Spring has finally arrived at Rabbit Hill. The crocuses are in full bloom. Lovage, chives and rhubarb are thrusting up sprouts of green and red, baby rabbit kits are scampering out of the nest box, and the grill is ready for action on the deck.
We Americans love to grill. In his Fireside Cookbook, James Beard writes, “Our ancestors, after a day’s hunting in the forest or sloshing through marshes and soggy fields, were most enthusiastic outdoor eaters. They would tear a leg off an animal carcass, sear it over a roaring fire, and cram it down with a little wild garlic. Though such procedure lacked refinement, it might well be the outdoor cook of today.”
Beard continues with “ Outdoor cooking is primarily man’s work…and simple menus should be the rule. The guiding principles are simple food of excellent quality, careful cooking, good liquor or wines, plenty of everything, and well-organized but informal service.”
I completely agree with Beard; in our household, grilling is “man’s” work. While I may plan the menus, purchase and prep the ingredients, chop the vegetables, set the table, and organize the meal, my husband’s primary responsibility is to heat the grill, open a bottle of wine, and perfectly cook the meat. Life (and food) is all about what really works for you.
For example, the recipe for Burger Salad is our compromise between a calorie-loaded, carbohydrate, man-sized meal and a nutritious, vitamin-packed, fresh, seasonal green and veggie lover and local cheese eater repast.
Skip the bun. Instead, be adventurous with the early greens at the farmer’s market like pea shoots, wheat grass, baby lettuces, sprouts, and Belgian endive. Choose perfectly ripe hothouse tomatoes and local, Maine cheese. Think outside the beef box. Ground lamb is delicious. Finish the dish with chopped red onion, or soon, chopped fresh chives, fresh parsley and herbs. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy.