Barbecue Bible!

Our textbook
Season 2

Show 206: Grateful Bread

Grilled Pizza? Of course - everything goes on the grill at BBQU®!

On the menu (page numbers indicate page in the Barbecue! Bible, unless otherwise noted):

  • Grilled Quesadillas (page 62)
  • Catalan Grilled Tomato Bread (page 105)
  • Tuscan Grilled Garlic Bread (page 106)
  • Naan (page 109)
  • Grilled Pizza (page 402)
Grilled Bread

I suppose it was bound to happen. The grill mania sweeping the country would eventually come to bread. After decades of grilling such predictable fare as meat, seafood, and vegetables, grill jockeys are turning to the last food you might expect to be cooked over live fire: bread.

The easiest way to grill bread is to use the glowing coals as a toaster. This is origin of Italian bruschetta (pronounced "broosketta"), thick slices of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Grilling adds a whole new dimension to garlic bread or pita bread, producing a slice that is crusty on the outside, moist inside, and permeated with the scent of smoke. This technique is beloved by the Spanish, who use it to make Catalan tomato bread.

You can also use the flames to cook the raw dough, as in the naan and grilled pizza recipes I demonstrated during the episode. But the type of grilled bread I make more than any other (and you probably will too) is the quesadilla. A recipe from the Bible follows, along with a recipe for a Grilled Avocado and Corn salsa like the one I invented on-air to accompany the quesadillas.

GRILLED QUESADILLAS printer-ready version

Ten years ago, few North Americans had ever heard of quesadillas. Now, we can't seem to live without them. These Mexican grilled cheese "sandwiches" (tortillas sandwiched with chilies and cheese) have taken the U.S. by storm. This is one dish you shouldn't wander away from when cooking. Tortillas burn like paper. Feel free to vary the ingredients for the filling.

Makes 48 wedges, enough to serve 8 to 12 as an appetizer, 4 as a light main course.

for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/4 cups coarsely grated jack or sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 3 pickled jalapeno chilies, thinly sliced (for spicier quesadillas, use thinly sliced fresh jalapenos)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 eight-inch flour tortillas

1. Combine the sour cream, cheese, scallions, tomato, cilantro, chilies, and cumin in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Lay 4 tortillas on a work surface and spread the sour cream mixture evenly on top. Press the remaining tortillas on top to make a sort of sandwich. Grill the tortillas until lightly browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning carefully with a large spatula. Cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges for serving.

A BBQU.net exclusive:
Grilled Avocado Corn Salsa printer-ready version

A salsa this simple lives or dies by the quality of the ingredients-ripe avocado, luscious tomato, sweet, crunchy corn. Grilling adds an extra dimension of flavor. To determine the ripeness of an avocado give it the Charmin test-the flesh should be gently yielding when the sides are squeezed.

Serves 4

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 luscious ripe red tomato
  • 1 ear fresh sweet corn, husked
  • 1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped or 3 tablespoons diced sweet onion
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno or Serrano chilies, seeded and minced (for a spicier salsa leave the seeds in)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. For the best results grill over wood, or toss some unsoaked wood chips or chunks (ideally oak or hickory) on the fire.

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise to the stone. Twist the halves in opposite directions to separate them. Sink the knife into the exposed pit and twist to remove and discard the seed.

Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the avocado (cut side down), tomato, and corn on the grate and grill until darkly browned, 3 to 5 minutes for the avocado, 6 to 8 minutes in all for the tomato and corn. The idea is to blister and blacken the skins, while leaving the vegetable raw in the center. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board and let cool.

Cut a crosshatch into each avocado half, through the flesh, to but not through the skin. Scoop out the avocado with a spoon into a mixing bowl-it should fall apart into a neat 1/4 inch dice. Dice the tomato into 1/4 inch dice. Cut the kernels off the corn. The easiest way to do this is to lay the cobs flat on a cutting board. Remove the kernels with lengthwise slices of a chefs knife. Add them to the avocado and tomato. The salsa can be prepared ahead several hours to this stage.

Just before serving, add the chili, cilantro and lime juice to the salsa ingredients and gently toss to mix. Add salt, pepper, and additional lime juice if needed-the salsa should be highly seasoned.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort