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Aug 14, 2009 10:16 AM

an impressive and easy summer dinner

I have the parents coming over to visit - Dad's wife is a great cook and also never happy with anything. What can I grill that will be easy yet impressive? I am also open to any side item suggestions.

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    1. Grilled chicken cutlets that were marinated in oil, white wine vinegar, garlic & Thyme. Serve over rice pilaf or couscous, with grilled seasonal vegetables.

      Grilled butterflied leg of lamb, marinated in olive oil, garlic & rosemary, sliced thin with pita breads, couscous or tabboule salad with parsley & chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers & mint.

      Grilled pork tenderloin, rubbed with salt, pepper, brown sugar, cumin & some mild chile pepper, basted with an orange juice, lime juice, honey & oil mixture while on the grill, sliced thin, served over a rice pilaf and some mango salsa and pickled red onions.

      If you need any of these ideas fleshed out into recipes, let me know!

      9 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Hi phurstluv, dinner is this Saturday. I love your butterflied leg of lamb idea but am a bit scared since have never grilled lamb. I have roasted it in the oven and love lamb. Can you guide me through it and give me a recipe. I think I will make the sliced cucumbers and mint and couscous. How long should I marinate it and what size? There will be 8 of us plus some for leftovers - love lamb sandwiches. I have a gas grill with a rotisserie if necessary can make smoke pouches.

        1. re: chloesabrina

          Sure, hope I can be of some help. It's actually pretty easy, and you don't need to smoke it. Throw some whole garlic heads in foil on the grill while the lamb is cooking, it's a great accompaniment with pita bread & hummus.

          Get a butterflied leg of lamb, about 5-6 lbs should be enough with leftovers (there's little waste) from the butcher, if it comes in a net, take it out and discard it. It should all be pretty flat, if he's left the wide rounded piece, you may want to butterfly it as well, or just grill it separately keeping in mind it will take longer to cook. But remember, don't overcook it, lamb is wonderful at rare (125 degrees) to medium rare or medium.

          Rub the raw meat with a mixture (do it in a small bowl first) of 6 large cloves of garlic, minced, and a mixture of dried thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano & savory (like an herbes de Provence mixture) about 1/3 of a cup, along with about 1/4 cup of good olive oil, plus lots of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate, for about 6 hours. Make sure to let the meat come up to room temp before grilling, about 1/2 hour.

          Heat your grill to medium hi, about 6" from heat, and grill the lamb about 10 minutes per side, until temp reads about 135 for medium rare. Of course, do it to your taste, but always err on the side of under-done for lamb. Let rest tented with foil for about 15 mins before slicing thinly. You can always roast it if you feel more comfortable with that, but it's really easy to cook either way.

          Just to be legal, I must state that this is a Martha Stewart recipe, but I've been using it for about ten years now and get nothing but raves. I also have some great recipes for accompaniments if you would like them, like a black olive relish, roasted provencal tomatoes and an haricot verts & goat cheese salad with almonds that she used with this menu. I haven't done it for a few years now, but my friends still rave about that meal. Hope that helps and good luck!!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            i emphasize a point made by phurstluv. not all butterflied lamb comes perfectly grill-ready from the butcher. unless you know that some guests will want medium-plus meat, look critically at the butterfly to identify any significant variations in thickness. you will likely want to remedy such variations either by "sub-butterflying" or even by removing the outsized pieces and timing them differently.

            if the butcher is cutting the meat to your order, tell him that you intend to grill the piece flattened out and that you'd appreciate his efforts to help you get a uniform thickness.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              thanks, I will post how it turned out next week. It sounds delicous - think I may add the haricot vertts and goat cheese salad with almonds. Just had 4 more people added to the dinner.

              1. re: chloesabrina

                in my judgment, one leg of lamb might not comfortably feed a dozen. you'd be in portion mode for certain. of course, perhaps your guests are polite and don't eat as much as our gobbling friends.

                1. re: silverhawk

                  Depending on the size, how much leftovers you want and how many sides you have with it, you may decide to order two legs, talk to your meat man about how many you plan to serve.


                  Serves 6

                  2 oz. whole almonds (about ½ cup)
                  Coarse salt
                  1 ½ lbs haricots verts, ends trimmed
                  1 ½ tsp. sherry vinegar
                  1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
                  Freshly ground pepper
                  2 ½ oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled

                  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Toast until they are fragrant and golden about 10 mins. Remove from oven, let cool. Roughly chop; set aside

                  2. Meanwhile, bring a stockpot of water to a boil, and add salt and haricots verts. Cook until color brightens and beans are crisp tender, about 4 mins. Transfer to a baking sheet; let cool, about 5 mins.

                  3. While still warm, toss beans in a serving bowl with vinegar and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add goat cheese and stir to melt slightly and coat beans. Sprinkle with almonds.

                  Note: I have also roasted the haricots verts, tossed in oil instead of par-boiling them. You can also get a couple of the packages that are trimmed already, and just vent & steam in the microwave. Hope this helps.

            2. re: chloesabrina

              If you're grilling lamb, you could also grill naan bread. It's easy and so good off the grill. Or, double the extra dough, refrigerate and grill the next day for your sandwiches (make tatsiki w/ the cucumber leftovers). The grill gives it a nice char and crunch. It also looks impressive to make your own bread.


              1. re: chowser

                Yum, what a good idea!! Will have to try that next time I make the lamb menu!

                1. re: chowser

                  These ideas are all so good, now I am starting to look forward to making this dinner. How long ahead can I make the dough for the naan? I would like to make it maybe Thursday and keep until Saturday night or I can make it Saturday AM.

                  I'm starting to get hungry

            3. you might want to consider letting the ingredients do the talking for you. how about the best available ribeyes cut extra thick served with grilled caprese salad (with garden-fresh tomatoes, local basil and some nice mozzi) and rosemary-roasted potatoes from the oven (local rosemary for sure.) if you've got good local corn, you might throw some on the grill, too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: silverhawk

                Good call, you can get prime rib eyes at Costco for 9.99 / lb, at least in my area (LA).

              2. I love simple scallops on the grill then just drizzle with a little honey(or agave nector) mixed with a tiny bit of vanilla) - grilled summer vegies on the side or just a simple panzanella salad.

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