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Charred Bread with Ricotta and Cherry Salsa

Charred Bread with Ricotta and Cherry Salsa

This cherry salsa recipe is also delicious as a condiment for grilled or roast pork or pulsed in a food processor to make a vinaigrette for a salad of tender greens.

Ingredients

  • 3 spring onions, preferably red, white/red and green parts separated, thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 12 ounces fresh cherries (about 2¼ cups), pitted, cut into ⅓-inch-thick slivers
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 12 ounces whole-milk fresh ricotta

Recipe Preparation

  • Toss white/red parts of spring onions and lemon juice in a medium bowl to coat and let sit 10 minutes.

  • Add spring onion greens, cherries, and ½ cup oil to bowl and toss gently again to incorporate; season cherry salsa with kosher salt and pepper.

  • Prepare a grill for medium-low heat. Brush cut sides of baguette with oil. Grill, cut sides down, until bread is toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes.

  • Let toasts cool for a minute, then spread generous amounts of ricotta over both pieces. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Cut each half on a diagonal into 6 pieces. Arrange on a platter and, using a slotted spoon, top with cherry salsa.

  • Do Ahead: Cherry salsa can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 360Fat (g) 19Saturated Fat (g) 5Cholesterol (mg) 20Carbohydrates (g) 38Dietary Fiber (g) 3Total Sugars (g) 5Protein (g) 11Sodium (mg) 360Reviews SectionRefreshing summer treat! I made this to go with a soup, and paired great (so my husband could fill up that hollow leg of his). I might try this with a shallot instead next time, since the pungency of green onions isn't my favorite. Since I was juicing the lemon, I zested it into the salsa while I was at it. I also didn't have time to BBQ the bread, so I put it under the broiler for a minute.Cherries have been in season for longer than usual, so this was a great way to use them!

Charred Bread with Ricotta and Cherry Salsa - Recipes

2 pounds Roma tomatoes*, cut in half lengthwise
3 poblano peppers, cut in half lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
1 medium white onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (keep rings together)
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven broiler with a rack 3 inches away from the broiler. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray set aside. Place tomatoes and poblano peppers, cut side down, on the sheet pan add onions rounds and garlic cloves. Broil for 10-15 minutes until everything starts to char, especially the poblano peppers. Remove sheet tray from oven and allow ingredients to cool for 10-15 minutes. Peel and discard the charred skin from the poblano peppers, but leave the charred tomato skins on. Place everything into a food processor or blender and blend to your desired consistency. Add Kosher salt and optional fresh chopped cilantro to taste. Refrigerate for up to a week.

*Roma tomatoes are perfect for this salsa because of their low water content. If you want to use more common tomato varieties, remove their seeds and juicy bits before roasting.


6 Things to do with Cherry Tomatoes

1.Cherry Tomato Tart

Cherry tomato tart is probably the easiest tart you can hope to make – especially if you have a ready-made pie crust to hand. Simply toss the cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, pile them into the pie crust, and bake until the crust is browned.

For something a little extra, coat the inside of the pie crust in ricotta before piling in the cherry tomatoes, then top with chopped fresh herbs.

2. Cherry Tomato Salsa

It’s time to consider subbing cherry tomatoes into your favourite salsa recipe. Why? Because these smaller tomatoes mean less chopping and less liquid all over your countertop.

Admittedly, if aiming for a silky-smooth salsa, then roughly chopped cherry tomatoes aren’t the answer. But count us firmly in the more-rustic-the-better camp when it comes to our Mexican food. Cherry tomatoes are also perfect for chunky, fruity salsas – when paired with peach or mango, for instance.

3. Cherry Tomato Gratin

Cherry tomato gratin is a quick and easy recipe that’s also a delicious way to use up stale bread. Just chop your cherry tomatoes in half, your bread into cubes, and toss together with garlic, herbs, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.

Pop the mixed ingredients together in the oven for 30 minutes and that really is all there is to it. A mouthwatering combination of flavours and textures good enough for a dinner party or date night.

4. Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Roasting cherry tomatoes is one of the best ways to bring out their natural sweetness and is perfect for making a rustic sauce without actually, you know, bothering to make a sauce.

All you have to do is toss the cherry tomatoes in some olive oil and a little salt and pepper, then let them cook in the oven until they start to burst. (Hot tip: leave the cherry tomatoes on the vine for additional flavour when roasting, then remove the vine before serving.)

Keep it simple and serve on top of pasta, bruschetta, or polenta. If you’re feeling spicy, you could also roast the cherry tomatoes with a few cloves of garlic.

5. Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Cherry tomatoes can make a delicious base for a salad dressing. Don’t believe us? Then try this.

Slice your cherry tomatoes in half and sauté them in a little oil over a low heat until they start to break down and release their fragrant juices. You can also add some sliced garlic if you like.

Now take your tomatoes off the heat and start building on top of them with the same ingredients you’d use in your usual home-made vinaigrette, such as olive oil, vinegar (we recommend sherry vinegar or white balsamic), and your preferred chopped herbs.

6. Sun-dried cherry tomatoes

Making sun-dried tomatoes at home? Nope, we’re not crazy. These home-dried tomatoes are much cheaper than the ones you’d usually buy in shops and you don’t need a Mediterranean climate to hang them out in either.

OK, so you’ll need to cheat a bit. It isn’t exactly sun-drying per se, but you can replicate the same tangy sweetness by using the lowest setting on your oven. Finally, you get a chance to use it.

Just slice your cherry tomatoes in half, pop them in the oven, and let them dry out for as long as they need to become as dry as you want them. Two hours should be enough if you prefer them tender and juicy – 'sun-blushed' – or about four hours if you want them dry and chewy.

Looking for a more complex cherry tomatoes recipe that’ll help you showcase your cooking skills? Then look no further than this Thai-style red duck curry with pineapple and cherry tomatoes.


Skillet Chicken and Zucchini With Charred Scallion Salsa

Andrew Purcell for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Baked chicken breasts have a reputation for being dry, but pan-searing bone-in, skin-on breasts before roasting them helps them render their fat. It also forms a protective coating, develops a crisp, deep-golden skin and adds an extra layer of flavor. In this one-pot recipe, zucchini is tossed with the rendered chicken fat, and everything cooks together in the oven. Swap in any seasonal, quick-roasting vegetable for the zucchini, like cherry tomatoes or asparagus, but don’t skip the charred scallion and jalapeño salsa. The zingy lime, grassy herbs and barely there brown sugar really make this dish sing. If cilantro isn’t your thing, basil makes a fine replacement, or try a combination of the two. Alongside? Steamed rice would be nice.


Instructions

To make bread crumbs: Preheat oven to 375. Toss diced bread in oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet, and bake until golden. Let cool, then lightly crush until roughly pea size.

To make pasta: Boil linguine in salted water to just short of al dente. Meanwhile, place the olive oil, garlic, shallots, and chile in a sauté pan, and cook over medium heat until the garlic turns golden brown. Remove the pan from the fire, and deglaze with wine. Return to burner, and reduce liquid by half. (1) Add lemon juice, parsley, butter, 2 tablespoons ricotta, and 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, and stir until no liquid remains but sauce isn&rsquot too thick or dry. Season with salt and pepper, and add the pasta. (2) Toss, taste, and season again if necessary. Divide into 4 bowls (3) garnish each serving with remaining ricotta and bread crumbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.


How to Make Ultra Flavorful Tomato Salsa

If you are looking for a fresh tomato salsa, you might want to check our homemade pico de gallo recipe or this 15-minute blended salsa. They both take minutes to make and are perfect served with just about anything. We love them, but when I have a few more minutes to spend in the kitchen, I love making this roasted tomato salsa instead.

The salsa is really simple to make. Here are the basic steps (the full recipe is in the recipe box below).

Step 1, Char the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. Place tomatoes, peppers, and garlic under the broiler on high, turning each ingredient so all sides become slightly charred. This can also be done on a barbecue (I’d use medium-high heat).

Step 2, Peel away the skins. Let the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic cool down a little, and then pull away the skins from the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic (it should be easy). For a little color and char, you can leave some of the black skins from the tomatoes and/or the peppers intact.

Step 3, Blend into a salsa. Remove the core of the tomatoes, and then add them along with the peppers and garlic to a food processor. Add some onion, fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice, and then blend until you are happy with the consistency of the salsa. I like it a little chunky.

You can enjoy the salsa straight away, but if you have the time, cover it and place into the refrigerator. As the salsa sits, it becomes even more flavorful.

One note about the tomatoes: I love using fresh ripe tomatoes in this recipe since they have so much flavor. You can use canned if you prefer, but this will prevent you from roasting the tomatoes. You can, however, still roast the peppers and garlic.


15 Grilled Dishes Everyone Should Know How to Make, According to Chefs

Nothing signals summer like the first barbecue of the season, but you don't have to wait for the weather to warm up before heating the grill. With these chef picks, you'll be on summer mode all year long-and have the grill master skills to prove it. From chicken skewers to Caesar salad, here are the best grilled recipes to add to your repertoire.

Oysters

"Growing up near the Gulf, oysters were always pretty prevalent in my memories, and with Gulf oysters, the sizes tend to vary. Take the larger ones, shuck them, and throw them on a hot grill. Top them with garlic-herb butter spiked with a little paprika and Worcestershire sauce, and make sure to have a pair of tongs handy to handle them once they are bubbling hot. Finish with toasted breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and a touch of hot sauce for an extra kick." - Kaz Edwards, concept chef at Uchi Restaurants

Meatballs

"A meatball-whether it's chicken, veal, pork, lamb, or whatever you choose as a base ingredient-is an amazing way to convey the flavors of your liking. The grilling process creates a wonderful crust and a juicy interior. At Le Rigmarole, we make a chicken meatball that combines dark and light meat, cartilage, panko, lemon zest, anchovies, garlic, and leeks-but nothing is stopping us from adding saffron, squid, or kimchi." - Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang, chefs and co-owners of Michelin-starred Le Rigmarole in Paris

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

"These are always so fun and a definite crowd-pleaser. The grill gives the smoky bacon that charred, crispy touch you can't get in an oven. It also cooks them quickly from the outside, so they're cooked more evenly in the end. Stuff them with anything you can imagine my go-tos are chèvre goat cheese, chorizo sausage, and ricotta. Since they are sweet and salty, add some acid or heat like vinegar reduction or harissa chili sauce."- Brad Kilgore, chef and restaurateur in Miami

Rib Eye

"Cajun-marinated rib eye is one of our guest-favorite steaks served in the summer, and it's been a staple steak dish at Smith & Wollensky for several years. It's easy to make at home for a BBQ, since the only prep is marinating the steak with Cajun seasoning, onions, and a little bit of oil for a lengthy amount of time (48 hours in advance). It's great when charbroiled or grilled. The rub and marinade create a really nice char and crust, with just a little bit of heat." - Matthew King, national director of culinary development and corporate chef at Smith & Wollensky

Short Ribs

"Most may think of a huge T-bone or thick rib eye when thinking of outdoor grilling. As much as I do love these cuts, galbi (Korean-style short ribs) is the perfect outdoor grilling steak-and it's a Korean classic. This is probably one of the best cuts of beef for grilling, with sweet and charred burnt tips that melt in your mouth. It requires a bit of knife work, as well as some time to marinate, but once you get it right, you will be a star of the party." - David Shim, executive chef of COTE Korean Steakhouse in NYC & Miami

Radicchio

"For years, I marveled at those who could eat radicchio in a salad and not cringe from the bitterness. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that this was my food weakness. Then, one day, I threw it on the grill, and that's when my world changed and I became a radicchio fanatic. Cut the head of radicchio into quarters or eighths, depending on the size, as you want wedges that are held intact by the stem. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and then toss them on your grill. You want them to char well on all sides before removing. Finish with a splash of sherry vinegar and a drizzle of something slightly sweet, like a little bit of honey, or a thicker, sweeter balsamic vinegar." - Katie Button, chef of Cúrate, cookbook author, and co-founder of Katie Button Restaurants

Peaches

"My favorite part about summer is all of the delicious produce, specifically juicy stone fruit like peaches. While it's great on its own, grilled fruit makes a delicious, simple, and refreshing dessert and is the perfect end to any summer BBQ. Grilling the glazed fruit allows the sugars to caramelize, creating a crunchy, flavor-packed crust. Top it off with whipped cream and sweet-and-salty peanuts for the perfect textural contrast." - Stephanie Izard, Iron Chef, author, and executive chef and owner of five Chicago restaurants, including Girl & the Goat

Whole Chicken

"This is a perfect summer dish that feeds a small party, and pairs well with any side. For the juiciest grilled chicken, first brine the bird and then give it a good herb and spice rub. Grilling over indirect heat will result in a juicy, evenly-cooked chicken." - Michael Beltran, chef of Ariete, Navé, and Chug's Diner in Miami

Caesar Salad

"One of my favorite things to grill is romaine and use that as a Caesar salad base. It elevates the dish by giving it a smoky, almost indulgent flavor profile, which makes it feel incredibly satisfying. Lightly brush romaine hearts cut in half with oil and grill cut-side down for 1 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are slightly charred. Top with all your favorite Caesar salad accoutrements, olive oil, lemon, and lots of black pepper." - Danny Grant, chef and partner at What If Syndicate

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Chicken Skewers

"Everybody should know how to cook kebabs, but the technique for skewering them is just as important. Our favorite is the Lebanese classic shish taouk, marinated chicken cooked on a skewer. The common technique is to skewer relatively large chunks of meat, but we found that slicing the meat a little thinner and threading it back and forth across the skewer is the way to go. Slicing the meat against the grain before you skewer makes the chicken more tender, and results in more surface area being exposed to the marinade, so it penetrates deeper and gives a lot more flavor." - Michael Costa, concept chef at José Andrés's Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.

Swordfish

"Swordfish can be prepared in a number of ways, but in my opinion, previously marinated and wrapped in grape leaves and grilled on burning coal remains the most charismatic and tempting. The grape leaves in this dish are an ideal pocket in which to steam the delicious swordfish to perfection on the grill without it drying out too much." - Nino La Spina,chef de cuisine at Florie's at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach

Octopus

"One of the classic ways you'll find octopus in Mexico is octopus al ajillo (sautéed octopus in garlic), but I like to grill instead of making it in the griddle because it enriches the flavor. I love it as an appetizer on skewers, and it's great served with a mezcal cocktail, since the smoky flavor pairs really well." - Diego Moles, chef de cuisine at Acre Baja in Mexico

Feta Cheese

"Every time I invite friends for a BBQ, we have meat or fish, but the dish we enjoy most before the food is ready is grilled feta cheese. Take some nonstick baking paper and place it inside aluminum foil to create a double envelope. Put a thick slice of feta inside, along with cherry tomatoes cut in half, two thin slices of onion, sweet red pepper, olive oil, fresh thyme, and a basil leaf. Close it tight and grill it from the veggies side of the grill for 10 minutes. Don't forget to grill your bread, too." - Marios Salmatanis, owner and chef of Thalassamou in Paros, Greece

Onions

"Grilled onions are a staple in taco culture, adding a depth of flavor and texture to any taco, no matter the filling. This can translate to so many applications, as simply as accompanying a grilled piece of protein, or more creatively as a base to a salad dressing." - Jesus "Chuy" Cervantes, chef de cuisine at Damian in Los Angeles

Burgers

"Fourth of July might be the Super Bowl for those who love to grill-and burgers are synonymous with that day. You can never go wrong with burgers as a dish to throw on the grill, but they can easily be messed up and become overcooked and dry. You can go with a classic patty and bun, or add on some more items like bacon, American cheese (melt on top of the patty at the end), and onions or peppers-if you are feeling frisky-which can be charred on the grill as well."- Akshay Bhardwaj, executive chef of Junoon in NYC


Easy summer dinner recipes

Be inspired by simple suppers making the most of seasonal summer ingredients. We have recipes for burgers, salads, traybakes, stews and much more.

Summer pork, fennel & beans

Pan-fry thick pork chops, then roast with cherry tomatoes, shallots and cannellini beans to make an easy one-pot dinner

Wild salmon with corn & pepper salsa salad

Marinate heart-healthy fish with spices and serve with colourful sweetcorn and avocado - vegetarians can use halloumi instead

Pulled pork tacos with pineapple salsa

Put the pork for these pulled pork tacos in the slow cooker in the morning, and you’ll have a family feast for dinner. Serve with cabbage, avocado and salsa

Greek feta traybake

Make this Greek-inspired traybake with feta, olives, pitta bread and tomatoes for an easy midweek meal, then use the leftovers for lunch the next day

Charred cauliflower, lemon & caper orzo

Make this easy orzo and cauliflower dish in just 25 minutes. It serves one for a main meal, plus there's leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day

Frying pan filo tart

Make this filo tart in a frying pan for a fuss-free dinner. Peas, crème fraîche, butter beans, courgette, feta and mint make up the fabulous filling

Gnocchi fish pie

Try this spin on a fish pie and top with gnocchi instead of regular mashed potato. It takes just 30 minutes to make so is perfect for a balanced family meal

Meatball & garlic bread traybake

Make this comforting meatball and garlic bread traybake for a dinner the whole family will enjoy. You could buy a pack of meatballs if you’re short on time

Roast chicken with squashed new potatoes & cheesy creamed spinach

Enjoy roast chicken with new potatoes and cheesy creamed spinach for a hearty dinner the whole family will love. Serve with carrots and any veg you like


Cavatelli With Oven-Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil, and Ricotta Salata

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss bread crumbs, thyme, crushed red pepper, 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl. Place the cherry tomatoes in a single layer on a baking pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season to taste with salt. Toss until the tomatoes are covered with oil. Sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs over the tomatoes, and bake in the oven for about 7 minutes or until the tomatoes start to crack and the bread crumbs are crisp and toasted.

Lay the eggplant slices on an oiled baking sheet, and brush with 2 tablespoons of oil and salt to taste. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, turning them once when they're golden on one side. Remove and set aside. When they're cool, cut into 1-inch cubes.

In the meantime, bring 8 quarts of salted water to a boil. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet, add the garlic, and sauté until golden. Add the chicken stock (be careful: it may splatter), and bring to a vigorous boil add salt to taste and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Cook the pasta for 5 to 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta, add to the skillet, and sauté with the garlic. Add the tomatoes, bread crumbs (do not add the crumbs sticking to the pan if they are burnt or mushy), and eggplant, toss together gently, then quickly stir in the remaining Pecorino Romano and basil. Serve with freshly grated salted ricotta on top.


15 Grilled Dishes Everyone Should Know How to Make, According to Chefs

Nothing signals summer like the first barbecue of the season, but you don't have to wait for the weather to warm up before heating the grill. With these chef picks, you'll be on summer mode all year long-and have the grill master skills to prove it. From chicken skewers to Caesar salad, here are the best grilled recipes to add to your repertoire.

Oysters

"Growing up near the Gulf, oysters were always pretty prevalent in my memories, and with Gulf oysters, the sizes tend to vary. Take the larger ones, shuck them, and throw them on a hot grill. Top them with garlic-herb butter spiked with a little paprika and Worcestershire sauce, and make sure to have a pair of tongs handy to handle them once they are bubbling hot. Finish with toasted breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and a touch of hot sauce for an extra kick." - Kaz Edwards, concept chef at Uchi Restaurants

Meatballs

"A meatball-whether it's chicken, veal, pork, lamb, or whatever you choose as a base ingredient-is an amazing way to convey the flavors of your liking. The grilling process creates a wonderful crust and a juicy interior. At Le Rigmarole, we make a chicken meatball that combines dark and light meat, cartilage, panko, lemon zest, anchovies, garlic, and leeks-but nothing is stopping us from adding saffron, squid, or kimchi." - Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang, chefs and co-owners of Michelin-starred Le Rigmarole in Paris

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

"These are always so fun and a definite crowd-pleaser. The grill gives the smoky bacon that charred, crispy touch you can't get in an oven. It also cooks them quickly from the outside, so they're cooked more evenly in the end. Stuff them with anything you can imagine my go-tos are chèvre goat cheese, chorizo sausage, and ricotta. Since they are sweet and salty, add some acid or heat like vinegar reduction or harissa chili sauce."- Brad Kilgore, chef and restaurateur in Miami

Rib Eye

"Cajun-marinated rib eye is one of our guest-favorite steaks served in the summer, and it's been a staple steak dish at Smith & Wollensky for several years. It's easy to make at home for a BBQ, since the only prep is marinating the steak with Cajun seasoning, onions, and a little bit of oil for a lengthy amount of time (48 hours in advance). It's great when charbroiled or grilled. The rub and marinade create a really nice char and crust, with just a little bit of heat." - Matthew King, national director of culinary development and corporate chef at Smith & Wollensky

Short Ribs

"Most may think of a huge T-bone or thick rib eye when thinking of outdoor grilling. As much as I do love these cuts, galbi (Korean-style short ribs) is the perfect outdoor grilling steak-and it's a Korean classic. This is probably one of the best cuts of beef for grilling, with sweet and charred burnt tips that melt in your mouth. It requires a bit of knife work, as well as some time to marinate, but once you get it right, you will be a star of the party." - David Shim, executive chef of COTE Korean Steakhouse in NYC & Miami

Radicchio

"For years, I marveled at those who could eat radicchio in a salad and not cringe from the bitterness. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that this was my food weakness. Then, one day, I threw it on the grill, and that's when my world changed and I became a radicchio fanatic. Cut the head of radicchio into quarters or eighths, depending on the size, as you want wedges that are held intact by the stem. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, and then toss them on your grill. You want them to char well on all sides before removing. Finish with a splash of sherry vinegar and a drizzle of something slightly sweet, like a little bit of honey, or a thicker, sweeter balsamic vinegar." - Katie Button, chef of Cúrate, cookbook author, and co-founder of Katie Button Restaurants

Peaches

"My favorite part about summer is all of the delicious produce, specifically juicy stone fruit like peaches. While it's great on its own, grilled fruit makes a delicious, simple, and refreshing dessert and is the perfect end to any summer BBQ. Grilling the glazed fruit allows the sugars to caramelize, creating a crunchy, flavor-packed crust. Top it off with whipped cream and sweet-and-salty peanuts for the perfect textural contrast." - Stephanie Izard, Iron Chef, author, and executive chef and owner of five Chicago restaurants, including Girl & the Goat

Whole Chicken

"This is a perfect summer dish that feeds a small party, and pairs well with any side. For the juiciest grilled chicken, first brine the bird and then give it a good herb and spice rub. Grilling over indirect heat will result in a juicy, evenly-cooked chicken." - Michael Beltran, chef of Ariete, Navé, and Chug's Diner in Miami

Caesar Salad

"One of my favorite things to grill is romaine and use that as a Caesar salad base. It elevates the dish by giving it a smoky, almost indulgent flavor profile, which makes it feel incredibly satisfying. Lightly brush romaine hearts cut in half with oil and grill cut-side down for 1 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are slightly charred. Top with all your favorite Caesar salad accoutrements, olive oil, lemon, and lots of black pepper." - Danny Grant, chef and partner at What If Syndicate

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Chicken Skewers

"Everybody should know how to cook kebabs, but the technique for skewering them is just as important. Our favorite is the Lebanese classic shish taouk, marinated chicken cooked on a skewer. The common technique is to skewer relatively large chunks of meat, but we found that slicing the meat a little thinner and threading it back and forth across the skewer is the way to go. Slicing the meat against the grain before you skewer makes the chicken more tender, and results in more surface area being exposed to the marinade, so it penetrates deeper and gives a lot more flavor." - Michael Costa, concept chef at José Andrés's Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.

Swordfish

"Swordfish can be prepared in a number of ways, but in my opinion, previously marinated and wrapped in grape leaves and grilled on burning coal remains the most charismatic and tempting. The grape leaves in this dish are an ideal pocket in which to steam the delicious swordfish to perfection on the grill without it drying out too much." - Nino La Spina,chef de cuisine at Florie's at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach

Octopus

"One of the classic ways you'll find octopus in Mexico is octopus al ajillo (sautéed octopus in garlic), but I like to grill instead of making it in the griddle because it enriches the flavor. I love it as an appetizer on skewers, and it's great served with a mezcal cocktail, since the smoky flavor pairs really well." - Diego Moles, chef de cuisine at Acre Baja in Mexico

Feta Cheese

"Every time I invite friends for a BBQ, we have meat or fish, but the dish we enjoy most before the food is ready is grilled feta cheese. Take some nonstick baking paper and place it inside aluminum foil to create a double envelope. Put a thick slice of feta inside, along with cherry tomatoes cut in half, two thin slices of onion, sweet red pepper, olive oil, fresh thyme, and a basil leaf. Close it tight and grill it from the veggies side of the grill for 10 minutes. Don't forget to grill your bread, too." - Marios Salmatanis, owner and chef of Thalassamou in Paros, Greece

Onions

"Grilled onions are a staple in taco culture, adding a depth of flavor and texture to any taco, no matter the filling. This can translate to so many applications, as simply as accompanying a grilled piece of protein, or more creatively as a base to a salad dressing." - Jesus "Chuy" Cervantes, chef de cuisine at Damian in Los Angeles

Burgers

"Fourth of July might be the Super Bowl for those who love to grill-and burgers are synonymous with that day. You can never go wrong with burgers as a dish to throw on the grill, but they can easily be messed up and become overcooked and dry. You can go with a classic patty and bun, or add on some more items like bacon, American cheese (melt on top of the patty at the end), and onions or peppers-if you are feeling frisky-which can be charred on the grill as well."- Akshay Bhardwaj, executive chef of Junoon in NYC