CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shish kebabs. They're as fun to say as they are to eat. Sometimes they're spelled shish kababs, kabob, kebob or even cabob depending on the recipe's country of origin, but they all mean the same thing: "skewers of roasted meat."
Shish kebab combinations are endless. They're great for entertaining. The host can skewer them ahead of time, or set up a shish kebab bar and encourage guests to create their own combinations.
If guests are assembling their kebabs, moist hand wipes on the table are a must because marinades are the key to tender, flavorful chunks. Marinated meat is messy to thread onto skewers.
A colorful skewer of marinated meat or seafood interspersed with bright red, green or yellow peppers, purple onion or eggplant, yellow squash, red cherry tomatoes and green zucchini makes a great presentation, but they're not easy to eat. Inevitably, some item sticks to the skewer, the diner exerts force to remove it and the skewer's contents fly off, often landing anywhere but the plate.
When grilling kebabs, I usually skewer the meats and vegetables separately. After they're cooked, I push the food off the skewers and into a big platter to serve. It's easier to scoop the grilled mixture out of the platter than it is to pull them off the skewer.
If you do mix your kebabs, cut the meat in small enough chucks that it won't take too long to cook and ruin the vegetables. And if you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 15 minutes so they won't catch fire.
Some suggested combinations and marinades are listed below, but try any combination you'd like. They're hard to skewer up.
@tag:Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Dijon Rosemary Steak Kebabs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, stemmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
Mushrooms, onions, peppers, cooked new potatoes, all cut into 1-inch pieces
WHISK mustard, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.
TOSS the steak in the mixture until evenly coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
ADD vegetables to mixture about 15 minutes before assembling skewers.
HEAT grill to medium-high.
THREAD ingredients on skewers.
GRILL to desired doneness.
Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
3 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoon tahini sauce
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 onions, cut into cubes and layers separated
2 sweet bell peppers, any color, cut into cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
MIX garlic, white pepper, mustard powder, mayonnaise, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, oregano and salt in a large bowl.
ADD chicken pieces to bowl, stir to cover and marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
THREAD chicken pieces and vegetables onto skewers, alternating items.
HEAT grill to medium heat.
GRILL kebabs for 5 to 8 minutes, checking for doneness.
Chili Lime Shrimp Kebabs
1 lime, juiced and finely grated zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper