Lamb Loin and Zucchini
Seasonal ingredients and ethnic flavor combos are signatures of Jill Vedaa's cooking. So it's no surprise Rockefeller's executive chef takes inspiration from the garden as well as Greece for her go-to kebab. "Zucchini is one of my favorite grilled veggies," Vedaa says. "The combination with a flavorful meat like lamb is unbeatable." She tops it off with marinated feta, powdered pine nuts and sun-dried tomato relish — "just to pump up the flavor, color and texture," she says.
- 2 boneless lamb loins
- 1 medium zucchini
- Small container of pine nuts
- 4-ounce block feta
- 1 small red onion
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 10 sun-dried tomato halves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Olive oil
- Fresh parsley and basil
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the lamb and zucchini to a similar size about a half-inch square.
- In separate bowls, season with salt and pepper and a small amount of oil.
- Skewer meat then zucchini, about four or five pieces on each metal skewer.
- Grill over a medium heat so as not to burn, about 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
- Toast the pine nuts, put into a food processor and pulse until granular but not pasty.
- For the relish, mince red onion and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add red wine vinegar and sugar. Mince the sun-dried tomato and add to the red onion mix. Break the feta into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper, chopped fresh herbs and olive oil.
- When the kebabs are off the grill, spoon the relish and feta over, and then sprinkle with the pine nut dust.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Curry
Ligali's Bistro executive chef Eric Wells has always had a passion for Asian flavors. "I love the four S's — salty, sweet, spicy and sour," he says. To make his chicken kebab, he marinates chicken breast in a mixture of soy sauce, citrus, lemongrass, garlic, spices and tamarind. "Tamarind is used in Southeast Asian cooking similar to the way that we use citrus," he explains. "It's sweet and a little tart." A peanut curry dipping sauce adds sweetness and spice.
- 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
- 1 lemongrass stalk, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour.
- Remove the skewers from the water and thread chicken on the skewers.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a food processor and blend to a paste. Transfer marinade back to the bowl.
- Add the chicken skewers to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When ready to prepare, grill the skewers for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside to rest.
Scallop, Pineapple and Bacon
John Kolar's sea scallops, bacon, pineapple and red onion kebabs will transport you to an oceanside resort. "Bacon with scallops seems to go really well together," says the Thyme2 Pub and Fine Dining chef and owner. "Scallops are a little bit sweet, then you've got the saltiness going on with the bacon and the tanginess of the pineapple that gives it a little bit of a tropical feel." He cautions against overcooking this delicate seafood, which takes about 8 minutes to fully cook. "Just be careful about flare-ups with the bacon."
- 1 pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red onion, halved and cut into pedals
- 12-14 slices thick-cut bacon, par-cooked and drained of fat
- 10-12 large sea scallops
Start by sliding the first piece of bacon on a skewer, holding it close to the point of the skewer. Alternate remaining ingredients, sliding bacon on in a zigzag after each item.
- 2 cups honey
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- Combine ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches the light syrup stage, about 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from heat, chill and serve alongside skewers.