Nu­tri­tion

Go­ing be­yond meat at the bar­be­cue

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Kadey

How to grill cheese, wa­ter­melon and kale on the bar­be­cue

Is there any­thing that isn’t made bet­ter by the smoky sear of a grill? Nope. Nothing. If you can eat it, then gen­er­ally, you can likely grill it. So it’s a shame that most peo­ple stick to the usual bar­be­cue sus­pects when it comes to out­door cook­ery over a flame. Yes, we’re look­ing at you Mr. Steak and Ms. Chicken Breast. From shell­fish to sea­sonal fruits, it’s time to think of the grill as an ul­tra-ver­sa­tile cook­ing medium that is ready to pre­pare all sorts of food that can boost your rides. Try send­ing these items to the fire to break away from ham­burger’s long shadow.

Hal­loumi

Hail­ing orig­i­nally from Cyprus, hal­loumi is a squeaky cheese that is both a source of pro­tein and salt mak­ing it a great re­cov­ery food af­ter a spir­ited ride. But what’s truly great about this dairy im­port is that it doesn’t melt when heated. You can toss slabs on the grill like you would a hunk of steak. The out­side be­comes crispy while the in­te­rior turns vel­vety. Look for blocks of hal­loumi in Mid­dle East­ern mar­kets or at cheese coun­ters in some larger su­per­mar­kets.

Fire it up Place the hal­loumi onto one of its long sides and slice length­wise into two big slabs. Brush with oil and heat un­til grill marks ap­pear on both sides, one to two min­utes per side. Or skewer chunks of hal­loumi for a riff on ke­babs.

Mus­sels

If the only seafood you drop on the grill grates is salmon or tuna, it’s time to go fish for ex­cit­ing alternatives, such as briny mus­sels. Not only are these shell­fish in­ex­pen­sive, packed with pro­tein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats and ul­tra-sus­tain­able, they are crazy easy to grill. What bet­ter way to feed a hun­gry back­yard crowd?

Fire it up Build a medium-hot fire in a char­coal grill, or heat a gas grill to medi­umhigh. Rinse mus­sels un­der cold wa­ter and dis­card any open ones that don’t close shut when tapped. Place mus­sels on a grill grate, close lid and grill un­til the shells pop open (four to six min­utes). Re­move mus­sels from grill with tongs and place in a large bowl. Dis­card any that did not open. Squeeze on some lemon juice and scat­ter on a bunch of fresh herbs.

Kale

Corn isn’t the only veg­etable you should be grilling. Kale can also ben­e­fit from a touch of char. You’ll reap the re­wards of its nu­tri­tional punch, in­clud­ing huge amounts of im­mune-boost­ing vi­ta­min A and bone-strength­en­ing vi­ta­min K. Use Tus­can (di­nosaur) kale be­cause its sturdy flat leaves are less likely to burn than curly kale, which has edges prone to singe­ing.

Fire it up Trim tough ends from a bunch of Tus­can kale, place in a bowl and toss with oil. In batches, place kale on grill and cook over medium heat, turn­ing once, un­til slightly crispy and dark­ened in a few spots, about two min­utes. Chop kale into 2" pieces and place in a large bowl along with other veg­gies and dress­ing.

Wa­ter­melon

There are few ways to beat the heat and to stay hy­drated all sum­mer long bet­ter than eating co­pi­ous amounts of wa­ter­melon. As a bonus, the quin­tes­sen­tial fruit of the sea­son is a source of the po­tent an­tiox­i­dant ly­copene. Most peo­ple would not think to grill up slabs of wa­ter­melon, but when you do, they be­come down­right meaty. They can be used in both sweet and sa­vory ap­pli­ca­tions, such as a top­ping for yo­gurt or sal­ads.

Fire it up Slice about a half inch off the bot­tom of a wa­ter­melon half so it sits flat. Slice away the rind. Turn the melon block on its side and cut it into slabs and then slice each piece in half so you have sev­eral wa­ter­melon half moons. Brush wa­ter­melon with oil and gen­tly sea­son with salt. Place on hot grill grate and heat un­til grill marks ap­pear, about three min­utes per side.

Tofu

Grilling tofu is a sure­fire way to make the plant-based pro­tein more palat­able, per­haps even crave-able. Since re­cent ev­i­dence sug­gests peo­ple who get more pro­tein from plants than from meats are less likely to suc­cumb to life-short­en­ing chronic dis­eases. The key is to rid tofu slabs of their ex­cess wa­ter so they can get a good sear.

Fire it up Slice tofu along its width into two slabs. Line a cut­ting board with a cou­ple sheets of pa­per towel. Top with tofu pieces and a cou­ple more sheets of pa­per towel. Press gen­tly to ex­tract ex­cess liq­uid. Brush both sides of the tofu with oil, and sea­son with salt and chili pow­der. Grill tofu squares over medium-high heat un­til golden and grill marks ap­pear, about four min­utes per side. Give the tofu a 90-de­gree turn half­way through cook­ing each side to pro­duce a nice cross-hatch pat­tern and even bet­ter flavour.

“Wa­ter­melon can be used in both sweet and sa­vory ap­pli­ca­tions.”

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