going to try a recipe from Hubert Keller’s “Burger Bar” (Wiley, 168 pages) for Cilantro Pesto Burgers. Luckily, I have several of the ingredients on hand, including pesto and fresh cilantro.

Keller is well-known in culinary circles. His reputation was made at San Francisco’s renowned Fleur de Lys as well as his inventive Burger Bar at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay and, Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco.

Here’s the recipe, along with five tips for grilling the best burgers, from Mark Bucher, founder of BGR The Burger Joint, which has locations throughout 10 states and the District of Columbia and offers award-winning prime, dry aged beef burgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers. (The grain-fed beef burgers are made from all natural beef that contains no fillers. The restaurant chain focuses on providing healthier, fresher gourmet food options, served fast, including asparagus fries.)

1. Start natural. The best burgers are created by using good ingredients. Start with the best ingredients, no matter what kind of burgers you are making. Opt for the most natural, pure base that you can get. For example, if you are making beef burgers, opt for ground brisket that is free of hormones, antibiotics and fillers.
2. Prep the burger. Season your burger with a little sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and brush both sides with a small amount of canola oil. This will help prevent it from sticking to the grill, as well as giving it even more flavor.
3. Grill to perfection. Keep an eye on the grilling process of your burger. Burgers that are overcooked will become dried out. In order to get this right, you have to know how everyone prefers their burger, from slightly pink to well done, and everything in between. With practice, this is an area that can be mastered. Only flip once and use a theomometer to gauge doneness.
4. Choose your bun. Having a good bun to put the burger on should not be overlooked. Don’t skimp when it comes to the buns. Opt for a sesame coated brioche bun. One that is fresh and is going to add to the overall flavor.
5. Offer terrific toppings. Having an array of toppings can really make a big difference in burger taste. Along with the traditional condiments and veggies that people commonly add to their burgers, consider some new flavors, such as guacamole, salsa or grilled pineapple.

Cilantro Pesto Burgers
2 pounds ground chuck, chilled
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices provolone cheese
4 ciabatta buns
1 large tomato, sliced
Large handful arugula
CILANTRO ARUGULA PESTO:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
12 roasted, salted macadamia nuts
1 or 2 garlic cloves, to taste
2 cups packed arugula
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/3 teaspoon grated lime zest
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
GRILLED ONION STEAKS:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and cut into 4 thick slices
4 to 6 soaked bamboo skewers
For the pesto: Finely chop the nuts and garlic in a food processor. Add the cilantro, arugula, lime juice and zest and process to coarse puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a thin stream and process until smooth. Pulse in the cheese and season to taste. The pesto will keep, chilled, up to two days.
In a bowl, mix the meat, ¼ cup of the pesto and 1½ teaspoons pepper. Divide the meat into four evenly sized patties and chill several hours or overnight.
Preheat the barbecue for the onions. Whisk together the oil, mustard, honey and vinegar, and set aside. Thread 1 or 2 skewers through each onion slice. Brush the onions with the oil mixture and season with salt and pepper, then grill them for 15 minutes, flipping several times as they caramelize.
Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper, and grill for 7 to 10 minutes to desired doneness. For the last minute or two of cooking, drape a slice of cheese over each burger to melt.
To serve, spread the bun bottoms with pesto. Top with tomato and arugula. Add the patties and then a grilled onion.
Note: Time-pressed cooks may substitute a purchased basil pesto and sauteed onions.
Yield: Serves 4.

Shrimp and Chicken Sausage Paella

There are probably as many versions of paella as there are cooks who prepare them, but there are three that are most widely known.

Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables, while, mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans.

I’ve either made or sampled all three varieties, but it’s the kind with seafood that is my favorite, although my first experience with the Spanish dish, at the home of former Grand Forks residents Dan and Billie Jo Rylance, was the Valencian type. It was made by a foreign exchange student from Spain who was living with the Rylances. By all accounts, it was very delicious.

Since then, I’ve tried a few different cookbook recipes, but my favorite was from GQ magazine. It was contained in an article titled “May the Force Bewitch You,” by senior writer Andrew Corsello, who fixed the Shrimp iPaella! recipe for actress Mira Sorvino, who he was interviewing for a cover story.

After reading Corsello’s account of the seductiveness of the recipe (it contains a “freakish” amount of shrimp and is a bit labor intensive), I knew the recipe was right up my alley. I improvised on it slightly, adding pheasant breasts for my grandson who didn’t like shrimp, a little tomato paste and brown rice instead of white), I discovered “the power of paella” to which the writer spoke of, as did everyone else who tried it.

I got to thinking about that recipe after seeing the following one, which was adapted from one in Martha Stewart’s Every day Food magazine’s December 2003 issue. It was contained in an article by Susan M. Selasky of the Detroit Free Press that came via one of the Herald’s wire services.

What I like about the recipe is that it goes together in less than an hour and instead of using chicken thighs and Spanish chorizo, it calls for precooked chicken sausage.

Shrimp and Chicken Sausage Paella
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound chicken sausage, sliced in ½-inch rounds
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups long-grain rice
¼ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
Pinch of saffron
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt added diced tomatoes
2 14.5-ounce cans fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
In a shallow, heavy 12-inch saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp until just pink on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes (do not overcook). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining tablespoon oil and sausage to pan; cook over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rice; cook, stirring to coat, until rice is translucent; about 2 minutes.
Stir in paprika, saffron, tomatoes and broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed almost all liquid, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Stir in cooked shrimp; serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 385 calories,(30 percent of calories from fat, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 41 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 972 milligrams sodium, 126 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Salsa with Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat. They go together like bacon and eggs, salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots. All of those pairings make my mouth water.

But this time of the year, I just love what you can do with strawberries and rhubarb. And this summer, I have big plans. You see, My rhubarb is going great guns, and the strawberries, in just their second year, are spreading like crazy and look like they’re going to produce a real nice crop.

My first endeavor is going to be some jam, to go with peanut butter, of course. My mom always makes strawberry-rhubarb jam, but she uses a strawberry-flavored gelatin, not real the real fruit. I don’t know if she every used fresh strawberries, but that’s what my plans are.

Another thing I’d like to try this summer is a strawberry-rhubarb salsa recipe that recently came to my attention. The recipe calls for using the rhubarb raw, which appeals to me. Ever since I was a kid, raw rhubarb dipped in sugar has been a favorite. The salsa here is used as an accompaniment to grilled pork tenderloin.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Salsa with Grilled Pork Tenderloin
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 20-ounce pork tenderloin, trimmed
¾ cup diced rhubarb (about ¼ pound)
¼ cup diced strawberries (about 2 large)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno, or to taste
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, more if needed
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed
Preheat grill to very hot. Lightly oil grill grates.
In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, half the lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
Put tenderloin on plate and pour half of olive oil mixture over tenderloin. Rub oil mixture on all sides of tenderloin and set aside to rest at room temperature while grill heats. Reserve remaining olive oil mixture.
In a medium bowl, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, cilantro, jalapeno, remaining lime juice and sugar. Toss and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional sugar, if needed. Set aside until pork is cooked.
When grill is ready, cook pork tenderloin until its temperature reaches 145 degrees, turning to brown all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove pork from grill, cover with foil and allow to rest.
In a quart-size microwave-proof bowl, steam spinach in microwave for 3 minutes or until just wilted. Remove from microwave and toss with remaining olive oil mixture. Arrange on platter. Slice tenderloin in ½-inch pieces and arrange over spinach. Spoon salsa on platter and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 320 calories, 52 percent of calories from fat, 32 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 92 milligrams cholesterol, 395 milligrams sodium.

Pulled Pork Graduation Sliders

This is the time of the year for graduation parties. One way to avoid some of the hassles associated with these once-in-a-lifetime happenings, whether it’ high school or college, is to have the event catered. But not everyone can afford to dish out that kind of money.

If you’re a good cook or someone in the family is, it’s not that difficult to throw a few things together that will wow the guests and make the honoree proud at the same time.

The perfect food for such a memorable day would be one that could be made ahead of time. The following popular and easy recipe for pulled pork sliders fits that bill. It can be prepared up to two days before the party.

Pulled Pork Sliders
1 bone-in pork shoulder or Boston butt, about 5 pounds
FOR RUB:
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
FOR ROASTING:
1 14.5-ounces can beef or chicken broth
FOR SERVING:
1 16-ounce bottle favorite barbecue sauce
32 slider buns
Coleslaw
Place the pork shoulder on a sheet of plastic wrap. In a small bowl, mix together all the rub ingredients and rub all over pork. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
Remove pork from the refrigerator an hour before baking it, and remove plastic wrap. Set pork in a roasting pan that has a lid. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour beef or chicken broth in bottom of pan. Cover with lid (use foil if you don’t have a lid) and place in the oven.
Bake 3½ to 4½ hours (for 5-pound roast) or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. The pork is done when the bone slips out easily with no resistance. When the roast is nearly done, you can remove the lid or foil and baste the pork with pan juices so the outside browns and gets crispy. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Remove the bone and break roast apart into chunks. Let the chunks rest in the pan juices. Using forks, pull the roast pieces apart into shreds. Stir in desired amount of barbecue sauce. Serve ¼ cup pulled pork on each bun with coleslaw, if desired.
Note: To double recipe, use one 8- 10-pound or two 5-pound pork shoulders. For a larger pork shoulder, allow at least 6 hours cooking time.
Makes: 32 sliders
Approximate nutritional analysis per slider: 225 calories, 27 percent of calories from fat, 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 24 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 427 milligrams sodium, 48 milligrams cholesterol, no fiber.

Andouille and Beef Burgers with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions

What constitutes a good burger? Obviously, the patty is the most essential part. But if you discount the toppings, you’re missing a very important part of the equation.

I like to season my patties with a little salt, lemon pepper, Montreal Steak Seasoning as well as garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. This combination guarantees that my burgers are moist, have a lot of flavor and don’t turn into something that resembles hockey pucks when they are cooked on the grill.

As far as toppings, I like ketchup, mustard, fried onions, a slice of dill pickle and sometimes a dab of horseradish for a little extra kick. And there was a time I also liked to put a few potato chips on my burgers, a favorite of two of my cousins, Gordy and Dick.

Here’s a recipe from epicurious.com that looks as if  it would pass my test for a good burger. Especially appealing is the andouille sausage, a heavily smoked meat, and the spicy mayo, which gives the burger a distinct Cajun or Creole taste.

Andouille and Beef Burgers with Spicy Mayo and Caramelized Onions
SPICY MAYONNAISE:
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
BURGERS:
½ pound andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/4-inch cubes
¾ cup pecans, toasted, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground beef chuck or ground beef (20 percent fat)
CARAMELIZED ONIONS:
1½ pounds onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing grill rack
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
OTHER INGREDIENTS:
6 large hamburger buns, split
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
12 pickled okra pods, halved lengthwise
3 cups watercress tops
For spicy mayo, mix all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)
For burgers, toss first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Add beef; blend gently. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties. Transfer patties to small baking sheet. (Also can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
For onions, prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Toss onions and next 3 ingredients in large skillet. Place skillet on grill; cook until onions are golden, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Remove from grill; season with salt and pepper.
Brush grill rack with olive oil. Grill buns, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer buns to work surface. Grill burgers until brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn over; sprinkle with cheese. Grill until burgers are cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium. Place some onions, then burger, on each bun bottom. Top each with okra and watercress. Spread mayonnaise on cut side of bun tops; place on burgers. Serve with remaining mayonnaise.
Yield: Serves 6.

Triple Smoke Burger

Memorial Day is just around the corner. The unofficial kickoff to summer is the day when a lot of people break out their grill for the first time. And you can bet that there will be a lot of burgers on those backyard menus.

I’ve been grilling outdoors for a couple of months with the early spring and mild weather we’ve had. We’ve eaten everything from pheasant to elk to salmon. And yes, burgers.

I’m always looking for new burger recipes, so that’s why my eyes lit up after coming across an email from the folks at epicurious.com. The Internet missive said to keep Editor-in-Chief Tanya Steel on your radar because she has “top recipes, tips and tricks for flame-kissed fare and light, summery bits that will dazzle your palate” at the website.

Included are an all-grill menu for effortless summer entertaining, an entire menu of recipes, drink ideas and a step-by-step timeline for the perfect grill session. And there’s my favorite, top 21 burger recipes.

The burger recipes aren’t just for meat lovers, either. They include beef, turkey, cheese, veggie, and more. Here’s one that caught my eye.

Triple Smoke Burger
½ cup mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced chipotle in adobo, including some sauce, divided
8 bacon slices
1½ pounds ground beef chuck (not lean)
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 large red onion, cut into 4 ½ -inch thick rounds, each stuck with a wooden pick to keep it together
1 firm-ripe avocado, quartered lengthwise, peeled, and cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch thick slices
Olive oil for brushing on onion and avocado
4 hamburger buns, grilled or toasted
Lettuce, cilantro sprigs (optional)
In a food processor or blender, purée mayonnaise, mustard, and 1 tablespoon chipotle; transfer to a bowl.
Cook bacon in batches in a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain.
Gently mix beef with 1 tablespoon chipotle, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. Form into 4 (4-inch) patties.
Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
Meanwhile, brush both sides of onion rounds and avocado slices with olive oil.
Oil grill rack then grill onion rounds, turning over once, until slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes total. Discard wooden picks.
Grill avocado slices, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 30 seconds on each side.
Grill patties, covered only if using a gas grill, until they reach 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
Put sauce on buns and make burgers with lettuce, avocado, bacon, onion, and cilantro.
Yield: Serves 4.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs

What’s the most popular way to cook salmon? If you guessed grilling, you’re probably in agreement with a lot of people. Hot-off-the-grill salmon can’t be beat. And to top it off, it’s one of the easiest methods as well.

In the winter, if we grill, I like to use my Foreman. But once the weather turns nice, our backyard gas grill is the ticket for the fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a healthy choice, too.

But don’t overlook fixing salmon in the oven. One of my favorite ways is to bake salmon in a Dutch oven with a little onion, garlic, dill, lemon juice, white wine and olive oil.

One way I haven’t had salmon in the oven is using the kebab method. But I just might after looking over the following recipe from the American Institute of Cancer Research. Salmon chunks are complimented by plum tomatoes, mushrooms and slices of bell pepper and yellow squash in this tasty-looking recipe.

In this recipe, the salmon is marinated in a combination of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Italian seasonings, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, which gives it a decidedly Mediterranean flavor.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs
MARINADE:
Juice of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
KEBABS:
1 pound wild salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 small plum tomatoes, cut into quarters or 8 cherry tomatoes
4 large whole mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1 medium green bell pepper, deseeded, cut into 12 pieces
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 8 pieces
Canola oil cooking spray
4 skewers
In large mixing bowl combine juice, oil, garlic, seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well and divide in half.
Add salmon and vegetables to half of marinade and gently toss to coat pieces. Cover and marinate for about 30 minutes, occasionally rearranging pieces to ensure even coating.
Preheat oven broiler.
Spray large shallow baking dish. Remove skewers from water. Divide fish and vegetable pieces into 4 even portions. Arrange and distribute them evenly on skewers, being careful not to break the pieces.
Place on baking dish. Brush with remaining marinade not used for marinating raw fish. Broil for about 5 to 8 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade. Carefully turn over kebabs and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes, basting frequently until fish is done. Serve.
Note: If using wooden skewers (in lieu of metal ones), soak them in water for about 30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 259 calories, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 grams carbohydrates,
26 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 60 milligrams sodium.