This month we’ve been taking a look at how to make the most out of your grill. We spoke with Sobeys Chef Mike O’Hanlon to get some new and improved ideas for summer.
Dietitians Network of Nova Scotia (DNNS): Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Chef Mike! Tell us, what is your favourite thing about grilling?
Chef Mike: Oh man, I love everything about it! You’re outside, it’s relaxing, you don’t have to clean your kitchen afterwards – or at least you have very little to clean up. I think grilling on the barbeque is how a lot of chefs like to cook when they aren’t in a kitchen. It’s just a completely different experience. One of the things I love about living in Canada now that’s really different to England (where he grew up) is that people here grill all year round! I see my neighbors outside in all kinds of weather. This year I even shoveled a path to my grill so I could get to it! It’s very different in England, I guess it’s just not as much a part of the culture.
DNNS: What are some of the common mistakes you see home-cooks making when they’re grilling?
Chef Mike: The biggest one is not preheating your grill. This is super important. If you don’t preheat your grill you have a much harder time cleaning all the charred bits off of it, and you can end up having your food stick to the grill. I always turn my barbeque on about 10 minutes before I want to start cooking, and just let it get nice and hot with the lid down.
DNNS: Since you grill often, how do you keep it interesting?
Chef Mike: I like to try and make unique foods on the grill, or foods you wouldn’t normally make, like pizza, or seafood. Seafood is so delicate that a lot of people are scared to grill with it, but you can do a lot on the grill with it! I’ve been experimenting with these little BBQ foil packets – I call them BBQ Thai Pockets – and they are so quick and delicious!
DNNS: Take us through that recipe – it sounds interesting!
Chef Mike: You start with some large squares of aluminum foil. The foil will act like the parchment paper parcels that you can use in your oven – the method is called en papillote, it’s French for ‘in parchment’ – and it steams the food inside. You use the foil for the BBQ because it won’t catch fire.
Inside the foil you place a square of wax paper, the same size as the foil. This stops the food from sticking to the foil if it gets too hot.
First you add a few strips of thinly sliced vegetables to the middle of your foil square. You want to use softer vegetables, like zucchini, peppers, bok choy, or other things like that. The fish you add will cook really fast inside the foil pouch, so if you use a root vegetable like a carrot or a potato it won’t be done in time.
Once you have your vegetables you add your fish. I go with a delicate white fish like a haddock, but you can use any fish you like. You can also throw in some uncooked shrimp, mussels, or raw scallops. You want the fish to be in thumb sized chunks so that it cooks quickly.
Once your vegetables and your seafood are on the foil you fold the foil up around it to make a pouch. Leave a small opening in the top so that steam can escape. Right before you put the pouches on the grill you add a little broth, seafood stock, or any other liquid you want to cook in. I usually add some cilantro, fish sauce, lemon grass, and chilies for a Thai taste.
A good rule is that if the mussles are open, the fish is cooked, and the pouches are ready to eat. It only takes about 15 minutes.
DNNS: That sounds like a great idea! What would you serve these with?
Chef Mike: If you do the Thai version I’d go with a cold noodle salad, and some grilled veggies. You can also make it like a ‘DIY’ thing if you’re entertaining – have everyone build their own foil packet and then label them with a marker so they don’t get mixed up. That’s a great way to get kids involved.
DNNS: We know what we’re having for supper! Thanks for sharing with us!
Chef Mike: My pleasure!
If you want to make Chef Mike’s Thai Seafood Pockets check out the full recipe the way he makes it below. Chef Mike works for Sobeys Wyse Road in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He is a Red Seal certified chef. He trained in England, gained experience working internationally, and is a trained pastry chef. He currently resides in Bedford with wife, Jill, and daughter, Paisley. For more recipe ideas stop by his chef station in the store, where you can find Chef Mike whipping up all kinds of tasty creations.
Get Grilling – With Sobeys Chef Mike O’Hanlon
BBQ Thai Seafood Pocket
Thai Broth Ingredients:
· Juice of 1 lime
· 2 slices, ginger
· ½ tsp, sesame oil
· ½ tsp, fish sauce
· 1 tsp, lemon grass paste
· 2 tbsp, fish stock
· 3 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
· 1/2 of a bok choy, sliced lengthwise
· 7 slices(approx), red pepper
· 1 green onion, chopped into 3 pieces
· 4 x PEI mussels
· 1 small fillet of haddock , cut into 3 pieces
· 1 Thai chili, cut in half lengthwise
Tear a piece of good quality foil to approx 16inches. Repeat with good quality wax paper. Place wax paper over foil.
Place mushrooms, bok choy, peppers, green onion and Thai chili in the centre of the wax paper/foil.
Top these with haddock then spread mussels evenly around the edges.
Bring the bottom and top left corner of the foil together and begin to fold/pinch close the foil making your way to the center. Do the same with the right, leaving a 1inch hole in the center of the pocket
Mix together the broth ingredients and pour into the 1inch hole. Finally pinch together the centre to complete pocket.
Either place in a pre heated oven @350 for 20 minutes or sit directly on a BBQ on a medium heat for the same length of time.
Serve with rice noodles and a cilantro sprig to complete the Thai experience!