Tag Archives: grilling

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano & Lemon

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano & Lemon
Serves 6
Oregano (also called wild marjoram in many parts of Europe where it is native) is a small shrub with multi-branched stems covered with small grayish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. Its name derives from the Greek words “oros” (mountain) and “ganos” (joy) since not only was it a symbol of happiness, but it made the hillsides on which it grew look beautiful. Used widely in Cuisines throughout the Mediterranean, Oregano can be as easily paired with vegetables as with meat, poultry and fish and is a staple in most tomato based sauces. The Oregano in this citrus dressing makes this dish truly special & the cooking of shrimp in their shells keeps them juicy and tender. All makes for casual finger food that requires plenty of napkins…Enjoy!
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  1. 3 lbs. Jumbo Shrimp in Shell (7 or 8 per lb.)
  2. 4 large Garlic Cloves
  3. 3/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  4. 5 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  5. 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper, ground
  6. 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  7. 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Fresh Oregano
  8. 3 Lemons, cut in wedges for garnishment
  1. Snip through shells of shrimp along middle of back using kitchen shears, exposing vein and leaving tail and adjoining segment of shell intact. De-vein shrimp, leaving shells in place.
  2. Mash garlic to a paste with salt and transfer to a blender along with lemon juice and pepper and blend until smooth.
  3. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified.
  4. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in chopped oregano.
  5. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill for cooking.
  6. Toss shrimp with ¼ cup dressing in a large bowl and marinate 15 minutes.
  7. Lightly brush lemon wedges with some of remaining dressing and grill, turning over once, until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large platter.
  8. Grill shrimp on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using a gas grill), turning over once, until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes total.
  9. Transfer to platter with lemons as grilled.
  10. Serve with remaining dressing.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps
Serves 4
Portobello – pronounced (por-toh-BEHL-loh) and also called Portabella is really simply a brown crimini mushroom in disguise. Evidently the usage of the two words “portobello vs. portabella” is simply an issue of a marketing brand. Once the little brown Crimini Mushroom grows up to be about 4” – 6” in diameter he is deemed to be a “Portobello”. To confuse things further, the Portobello in Northern Italy is called “cappellone” which means “big hat”. Here at home, the Portobellos in the U.S. have become the “vegetarian’s meat”. Grilled, they have a very meaty texture and are served as salad toppings and even as a burger. They are also a perfect companion for polenta and can be stuffed and baked as deep fried once batter dipped.
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  1. 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps
  2. 1/3 cup Canola Oil
  3. 3 Tbsp. Vidalia or Sweet Onion, chopped
  4. 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  5. 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, minced
  6. 1/4 cup Sweet Basil, fresh, chopped
  7. 1/4 tsp. Thyme, dry leaf
  8. 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  9. 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  10. To Taste - Salt & Pepper
  1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems.
  2. Place caps on a plate with the gills (underside) up.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
  5. Remove caps from the marinate and grill over hot grill for 10 minutes (approximately 5 minutes on each side).
  6. Serve immediately.
  1. Additional garnishments that can be sprinkled over plated mushrooms include grated Parmesan Cheese, Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil Pesto.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Grilled Fresh Figs with Chevre, Prosciutto & Balsamic Syrup

Grilled Fresh Figs with Chevre, Prosciutto & Balsamic Syrup
Serves 4
A delicious recipe for outdoor grilling! The sweetness of the fresh figs is balanced wonderfully with both the tart and pungent Chevre Cheese and the Sweet and Sour flavor of the Balsamic Syrup reduction.
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  1. 8 medium Ripe Figs
  2. 1/2 cup Chevre (Goat Cheese)
  3. 2 tsp. Minced Chives
  4. 4 thin slices Prosciutto
  5. 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  6. 1 Tbsp. Light Molasses
  7. As Desired - Blackberries, Raspberries and/or Mint
  8. To Taste - Salt & Pepper
  1. Cut figs in half, partially leaving one side intact.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Chevre, rosemary and chives.
  3. Place a small amount of the Chevre mixture in the center of the fig and press the sides together.
  4. Wrap each fig with a half of a piece of Prosciutto and skewer with a pick if necessary.
  5. Grill wrapped figs over medium low heat, turning once or twice, to lightly toast fig exterior and melt Chevre cheese. Do not burn.
  6. While grilling figs, combine balsamic vinegar and molasses in a small, heavy saucepan and reduce to 2 ½ Tbsp.
  7. Once figs are done, remove to a plate or platter, drizzle with syrup reduction and garnish with fresh berries, a sprig of mint and freshly cracked black pepper.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Burgers are on the Menu at Nino’s

Grilling season is marked by four popular holidays: Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, and of course, Labor Day.

Many of us theme each of these holidays with one of the popular meat choices and build our menus from there. Others have no strategy at all and just grill everything from brats to chicken in the hopes that everyone will find something he or she likes.

Of course, at Nino’s, we’re prepared for any strategy you choose. We have our homemade sausages; pre-seasoned, grill-ready chicken; all of your favorite hot dog brands; and of course, our now-famous Seasoned Burger Patties in both chicken and beef. Add to that our popular Sliders, and it’s quite an impressive lineup.

But for Labor Day, I think my favorite items on the menu at Nino’s are our burgers, and with four chicken flavors to choose from, I know I can always find the perfect burger for diet and taste! The chicken flavors include Teriyaki, Southwest, Cheddar and Plain. Then we have four Seasoned Beef Burgers on top of that: Mushroom, Bacon & Cheddar, Hickory, and Jalapeno & Cheddar.

Speaking of burgers, if you’d like to create your OWN specially seasoned burgers, just like the ones we make here at Nino’s, take a look at my video.

I created it to give you some tips to Make the BEST Burgers on the Block. There’s even a Burger Primer to go along with it, so you’ll have all the sizzling information YOU need to grill with confidence.

If your grilling hasn’t been so thrilling lately, I have a few more suggestions you might want to consider:

And most recently, I’ve added:

With Labor Day right around the corner, you’ll want to finish that menu, make out that shopping list and come on over to Nino’s, where our butchers and helpful staff can hook you up with all the essentials.

Have a GREAT Labor Day holiday!

NEW Grilling Sauce Recipes

Summer is well along, and if you’re like many of us, you’ve probably already had your fill of burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, and ribs as well as any number of delicious meats on the grill.

Why do I use the word grill? Although we often use the term barbecue when we’re talking about what’s for dinner, the vast majority of us are really grilling.

What’s the difference?

Grilling, unlike true barbecuing, is marked by its rather short, hot approach. It gives your meats less smoke but provides the opportunity to form a crispy exterior crust and a rarer doneness, if that’s what you like.

It also gives you the opportunity to apply a basting of sauce, which because of the higher temperatures that grilling requires, caramelizes and turns into something truly wonderful.

It’s amazing to see a sauce whose taste isn’t something you’d enjoy raw completely morph into an irresistibly delicious glaze once it’s grilled.

Your standard barbecue sauce does this to some degree, but I think once you’ve reached the 4th of July, you might think about giving that tomatoey, ketchupy sauce a break and move on to some other well-deserved flavors.

Ready for a change?

If so, I have a few NEW grilling sauces that will perk up your next grill out. They’ll give your backyard cuisine some new flavors to see you straight through to Labor Day.

My first recipe, which is on our website, is fantastic with pork and chicken. It’s my Mongolian Marinade & Basting Sauce. This marinade is hoisin based and has just the right amount of acidity to counterbalance its sweetness. It has just enough spice and hot kick to keep you interested in every bite. I’d suggest marinating your pork or chicken in this sauce for an hour or two before grilling. Also, give your meats at least three bastings while cooking over medium to medium-high heat.

Love the flavors of the Southwest? Have a little maple syrup in your pantry? This recipe is waiting for your grill!

I’ll caution you, however. This recipe requires REAL maple syrup in order to stand up to all the other ingredients. You may also want to chop a little extra fresh cilantro to have on hand for garnishing your finished meats. And speaking of meats, this grilling sauce is great on EVERYTHING, even fish. Go for it!

Sweet Maple Chipotle Grilling Sauce

Makes about 2 cups of marinade

2 Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce (canned)
2/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1 TBSP Garlic, Minced
¼ Cup Green Onion, Chopped Fine
2 TBSP Teriyaki Sauce
¼ tsp Oregano, Crushed, Dry
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 TBSP Sesame Oil
½ Lime Juice from ½ Lime
¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped

Just mix all of these ingredients together in a non-reactive (glass, plastic or stainless-steel) bowl, and allow them to marinate together for an hour or two before using. Like all marinades and basting sauces, it’s best to let your grilled meats soak in some of the flavor by marinating an hour or so before grilling. Then apply at least two or three bastings while grilling, generally over medium or medium-high heat.

The last (and by no means the least) sauce you MUST try is my Jamaican Jerk Sauce and Marinade.

It’s a rather classic version, with a few nuances that make it a little more complex. I’ll explain: Some ingredients just MAKE Jamaican Jerk what it is, and that means a balance of sweet spices and thyme with garlic, soy and heat (a little).

My recipe does the following

  • Adds honey as well as brown sugar
  • Replaces soy sauce with teriyaki sauce to kick up the ginger and garlic component
  • Requires sherry vinegar and Spanish onion versus cider vinegar and any onion
  • Uses frozen, concentrated orange juice to intensify that sweet citrus flavor you get in jerk

Again, I recommend an hour or so of marinating before grilling and then a few bastes over medium heat.

Jamaican Jerk

Makes about 3 cups

½ Cup Green Onions, Finely Chopped
1 TBSP Thyme, Fresh Minced
2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Honey
2 tsp Allspice, Ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
1 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
2 Habanero Peppers, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Teriyaki Sauce
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar
1 Cup Spanish Onion, Finely Chopped
¼ Cup Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice
 Garlic, Minced
1 tsp Ginger, Fresh, Minced

Once again, just stir all of these ingredients together and let them rest and marinate together an hour or so before using.

Do you have a great grilling sauce recipe? Share with me in the comments below!

Nino’s Moo-U: Know Your Steaks

When you’re in charge, the grill is hot and everyone is hungry, the stakes can get pretty high. Handling that pressure, however, is a whole lot easier when you know your steaks are ALSO up to the challenge!

So, where can you go to bone up on steaks? Even the boneless ones?

Nino’s Moo – U…

or as we call it here, “Know Your Steaks,” which reviews all the different steak cuts as well as ways to minimize your “mis-steaks,” maximize your flavor and enjoy the day.

In other words, a little Steak Knowledge can go a long way towards grilling success and happy guests.

Learn things like:

  • It isn’t always about the reddest meat.
  • Fat is your friend (okay…in steak-speak anyway).
  • The Tenderness vs. Flavor debate
  • How some of America’s BEST chefs prepare their steaks
  • How a steak’s thickness can affect flavor

We’re not talking hamburger here. Steaks are an investment worth reading up on before you invest in the “stock-yard!”

An ounce of knowledge is worth a pound of dry, overcooked beef.

While you’re here, you might also want to check out a couple more of my most popular grilling season blogs:

Finally, when you’ve made your decisions and you’re ready to buy those tasty steaks, Nino’s Butcher Shop’s meat cutters are standing by to help you pick out just the right steaks and even to hand-cut a whole NY Strip or Tenderloin just the way YOU want it.

Bottom line: We’re ready at Nino’s to Meat (and exceed) your expectations.

Great Kitchen Gadgets for Summer 2013

While it can be said that most kitchen gadgets are useless, I’m nevertheless intrigued by the never-ending stream of shiny, colorful, clever culinary mousetraps these “gadgety” folks create to separate me from my hard-earned bucks.

And sometimes, I must admit, they actually succeed.

And I think gadgets have two seasons. The summer grilling/barbecue/picnic kind of outdoorsy season, and of course, the winter holiday season.

We’re especially vulnerable to gadgets during the holiday season. It’s not so much that we need them for ourselves. Rather it’s because we desperately hope that someone else can’t live without them. Or at least that’s what we’re hoping as they unwrap their “treasure.”

The summer season is a harder sell for the gadgeteers. It’s then that they have to convince us that WE really need one. (Unless re-gifting is your thing. Then you can just take a flyer.)

So, I headed off to Sur La Table to see just what this summer’s gadget geeks were buying to make this season’s culinary adventures more efficient, more perfect, more fun.

Here’s what I found.

When you think of summer, you think HOT but at the same time cold–as in cold beverages, cold salads and cold treats.

Tovolo® has you covered with the cold beverages and treats category. They’ve created a WAY-cool assortment of silicone ice cube trays for every imaginable shape of ice cube you can think of, including the brand’s ULTRA-slow-melting Sphere Ice Molds, which cool your drinks without watering them down. (Okay, I have to admit, I own a couple of these, and they actually work great.) Tovolo® also has a set of six silicone “Bug Pop” molds. If your kids would love to lick a bug, this is the ticket. A company called ZOKU® also has some fascinating “pop” molds in various shapes, including a “Quick Pop” maker that you put in the freezer and then later pour in your favorite “pop” mixture. It then only takes 7 to 9 minutes, and “voila,” you have frozen, ready-to-eat treats!

Grilling is another target-rich environment for gadgeteers, and I found within Sur Le Tables’ brand of grilling utensils an extra-wide grill spatula that looks perfect for turning over those large slabs of ribs or any other large grilling items.

Ever skewer meats, shrimp, or other items on a single rod skewer and have your food spinning around like a kid on a “tilt-a-whirl” as you try and turn it over to cook it on the other side? If so, Fusionbrands® Grill Comb is your new friend. The comb’s multiple tines on one side hold your food securely in place, so you won’t “flip out” when you flip your food.

And speaking of grilling, Sur La Tables’ Pizza Stone tiles are great for use in your covered grill or in the oven, if you prefer. Keep in mind that outdoor grilled pizzas are IN this year.

Back in the kitchen, I found a few other interesting (if not outright must) gadgets.

I will admit that the first is barely a gadget, but OXO Steel™ Corn Holders are probably THE best corn holders going. The tines are long and sharp, and the handles are “beefy” and non-slip. (That comes in handy when you have “butter fingers.”

On the hot side of things, LÉKUÉ® has silicone everything, and the brand offers a fabulous selection of steamers for your microwave. You HAVE to check them out. Just open the floppy sides, put in a few tablespoons of water and the item you want to steam, close the flaps and zap! Easy peasy!

If you’ve never bought a salad spinner because you don’t have the storage space, Progressive® (no, not the insurance company) has a very nice, COLLAPSIBLE Salad Spinner with your name on it. It works great and takes up not much more space in your cupboard than a small stack of plates.

Ready for a drink?

While (again) not your classic gadget, I very much like Sur La Table’s “Outdoor Wine Glasses.” They look like glass, they have rather slender stems (which you don’t often find in plastic) and they’re BIG. (This saves your breath from running back and forth to the cooler and gives the wine room to breath too.)

For the “Tea Totalers,” Sur La Table also has a nice selection of Sun Tea jugs and dispensers. I especially like the large mason-like jar from which you can hang a small chalkboard sign. Nice.

Lastly, if all of these choices have you ready for a “shot,” you might want one more thing. Of course! A set of four Hand-Carved Himalayan Salt Tequila Shot Glasses may be JUST what you need. They also are purportedly great for Gazpacho shots.

There you have it! From the grill to the kitchen to the bar, this year’s summer gadget season has something for everyone, in every color and every style.

Enjoy the toys!

Get “Zapped” at Nino’s With Zap Butter!

One of the coolest things I get to do at Nino’s is create stuff. It’s even more fun when I get to watch people sample and enjoy what I’ve created and put it into their shopping cart to take home.

Recently, I created a product called Zap Butter. It started as an idea to bring a new taste experience to all of our customers who love to grill and enjoy the great products from our Meat and Seafood Departments.

Before Zap, customers could accent and dress their meat and fish selections with rubs, marinates and sauces–all great choices. NOW, we’ve added a product that fits an entirely whole new category of flavor choices.

zap_butter at Nino's

What is Zap Butter?

Zap is what we chefs call a “compound butter”. These begin with butter but have all sorts of fantastic flavors added to enrich the taste experience. Added flavors include those like roasted garlic, sautéed mushrooms, green onions, crisp bacon, or natural roasted beef.

How do you use Zap Butter?

Using Zap is the easiest part. Simply prepare your steak, chop or fish as you normally would. While it is still hot, place a tablespoon of Zap Butter on top and let it melt. The combinations of the natural juices from the meat or fish mixed with the butter and garnishes create a sauce that is truly an experience better tasted than explained.

Choices, Choices, Choices…

When it comes to Zap Butter, I realized that one flavor does not necessarily fit all. So, I created 3 unique flavors of Zap.

  • The “Original” is made with beef, onions, soy sauce and garlic with a kick of pepper, and it is fantastic on grilled steaks and chops.
  • The Savory Mushroom is just like the name says: full of mushrooms with garlic, onion and spices. This one goes equally well with red meats and poultry.
  • Lastly, the Crispy Bacon is not only a terrific finishing butter for seafood and poultry but it also makes a wonderful butter sauce for pasta!

You’ll find Zap Butter only at Nino’s (in our Meat Department) but we hope you’ll also find it in your home refrigerator and try it this coming Labor Day weekend.

I think Zap really fills that gap between rubs and sauces, and they’re flavors you’ll savor. Let me know what you think!

When Grilling Stops Being Thrilling…Then What?

If, by the end of July, you’ve had your “fill of the grill”…

If your definition of the “Dog Days of Summer” is the time when you’ve finally become sick of hot dogs…

If the time you spend endlessly making trips between your refrigerator and your backyard grill has become known as “Burgatory”…

Then you just might want to forget about the charcoal. This might just be the time to fire up your imagination instead.

Before there are great recipes, there are great concepts.

The word “concept” is intentional–and fun. Personally, I think “recipes,” especially those used to prepare quick summer dishes, kind of miss the point of enjoying the summer.

In my mind, summer should be easygoing, stress-free and as fun as possible.

Learning a new “recipe” just seems like work when I’d rather be having fun. On top of that, most people pretty much tweak the recipes anyway, so it kind of defeats the purpose of writing or explaining many of them.

My thinking? Just grab onto the “idea,” make it your own and run with it!

Like falling in love all over again…

Conceptual recipes are meant to “stir” an idea in your head or perhaps remind you of some flavors you might have always loved but somehow, over time, lost touch with.

Conceptual recipes can help you get “re-connected” or can re-introduce you to recipes or flavors you already like that are now arranged and prepared in a completely different and new way, sometimes bringing one ingredient forward that is usually just part of the “supporting cast.”

It’s like falling in love with a favorite dish all over again.

We have a few recipes on our website that use this idea. One, our Barbecue Pork and Spinach Salad, creates the flavor of barbecue in a salad, and I’ve just recently blogged about how to use flour tortillas in dishes other than enchiladas and quesadillas, which will once again demonstrate that same idea.

Speaking of enchiladas and quesadillas, I’d like to share with you a “conceptual idea” for just such a dish. It is also a somewhat “re-constructed” version of a Tex-Mex favorite– specifically, a taco.

Like a taco, it can be especially fun if you pair both hot (in this case shrimp) and cold ingredients together in the same dish.

A conceptual recipe to liven up the Dog Days of Summer

If you like it, you name it! For now, I’ll call it Shrimp With No Name.

For each person you will need the following:

  • 3 to 5 extra-large shrimp seasoned with cumin, garlic and chili powder
  • Guacamole (any decent recipe) BUT pureed with a bit of sour cream and milk to make into a soup-like consistency
  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • Roma tomato, sliced in ¼” disks
  • Crisp corn tortillas (chips or thin strips)
  • Canned black beans (rinsed)
  • Cilantro, rough chopped or small sprigs

After seasoning the shrimp, spray lightly with vegetable oil, and either grill or sauté until JUST cooked.

Build your plate like this and capture the image in your “mind’s eye”…


…failing that, we have a picture.

shrimp salad

  1. Nest a mound of finely shredded lettuce 2” x 6” across the middle of the plate.
  2. Shingle 4 to 5 slices of Roma tomato on top of the lettuce
  3. Nest a layer of tortilla chips or strips on top of the tomato slices.
  4. Place the freshly cooked shrimp (still hot) on the tortilla chips.
  5. Pour a pool of the “guacamole” crème around the “shrimp island,” and finally, garnish with black beans, some diced tomato and cilantro.

This dish could work equally well with sliced grilled chicken or steak. At the end of the day, what you have is a re-constructed taco, with many of the familiar ingredients and flavors, except used in a slightly different way. Feel free to add other ingredients too, such as Nino’s Santa Fe Style Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Sour Cream, and Green Onions, or try our Chipotle Ranch Dressing–all great ideas to build on!

I hope you enjoy this new idea and that it inspires you to look at other dishes you enjoy.

Have fun, and have a GREAT summer!

Get Rubbed the “Right” Way!

It’s easy to get “rubbed” the wrong way, but getting “rubbed” the RIGHT way can make ALL the difference when it comes to the outcome of your outdoor grilling, barbecuing and roasting.

Just what is a rub?

Rubs are topical applications of herbs, spices and (sometimes) salt that add flavor and a distinctive “crust” to meat, poultry and fish. The whole idea and “culture” of those who use rubs is to add an additional layer of flavor and or texture that would be absent if a rub were not used.

Do rubs make meat more tender?

Yes and no…mostly no. Most rubs contain only herbs, spices and salts and no chemical “tenderizers” that might break down connective tissues and make the meat more tender. Their use is primarily for taste. The “yes” part is that rubs can help seal in juices, so they can indirectly make meats more tender by preventing them from being too dry.

What is the difference between rubs and marinades?

Simply stated, marinades are the liquid versions of rubs. They generally have an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, vinegar or even soy sauce in the recipe, which can break down fibrous meat tissues over time. Marinades can both flavor and tenderize.

Which is better, and when should I choose one over the other?

Both rubs and marinades can be used in most any application to some degree, yet there are specific outcomes you can expect from each one.


Generally speaking, rubs are preferred for tender meats like steaks and chops. Pork spareribs/baby back ribs fall somewhere in the middle, and both can be used successfully. The flavor of the rub generally doesn’t penetrate deeply into the meat tissue; therefore, it doesn’t alter the flavor of the greatest percentage of the meat. What it does is add a wonderful surface flavor and allow the meats to brown and crisp on the outside while sealing in the juices (and flavor) on the inside.


When marinades are chosen for steaks and chops, the length of marinating is brief, and the marinade is often brushed on the product as it is cooking to create additional flavor and color. More typically, marinades are preferred for their tenderizing characteristics with tough meats like flank steak (London broil) or briskets. A very famous recipe called Sauerbraten marinates the Eye of the Round and then creates a delicious sauce from the marinade.

If you’d like more information about rubs and marinades and the steaks and meats you can enjoy them with, check out Nino’s:

Which do you prefer for your grilled steak? Rubs or marinades? Let us know in the comments below.