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Hot Off the Grill!


Recipes | By Margaret M. Johnson

Memorial Day, the official start of the grilling season, marks the first of many summer weekends when hot dogs, burgers, or steaks take center stage. All well and good for most cooks, but if you’re looking for a few new recipes to add to your grilling agenda for the rest of the season you might want to file these away for your next BBQ.


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Serves 6 TO 8

Ask your butcher to butterfly (bone and flatten) a leg of lamb for you for this recipe.

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup Irish whiskey

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (6 to 7 pound) butterflied leg of lamb

  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, whiskey, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika, rosemary, oregano, and pepper. Place lamb in a shallow dish and pour marinade over, reserving 1/4 cup for basting. Turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Turn lamb 2-3 times during marinating to coat evenly.

  2. Remove lamb from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Light a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Transfer lamb

to cooking rack and grill for about 1 hour (for medium rare), turning every 15 minutes and basting with reserved marinade. Serve with Colcannon Potato Cake.


Serves 2

1 small cabbage, cored, quartered, and shredded

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-in. pieces

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 small leek (white and green parts), washed and sliced

1/2 cup milk


Ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons canola oil, for frying

  1. In separate medium saucepans, cook cabbage and potatoes in salted boiling water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain cabbage and chop; drain potatoes and mash. Combine in a large bowl with butter.

  2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine leeks and milk. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until leeks are tender. Stir into potato mixture and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Transfer potato mixture to a work surface and pat into a 1/2-inch-thick round. With an offset spatula or your fingers, smooth top. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cold. With a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 4 rounds.

  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook potato cakes for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until browned and heated through; keep warm.



2 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

8 large white mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

3/4 cup beef stock

3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Sea salt

Ground pepper

Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish


2 (8 to 10 ounces each) rib eye steaks

Olive oil

Sea salt

Ground pepper

  1. Make sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and oil. Add garlic, shallot, and mushroom and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in honey and mustard and cook for 1 minute. Add whiskey and stock and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by half.

  2. Whisk in cream and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

  3. Make steaks. Light a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Season meat on both sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill to desired doneness (130°F for rare, 140°F for medium, 150°F for well-done). To serve, put a steak on each plate and serve with potato cake; spoon sauce over steak.



Serves 6

These two grilled vegetables — yes, lettuce can be grilled — are perfect with steaks, lamb, or burgers. The sauce is also delicious on baked potatoes.

Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream or mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


Ground pepper

1 tablespoon each chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, dill, or chives

Grilled Tomatoes

6 large tomatoes, cut in half horizontally

Olive oil, for brushing

Grilled Romaine

3 to 4 romaine hearts (the tight inner leaves of the lettuce)

3 tablespoons olive oil


Ground pepper

  1. Make dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Let stand for 20 to 25 minutes. (Suggestion: make a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

  2. Make tomatoes. Brush cut side of tomatoes with olive oil and grill, cut-side down, for 3 too 5 minutes, or until warm.

  3. Make romaine. Discard any large outer leaves. Cut about 1inch off top of each lettuce and trim about 1/2 inch off bottom (leave root end intact). Brush olive oil all over lettuce and season with salt and pepper. Grill lettuce, turning frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

  4. Serve tomatoes and lettuce (can be cut lengthwise) topped with a spoonful of dressing; pass additional dressing.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page has expanded to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com.