Whole Meal on the Grill


Last December, these good cooking friends came to take a short Italian class with me and liked it so well (ah, gee) they returned en masse to redeem the class gift certificate one gave to the rest for a Christmas gift–on the condition that we attempt a grilling class. Onward, upward.  “Sure,” I said.  I also said, “I’m not a big outdoor griller. I grill inside.  A lot. I have at least 3 stovetop grills.  Dave, however, grills outside. I eat.” (Why should I learn to grill outdoors?!)  But I figured between Dave and I, we could come up with a full grill menu everyone would lust after.  Or, rather, I’d come up with the menu, and Dave would light and “man” the behemoth gas grill we bought to try and keep up with all his grilling love.

Often, on the blog, you see Dave thus:

Rotterdam-Dave at De Ballentent

Rotterdam-Dave at De Ballentent

And while, to you, it might appear his typical pose, he actually works very hard at his daily job, practices trombone as much as possible, takes excellent care of me, and then, in good weather, looks like this at home:


Did I say he cleans the kitchen quite a bit?  All right, he walks on water.

If you’re looking for an entire meal on the grill for Memorial Day or any other day, this one just might be it. It’ll feed 6-8 people generously and could provide a few leftovers at the end of the day.  First are a long slew of happy pictures, beginning with an overview of the menu; the recipes follow. At the very end is a link to click so that you can view the recipes in a printable form.  ENJOY YOUR GRILL!

                                                               (Basic grilling technique link here.)

Try this:


Grilled Mini-Naan Pizzas with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese  (Prosecco)





Grilled Caesar Salad (Chardonnay)




Grilled Lemon Salmon and Tinfoil-Packet Vegetables with Avocado Mayonnaise (Oregon Pinot Noir or Chardonnay)



Grilled Pineapple with Ice Cream and Maple Syrup (Sparkling Rosé)



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COURSE #2–Salad:  GRILLED CAESAR SALAD with grilled croutons

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Course #3:  Main Course–Lemon Salmon with Tinfoil-Packet Vegetables and Avocado Mayo

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Course #4:  Dessert, fruit–Grilled Pineapple with Ice Cream and Maple Syrup
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makes 6 mini pizzas or 16 small pieces

Begin a bit more than an hour ahead of when you need these pizzas because the onions take 45 minutes to caramelize. There’s little work involved, but there is time. (Inspiration from a recipe by Jo-Anna Rooney.)

▪ 2 large onions, thinly sliced

▪ 4 tablespoons olive oil–plus more for brushing the naan

▪ Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

▪ 1/2 teaspoon each dry thyme and brown sugar

▪ 2 cloves garlic, minced

▪ 1/4 cup white wine

▪ 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

▪ 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

▪ 4 6-inch mini-naan flat breads such as StoneFire

For garnish, optional: 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped,

and/or chopped fresh basil or 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

In a large heavy skillet, over medium-low heat, warm the oil and add the onions. Season them liberally with salt, pepper, and the thyme. Cook very slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes until nearly golden. Add the brown sugar, garlic, and white wine; cook another 5 minutes or so until the wine has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling over medium heat. Brush both sides of each naan bread with a little olive oil and season lightly on one side with salt and pepper. Top the breads with enough caramelized onions to nearly cover them and then add a generous amount of grated Gruyere (2-3 tablespoons each) over the onions. Sprinkle with just a little Parmesan cheese.

Grill and let heat through until cheese is totally melted–perhaps 5-8 minutes or more, depending on how hot you have your grill. Watch carefully, you don’t want these overdone.

Remove pizzas back to board using a large spatula or pizza paddle, garnish if desired, let sit a minute, and cut each naan into 4 pieces. (Or eat whole!) Serve hot or at room temp.

Leftovers good cold or very briefly—30 seconds– heated in microwave.

Note:  Pizza filling based on a recipe from Joanna Rooney                                                            

GRILLED CAESAR SALAD with grilled croutons             6+ servings

Clean greens 4 – 24 hours ahead of serving. Dressing can also be made one day ahead; bring to room temperature before serving. This is a heavy Caesar with chunky pieces of crispy-grilled bread.

  • 4 hearts of Romaine, sliced into quarters (more or less as determined by size of the head) lengthwise, cores intact
  • 6 pieces baguette or crusty white bread
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (4-ounce piece of cheese)
  • Caesar Dressing (recipe below or use your own)

CAESAR DRESSING: (Blend all but the oil very well in a food processor. Drizzle in oil slowly until emulsified.)

  • ½ each teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 anchovy fillets, mashed well—optional, but you’ll miss it if you don’t use it
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco (or less to taste)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 each:  tablespoon mayonnaise and/or 1 raw egg yolk: BOTH ARE OPTIONAL
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 2 tablespoons good–quality white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil

GREENS: Rinse  well and drain 10 minutes in colander. Roll in paper or cotton towels; let dry on counter 10 minutes and then allow to crisp in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

VINAIGRETTE: In a food processor or a bowl with a whisk, process or mix together very well salt and pepper – white wine vinegar.  Drizzle the olive oil in slowly until emulsified or well-blended.  Taste by dipping a piece of lettuce or a small piece of vegetable into the vinaigrette; adjust seasonings as needed. Should be quite piquant and somewhat spicy.

PREPARE GRILL: Prepare gas or charcoal fire for direct grilling over medium heat. (350 degrees F)

GRILL BREAD: Brush bread slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until toasted, about 1 minute on each side.

GRILL GREENS: Drizzle with olive oil on a sheet pan; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Grill greens cut side down 1-2 minutes or until grill marks show. Turn over and repeat.

SERVE: Place greens on a large platter (or on individual serving plates), add grilled bread, a generous drizzle of Caesar dressing, and some grated Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.



  1. Make the avocado mayo first and set aside. (recipe next page)
  2. Grill vegetables in foil packet, place on grill shelf to keep warm (or wrapped in towel on counter/table)
  3. Grill salmon and serve with vegetables and avocado mayo.


  • 1 large red onion, peeled, and cut into 1/8s (or approximate)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, cored, deveined, and cut into eight “cheeks”
  • 3 yellow squash (summer squash), sliced into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 zucchini, sliced into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper (or more/less to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Tear off 2 large sheets of foil for each at least two packets (or use heavy-duty foil) . Divide mixed, seasoned vegetables between the packets, tent slightly, and seal tightly.   Cook 10-12 minutes, turning once mid-way through cooking time. Remove and keep warm until salmon is done. (see game plan)


  • 1 side of salmon   (2-3 pounds) with skin on and pin bones removed
  • Canola oil
  • Salt Pepper
  • 3 Lemons–2 sliced and 1 cut into Eighths
  • ¼ cup each chopped fresh parsley and basil

GRILLING: Oil grill grates, then preheat grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, brush salmon all over very well with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside  or in fridge on a sheet pan.                                          

Arrange salmon on grill, skin-side down and cook, gently flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked to desired doneness, up to about 15 minutes total. To flip the salmon, use two large spatulas. Or use a rimless baking sheet to help you flip the salmon and slide it back onto the grill to cook on the second.

Place sliced lemon evenly over salmon as it finishes cooking. When done, carefully transfer salmon to a large platter with vegetables, scatter herbs over the top and serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. Dot platter with avocado sauce or serve on the side.

AVOCADO SAUCE (Avocado Mayo or Aioli)

 Into a food processor bowl fitted with metal blade, measure:

  • 2 tablespoons good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 2 room-temperature egg yolks
  • one peeled, seeded, and chopped avocado
  • 1 tablespoon or so of minced red onion or shallots
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup each olive and canola or other neutral oil
  • Hot sauce (Tabasco is good)
  • Lemon juice 

Blend all but oil, hot sauce, and lemon juice, (vinegar – black pepper) until very smooth. With machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil until mixture is well-blended or emulsified.  Add a drop or two of hot sauce and stir.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Add a little lemon juice. Taste and adjust again if needed. Use immediately or store, tightly wrapped in fridge for up to one day.                                                                                      



  • Link above for food blogger David Lebovitz’ post on making aioli by hand. You’ll just have to add the mashed/pureed avocados as you like. While you’re there, enjoy all of David’s beautiful and always entertaining recipes, photos, and stories from Paris and elsewhere.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


  • 1 large Pineapple, well-rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • ¾ cup good quality maple syrup 

Cut off top, peel, core, and slice pineapple into at least eight pieces. Brush with oil lightly and grill over medium heat until browned—several minutes; turn each piece brown other side. Plate each piece of pineapple, let cool for a few minutes, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and drizzle with maple syrup.






Sing  a new song; grill all day long,


2 thoughts on “Whole Meal on the Grill

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