By Lori Bosworth
We are fast approaching the midpoint of summer and you may be spending half your time entertaining on the patio. Are you getting it right? We asked Executive Chef Chris Mills of JOEY Restaurants to share his top five tips for successful grilling this summer season:
1. Plan Before You Entertain
Before the invites go out, sit down and plan your menu. Keep it simple so you don’t spend your whole evening in the kitchen. Serve dishes you can make ahead of time and just quickly reheat/grill/assemble during your party. This allows you to spend time with your guests.
2. Include Hearty salads
Salads are great for the summer season as you can source ingredients from your local market. Incorporate your favourite grilled meat with things like shaved fennel, ripe tomatoes, sliced radish topped with fresh ripped herbs and soft goat cheese. Anything goes. Toss the salad with a simple vinaigrette.
3. Choose the right grilled meats
The price of beef varies as much as the seasons and during the summer, prime grilling season, the price of beef is at its highest. This is when you can use your culinary skills to make cheaper cuts shine. A skirt steak has great value, is packed full of flavour and when marinated and grilled properly, it eats great. This steak needs a touch of vinegar, oil and your favorite spice mixture. Marinate overnight, then grill over very high heat. Take it off the grill at medium rare. Slice it thin in front of your guests for a wow factor your guests will love.
4. Summer is mortar and pestle season
The mortar and pestle is the perfect match with almost any fresh herb, a little olive oil and some seasoning. Don’t get stuck into thinking that the only type of pesto is made with basil and garlic. Try making a smashed fresh mint pesto with hazelnuts for your grilled lamb or a chimichurri sauce with fresh parsley, fresh oregano and fresh cilantro for your grilled beef.
5. Make it social
At your next party, include an action station; it’s social and fun. A taco station on the patio is not only fun, but won’t tie you to the kitchen. Grill or bake some fish so guests can build their own tacos.
About JOEY Restaurant Group:
JOEY Restaurant Group has several locations across Canada and three locations in Toronto including JOEY Eaton Centre, JOEY at the Shops at Don Mills and JOEY Yorkdale. Led by Executive Chef Chris Mills, who has competed on Iron Chef Japan, placed fifth in the world at the Bocuse d’Or, and has cooked for the James Beard Foundation, JOEY focuses on fresh, quality ingredients.