I bought a new grill and I have been nothing short of obsessed with it. I have grilled something every single day since I acquired it two weeks ago.
Tonight it was broccoli raab. Delicious! I've even grilled kale. Spectacular. Though as I was doing it, I imagined that It's gotta be pretty high up on a man's list of nightmares. To smell the intoxicatingly smoky barbecue, then to open the lid, mouth watering, and see nothing but green leaves.
It has only very recently become warm enough for a reasonable person to consider dining al fresco. But from the second it was tolerable (with the added warmth of a scarf, a blanket, and a warm sweater), I have toughed it out.
I'm not trying to sound heroic here, my stepdad in New Brunswick wears nothing but shorts and his hairy legs as soon as the sun is out, irrespective of how much snow is left on the ground. "All the better to chill my beer!", he would say - offering you one, too.
The other night I emerged onto our balcony with a beer in one hand and a plate of grilled chicken in the other, toasty warm in my flannel pj's when I heard the wailing sirens in the distance. And then two fire trucks came whirling around the corner, screeching to a halt right in front of our building. I was already settled in, so I cracked my beer, picked up my fork, and decided to enjoy my dinner with a show (hoping, of course, that nobody was actually hurt!). This was certainly much more exciting than monitoring the tow-away zone.
Somewhat concerned, I continued my meal in silence, half expecting to see a stretcher to materialize followed by plumes of acrid smoke.
A few moments later, the firemen filed back out of our building, wielding their axes and other fireman things, looking a bit perplexed with their gazes shifted upwards. I craned my neck up to see what they were looking at. Nothing but blue sky!
Then to my bewilderment they were directly beneath our balcony. About a half dozen of firemen in full gear. Shielding their eyes and squinting up at.... me? Yes, me. In my Christmas pyjamas, fork paused mid air, a wobbly piece of chicken dangling off its prongs, with my mouth gaping - half stunned, and half in anticipation of the next juicy bite.
In a bizarre romeo-and-juliet scenario, the chief shouted gruffly up to me - HEY. ARE YOU ALLOWED BARBECUES UP THERE?
"Umm.....I .... umm... er.... I.... think so?", I sputtered, beer spraying a bit.
Now I had a good audience built up. Two trucks' worth of firemen and their chief, a dozen concerned neighbours from our own building, a crowd from the community centre across the street, plus about 25 curious passers-by. And their dogs. All looking for smoke, but only seeing me in my reindeer jammies.
I squeaked out a feeble offer of some chicken to compensate for their wasted time. But the chicken was kinda burnt. Hence the smoke. Ah well. They were nice about it.
Know what happened? The lady in the apartment above ours saw a tuft of smoke waft past her window. She dialed 911. The firemen came. With their hoses. With their ladders. With their axes. With their chief.
The good news is, nothing was actually scorched except my chicken and my ego, and barbecues ARE allowed on our balconies. I sure hope neighbour lady can discern the smoke of delicious chicken from the smoke of burning building in the future. Jeesh, people.
Obviously the experience didn't deter me from my grilling ambitions, because today I bring you one of my favourites - grilled indian-spiced lamb chops.
Lots of warm spices, garlic, ginger, and lime. Succulent lamb chops. Major flavour impact for minimal time investment.
I suggest in the recipe that you marinate the chops for an hour or more, but I've made them in a pinch on a weeknight and they were still delicious after a measly ten minute soak. The spices to grab on.
Feel free to use the spices as a jumping board - sometimes I add a pinch of cinnamon, or some cayenne. I omit the ginger when I don't have it fresh. Play around.
Please excuse the recipe formatting - I'm experimenting.
- 3 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 4 lamb chops, each about 1 1/2 inches thick
Combine first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish and add lamb chops, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator to marinate at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
Before grilling, remove chops from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes in advance).
Preheat grill for 10 minutes. Grill over direct high heat, keeping the lid closed as much as possible during cooking for 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare or until desired doneness. Transfer to a serving plate, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes before serving for the juices to redistribute.