Gourmet Greek Grilling Ideas to Inspire Your Inner Outdoor Chef

Happy National Grilling Month! Last August, we sponsored a contest to win a Belgard fire pit. Selected completely by random, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the winner (Elaine Pitenis) is a working chef specializing in Greek Cuisine! To help us celebrate our National Grilling Month Giveaway, we asked Chef Elaine to share some of her favorite grill recipes. Celebrate with us by enjoying these recipes and enter for your chance to win our Grilling Month prize package of a Belgard Weston Grill Island Kit, Omaha Steaks® for a year, plus grilling accessories!

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GRILLED OCTOPUS

The most popular appetizer in Greece during the summer is grilled octopus. Octopus can be purchased fresh or frozen and is tenderized before grilling with olive oil, lemon juice and Greek seasonings, then grilled to perfection in under 10 minutes. In Greece, it’s usually served with a cool glass of ouzo on ice.

GRILLED OCTOPUS RECIPE IDEAS
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large octopus (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Greek oregeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and clean the exterior of the octopus by peeling any outer skin.
  2. Place the octopus in a large pot and cover, simmering over low heat with no liquid in the pot, for about an hour, until the octopus is tender and bright pink. The octopus will exude its own juices while cooking. 
  3. Remove octopus from the pot and drain. Allow to cool.
  4. Cut the octopus into smaller pieces by its tentacles. Combine marinade ingredients and allow the octopus to marinate 4-5 hours, or overnight.
  5. Grill octopus over medium heat, brushing it occasionally with the marinade, until it is slightly charred and crisp, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.  
  6. Serve immediately.

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PAITHAKIA (Grilled Lamb Chops)

One of the favorite dishes in Greece is lamb, and Grilled Lamb Chops are simply the best and quickest way to enjoy lamb. The most tender lamb chops come from baby lamb. These juicy, tender and delicate lamb chops are prepared with plenty of olive oil and Greek seasonings to bring out all the glorious flavors.

PAITHAKIA (Grilled Lamb Chops) Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 lamb chops
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Greek oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Brush lamb chops with olive oil and season lightly with oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Grill on medium-hot grill for 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper in bowl and pour over grilled lamb chops, and serve.

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CHICKEN SOUVLAKI

A summer treat in every Greek home is Chicken Souvlaki. Delicately prepared with free range chicken, the breast meat is cubed, skewered, and then marinaded for several hours to intensify the flavor.

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS / MATERIALS

  • 3-4 pounds boneless, skinless, free-range chicken breast, cubed
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • large plastic container

MARINADE

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Greek oregano

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Skewer cubed chicken. Place in a plastic food container and add marinade.  Cover container and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
  2. On medium heat, grill for 10 minutes on each side until meat has a nice char and all pink is gone.
  3. Serve with rice pilaf or on warm pita bread with a dollop of tzatziki sauce.

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MELITZANOSALATA (Greek Eggplant Dip)

There is no more delicious appetizer for entertaining guests than Greek-style Eggplant Dip. Grilling the eggplant is easy and gives it a delicate and smoky flavor. Eggplant is a low-fat food that’s high in potassium, and when combined with olive oil and garlic, it’s a heart-healthy way to boost your nutrition.

MELITZANOSALATA (Greek Eggplant Dip) Recipe Ideas
(Food photography credit: Nikki Ross)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cupc olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: kalamata olive and lemon slices

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Grill whole eggplant on medium heat for 30-45 minutes, depending in the size of the eggplant. Turn eggplant on the grill every 10 minutes using long tongs. Grill until the eggplant is slightly charred and has collapsed. Allow to cool before peeling the skin.
  2. In a food processor, combine the eggplant flesh with the chopped onion, garlic, and lemon juice, pulsing while adding the olive oil gradually. For a more textured consistency, use a fork instead of food processor to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, allowing the all the flavors to mingle.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita bread.

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Elaine Pitenis Greek Chef

About Elaine Pitenis and My Big, Fat, Greek Cooking Class!

Elaine Pitenis grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and did her graduate work in Microbiology at Harvard University. She worked in the fields of Microbiology and Cancer Research before marrying and having four beautiful children. The family moved to Greece and lived in Athens for a short time before relocating to Daytona Beach, FL in 1999 and opening her Greek Cooking School. While in Greece, Elaine learned cooking techniques from several acclaimed Greek chefs from Corinth, Kastoria, and the islands of Samos and Salamina. Elaine began teaching Greek Cooking in 2004 at The Casements in Ormond Beach, FL and has used the acquired techniques from Greece in addition to her prior knowledge of the culinary arts through her mother Connie Spinos, who was an exceptional Home Economics teacher before she retired. My Big, Fat, Greek Cooking Classes elicit a fusion of both “old world” traditional cooking techniques blended with her own flavorful and innovative methods to offer her students a unique, hands-on cooking class that creates delicious, heart-healthy Grecian delicacies.                         

Recipes and Tips from Omaha Steaks®

Ah, summertime. Family time. Pool time. And best of all…steak time. Before you light the grill in your outdoor kitchen this evening, take a look at these tips and recipes from the steak experts at Omaha Steaks®.

GRILLED FILET MIGNON WITH ROASTED LEEKS AND FENNEL

Impeccable steak flavor collides with the sweet, nutritious taste of roasted leeks and fennel in this wholesome savory recipe. With only 15 minutes of prep time, you can spend less time cooking and more time enjoying.

GET THE RECIPE

RIBEYE CAP ROAST + SMOKY BACON, CHIVE AND SHALLOT BUTTER

RIBEYE CAP ROAST + SMOKY BACON, CHIVE AND SHALLOT BUTTER RECIPE

The Private Reserve® ribeye cap roast, an Omaha Steaks exclusive, is carved from the most prized part of the ribeye and makes the perfect centerpiece for family gatherings. Get tips for cooking this amazing cut of meat via slow roast, quick roast, gas grill and charcoal grill.

READ THE BLOG

CARNITAS-STYLE GRILLED BEEF TACOS

CARNITAS-STYLE GRILLED BEEF TACOS RECIPE

Healthy, hearty tacos are always a hit at any gathering. Omaha Steaks Flat Iron Steaks, marinated in sauce bursting with zesty flavor, are topped with fresh cilantro and lime wedges for to-die-for freshness. Tomatillo and avocado salsa combine to make the perfect garnish for this crowd-pleasing dish.

GET THE RECIPE


COMING SOON: July is National Grilling Month, and Belgard and Omaha Steaks will be joining forces to give away a fabulous grill master prize package that will include a Weston Stone® Grill Island Kit and Omaha Steaks for a year! Stay tuned for our contest kickoff.

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Recipes and photos courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

Win a Weston Grill Island Kit

Rosemary Skewered Scallops

scallops-cl-1012604-xSea scallops are a succulent treat that many people are afraid to cook at home, and for a good reason. If they’re not prepared properly, scallops can have a rubbery consistency or taste a bit fishy. However, with this simply grill recipe, the scallops will melt in your mouth and leave you wishing you had more! If you’re not a scallop fan, this dish also works well with unpeeled shrimp. For a little extra flavor, use garlic infused olive oil.

Ingredients

12 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 (12-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
Hot cooked basmati rice
Garnish: lemon slices

 

Preparation

  1. Combine scallops and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes.
  2. Pick leaves off 6 inches of one end of each rosemary sprig, leaving the other end intact. Soak rosemary sprigs in water in a shallow dish 20 minutes.
  3. Place 2 rosemary skewers side by side, leaving a small space between. Thread 3 scallops onto bare part of rosemary skewers. Repeat with remaining rosemary and scallops.
  4. Grill over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve on a bed of basmati rice with lemon slices, if desired.

Recipe courtesy Coastal Living. Photo: Howard L. Puckett.

Recipe of the Month:
Grilled Dessert Pizza

Looking for a new and different idea for this weekend’s cookout? While the grill is still hot, throw on a Grilled Dessert Pizza for a sweet ending to your meal. Smokey, fruity, flakey, nutty, and chocolaty…a winning combination for any family gathering. For a fun family activity, let the kids help place the fruit toppings in step 4. But you might want to have a little extra on hand, in case they’re tempted to sample while they work!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup drained canned mandarin orange segments
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted, optional

Preparation

1. Preheat grill to medium. Lightly mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with flour. Place white chocolate in a bowl and set over a small pan of simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water). Cook, stirring often, until white chocolate has melted.

2. Press and stretch dough to form a 14- to 15-inch round. Place dough on prepared sheet, place on grill, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until crust is puffed and golden. Using tongs, flip dough over and cook for about 3 minutes longer.

3. Sprinkle dough evenly with chocolate chips, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Cover grill and cook 2 minutes, until chocolate chips have melted. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread chocolate evenly over dough. Using tongs or spatula, transfer pizza to a large cutting board.

4. Scatter berries and orange segments over pizza. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Dip a fork into bowl with melted white chocolate and drizzle over pizza.

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Photo: Kate Sears, Styling: Susan Vajaranant (courtesy Time Inc.)

Garden to Grill Ideas

Edible gardens are one of the hottest trends in gardening today. What makes a hot trend hotter? Why fire, of course. So as summer heats up, forget the boring salads and heat up the grill for some flavor-boosted ways to make the most of your edible garden. Following are a variety of fruit and vegetable ideas to add to your grilling repertoire for delicious additions to your summer meals.

GRILLED VEGETABLES

Grilled lettuce drizzled with olive oil and lemon and topped with manchego cheese and bacon crumbles. (photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo)
Grilled lettuce drizzled with olive oil and lemon and topped with manchego cheese and bacon crumbles. (photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Lettuce: I know what you’re thinking…grilled lettuce?! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Grilling lettuce creates smokey, charred, caramelized goodness. Recipes abound for this latest craze. For best results, be sure to choose a sturdy lettuce and brush the grill with olive oil.

Corn: Grilling corn can be done multiple ways. You can wrap it in foil. You can leave it in its husks. However, how about laying it on the grill bare? Doing this will ensure that your corn will have tiny and delicious charred bits. Once you finish grilling the corn, bust out the butter and lather it on as you please.

Asparagus: Fun fact: grilled asparagus cures sadness. Okay, that may not be completely true, but grilled asparagus makes a truly delicious addition to any meal. To protect your sanity, however, use a mesh tray or grill basket for this task. If you want to up your asparagus game even more, make your own garlic and rosemary aioli sauce for basting or dressing your freshly grilled asparagus. You’re welcome.

Grilled bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with goat cheese and basil. (photo by Beth Dreiling)
Grilled bell peppers, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with goat cheese and basil. (photo by Beth Dreiling)

Bell Pepper: No matter what color, they all taste better on the grill. The cool thing about bell peppers is that they are extremely versatile. Whether part of a shish kabob,  stuffed with just about anything, or simply tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette, roasting a bell pepper over a fire brings out a sweetness that enhances any dish.

Jalapeno Peppers: The bell pepper’s zesty cousin, these little fellows kick everything up a notch. If properly de-seeded and de-veined, roasting jalapenos will mellow their intensity. Stuff them with a variety of cheeses or other ingredients and either wrap them in foil or use a special roasting rack. For extra fun, wrap them in bacon, ’cause bacon makes everything better!

Grilled eggplant and tomato salad drizzled with lemony vinaigrette and topped with fresh mint. (photo by Iain Bagwell)
Grilled eggplant and tomato salad drizzled with lemony vinaigrette and topped with fresh mint. (photo by Iain Bagwell)

Eggplant: If you like eggplant parmesan, you’ll fall in love with grilled eggplant. The awesome thing about eggplant is that it will really soak up the flavor of bastes or marinades. So go to your local gourmet oil and vinegar store, do a little online shopping, or use herbs from your garden to make your own infused oils and vinegars and experiment with different flavor combinations. The same is true for a variety of squashes.

Tomatoes: You may argue about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, but you won’t argue about how good it tastes grilled. For best results, choose firmer tomatoes, cut thick slices, and brush the grill with olive oil. For added flavor, top with your favorite fresh herb.

GRILLED FRUIT

Grilled watermelon with blue cheese, basil and prosciutto. (photo: Jennifer Davick)
Grilled watermelon with blue cheese, basil and prosciutto. (photo by Jennifer Davick)

Watermelon: Grilling watermelon? This must be a typo. Before you judge, try it yourself and see why this summer will be the summer of grilled watermelon. You can grill with or without the rind on it. When grilled, the fruit sugars caramelize to create a unique flavor. Feel free to add balsamic vinegar or arugula for an extra flare. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it, for the water can spew and potentially burn you when exposed to so much heat.

Apples: Now for an actual fact: apple pie is an American classic. What happens to the apples during the making of apple pie? That’s right, they are cooked. Now use that logic, and apply it to the grill. The grill will both sweeten and soften your apples for a most excellent treat. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg for that apple pie flavor.

Peaches: Surely you will be enjoying ice cream this summer. Now that you’ve discovered the beauty of grilled fruit, throw some peaches on the grill, then add them to your summer ice cream. Sweet and delicious ice cream plus sweet and delicious peaches, what can go wrong?

Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple salsa. (photo: Hector Sanchez)
Jerk chicken with grilled pineapple salsa. (photo by Hector Sanchez)

Pineapple: Unless you live in Hawaii, it’s unlikely you’ll have any pineapples in your edible garden, but they’re so amazing on the grill, it’s worth a trip to the grocery. Whether served as a side dish or as a hamburger topping, once you try it grilled, you’ll never want pineapple any other way.

Bananas: Again, not your typical grow-at-home fruit, but makes an incredible dessert. Place it directly on the grill with the skin on. Once the skin is brown and the banana is soft, slice it open, sprinkle with cinnamon, and top with condensed milk. Voila!

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Images Courtesy Time Inc.

Ultimate Tailgate Recipes

To complement the $6000 Bordeaux Grill Station grand prize of our Backyard Tailgate Sweepstakes, we’ve compiled a mouthwatering array of backyard tailgating recipes. Whether you’re a classic, gourmet or creative tailgater, these recipes will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting seconds. Whether your team wins or loses, everyone will walk away from your tailgate party with smiles on their faces. Click each photo below to view each recipe.

Classic Recipes

Smokey Chicken Barbecue Kabobs: A special dry rub and unique white barbecue sauce make these a crowd-pleaser.
Smokey Chicken Barbecue Kabobs: A special dry rub and unique white barbecue sauce make these a crowd-pleaser.

Sweet and Savory Burgers: This Asian twist on a backyard classic will inspire cheers for "more burgers".
Sweet and Savory Burgers: This Asian twist on a backyard classic will inspire cheers for “more burgers”.

Smoked Brisket: Feed the team in style with this savory tailgating favorite.
Smoked Brisket: Feed your team in style with this savory tailgating favorite.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken: Talk about melt-in-your mouth goodness.
Grilled Buttermilk Chicken: Talk about melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

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Gourmet Recipes

Grilled Shrimp with Asian Barbecue Sauce: This sweet and spicy treat will disappear quickly.
Grilled Shrimp with Asian Barbecue Sauce: This sweet and spicy treat will disappear quickly.

Coppa, Ricotta, and Arugula Pizza: An amazing combination of flavors, this is gourmet pizza at its best.
Coppa, Ricotta, and Arugula Pizza: An amazing combination of flavors, this is gourmet pizza at its best.

Thai-Seasoned Turkey Thigh Roast with Frest Herbs: Forget everything you thought you knew about turkey.
Thai-Seasoned Turkey Thigh Roast with Frest Herbs: Forget everything you thought you knew about turkey.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Tomato-Green Onion Relish: Healthy and delicious, a killer combination.
Grilled Fish Tacos with Tomato-Green Onion Relish: Healthy and delicious, a killer combination.

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Creative Recipes

Mojito Shrimp: Minty, tangy, and the perfect complement for a refreshing beverage.
Mojito Shrimp: Minty, tangy, and the perfect companion for a refreshing beverage.

Seasoned Lamb Kebabs: Mediterranean flavors that will knock your socks off.
Seasoned Lamb Kebabs: Mediterranean flavors that will knock your socks off.

Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon: Sweet, smokey, flaky deliciousness.
Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon: Sweet, smoky, flaky deliciousness.

Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers: An amazing new twist on a backyard classic.
Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers: You won’t believe how amazing this combination of flavors will be.

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