Category Archives: Grilling

Great Hamburger Recipe: For July 4th Grilling or Any Time this Summer

Hamburger: Photo by by aktivioslo via Flickr.

A Great Hamburger Recipe by Chef Renee

Here’s a recipe for a hamburger that will wow your friends and family this July 4th and throughout the summer. Use grass fed beef for its deeper, richer flavor, but conventional beef works well too.

The secret? A disc of butter slid into the middle of the patty makes this a rich, succulent beef treat.

The following recipe makes eight burgers. If that’s too many for your size crowd, freeze the leftover patties (wrapped in plastic, then foil, labeled and dated).


1 pound chuck

1 pound short ribs (after bone is removed)

1 pound skirt steak. For flavor, don’t remove the fat.

¼ cup olive oil for grass fed beef; it’s leaner than conventional beef.


Have your butcher grind the beef to order. While the beef is chilling, prepare the following:

1 cup panko bread crumbs, unseasoned

4 teaspoons each of finely chopped fresh thyme and rosemary

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

4 shallots, finely chopped, rinsed and dried

2 hot peppers, finely chopped (Thai, Serrano, Jalapeno)- optional

2 eggs, well mixed

Also prepare:

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 stick sweet butter, cut into large dice and softened a bit

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon each of ground cardamom, cumin and turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blend the butter, garlic, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and soy sauce together until well mixed. Divide into 8 equal discs, about one inch wide, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Mix the beef gently with breadcrumbs, thyme, rosemary, ground pepper, shallots and hot pepper. Then blend in the eggs, and olive oil.

Divide into 8 portions. Shape each piece into a ball. Insert one disc of flavored butter into the center of each hamburger.  Press and shape it until it is a plump, but somewhat flattish with none of the butter visible. Handle the burgers as little as possible, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, minimum.


Preheat the grill so it’s very hot. Brush the burgers with olive oil. Grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes, until the marks are clearly visible. Turn the burgers over gently  and finish cooking burgers on the cooler side of the rack. Three more minutes should get you a medium rare burger. Don’t press the burgers or flatten them.

The burgers will continue to cook once removed from the heat source. When they are close to “done,” take them off the heat and let them rest for 5-6 minutes.

Want to gild the lily? Sprinkle some flaky sea salt on the burgers—just a little.

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Upper West Side: Recipe Roasts Pig in Alley and Neighbors Squeal

UWS restaurant Recipe roasting pig in alley.  Photo: Courtesty Westside Independent.

UWS restaurant Recipe roasting pig in alley. Photo: Courtesy Judy Starr via Westside Independent.

Pig Roasting on a spit in the alley behind your building?  Sound appealing…or ghastly?  Recipe, the New American restaurant at 452 Amsterdam Avenue off of 82nd Street, held a first anniversary celebration for its staff this week—and roasted a pig out back, a manager at the restaurant confirmed to the Westside Independent.

But residents apparently squealed. The smell and the sight of the piggy turning on the spit offended some.  Read more.

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Corn Dinner: First Course, Grilled Corn on the Cob


Yesterday, chef Renee Marton served up corn nibbles to munch on with drinks. Today, the first course of her all corn dinner–grilled corn on the cob with jalapeno oil and garlic chips.

Grilled corn on the cob with basil jalapeno oil and garlic chips

One ear of corn per person, for 4 servings
Step 1
Garlic chips:
6 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup olive oil

Heat olive oil in pan.  When hot but not smoking add garlic slices. This step will happen quickly if the oil is hot.  As soon as the slices are light brown, remove them with a slotted spoon.  Let the oil cool.   You will use it to make the basil oil. Note: don’t let the oil smoke—if you do, throw it out and use fresh olive oil for the basil oil recipe.

Step 2
Basil Oil
1 large bunch of basil, washed and dried, leaves removed.
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
½ cup olive oil, plus the ½ cup of oil from the garlic chips.

Place the basil, jalapeno and oils in the blender.  Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes, then high speed for at least 2 minutes.  The mixture should be very liquid when you are finished.  Add ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper and ½ teaspoon salt.  Blend another 30 seconds. Let the mixture come to room temperature.

Strain the oil through a metal or plastic mesh strainer, pressing it to get all the flavored oil out.  Keep it refrigerated.  This oil will last one week.

Step 3
4 ears of corn, husked and de-silked
¼ cup olive oil and a pastry brush
One hot grill

Once the garlic chips are made and the basil oil is finished, grill the corn directly on the grill, after brushing the ears with olive oil.  Turn them as soon as grill marks appear, and don’t cover them completely with grill marks.  When they are hot and somewhat marked, they are ready to eat.

To serve:

Give each person a bowl with some basil jalapeno oil and garlic chips mixed into it, plus one ear of grilled corn.   Dunking the corn into the sauce or brushing it on—both ways of eating the corn work.

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Recipe: Summer Fish Wrap

Photo flickr, via sekihan

Photo flickr, via sekihan

Looking for a for a summer fish recipe for the grill?  Here’s a  fish wrap from Chef Renee Marton.

You can make this recipe with wild Alaska salmon. But if you’re at the shore in the summertime, you could use blackfish, bluefish, monkfish or grouper fillet—basically any fish that’s thick enough to stand up to grilling. (No endangered species like bluefin tuna, please.)

Preheat the grill. Create a hot side and a cooler side so you can shift the fish around to different spots as you’re grilling.


It’s best to assemble what you’ll need before you start cooking.  This is called the mise-en-place (French for “everything in its place”).

Seasoning mix for fish:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder

½ stick sweet butter, softened
½ large bunch fresh basil leaves washed, dried and shredded
zest of one lemon

1.5 pounds thick fish fillet, cut into 4 equal pieces
8 pieces of thinly sliced Prosciutto
1 pound fresh peas in pod, shelled
8 scapes (young garlic still on stems), trimmed to about 4 inches from tops
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
¼ cup dry vermouth
2 tablespoons good olive oil

Blend seasoning mix together, and rub on each side of the four fish portions. Then wrap each piece of fish in two overlapping pieces of Prosciutto until snug.

Mash basil, lemon zest and butter together until well blended—set aside

Into a small to medium pot of boiling salted water (you should be able to taste the salt), add the scapes. Wait 1 minute, and then add the peas. After 30 seconds, drain the peas and scapes into a bowl of iced water, to chill everything down and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside once they are cool.


On an oiled and very hot grill, place the 4 portions of fish flat side down on the hot side of the grill. After 3 minutes, move the fish to the cool side of the grill and turn the fillets over. Finish cooking the fish—check them after 2-3 minutes. Salmon is fine medium rare, but the other fish are usually cooked all the way through.

On the cook top, heat a 10 inch sauté pan on a medium flame, and add olive oil to the pan. Wait 30 seconds and add the shallots. Stir until softened but not browned. Add the scapes, peas and vermouth. Reduce the vermouth by half. Turn off the fire and add the softened butter. Swirl it in to make the sauce.

Put the fish on a platter, and pour sauce over it.


Freshly made polenta, biscuits or corn on the cob would be great with this recipe, along with a sliced raw beet salad tossed with summer greens; a chilled red wine from the North Fork (or a still fruity Beaujolais or Provence rosé).

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Recipe: Make Dad Happy With Rib-Eye Steaks

There must be vegan dads out there, but they don’t happen to be members of my meat-loving family. For my hubby, and for my dad, both die-hard carnivores, when it comes to picking a Father’s Day meal, the dish of choice is obvious—a perfectly cooked steak. In fact, were it not for pesky health issues like cholesterol, they’d chow down on steak 365 days a year—with maybe a break for a burger or two.

Sure, my men would love to hoof it over to Peter Luger’s to celebrate Father’s Day. But with the economy in the tank, not this year. Instead, we’re cooking our steaks at home, on the grill. That’s why this Spicy Salt-Rubbed Rib-Eye Steak from Chef Renee Marton, is just the ticket for a Father’s day BBQ.

Ribeye steaks ont the grill.  Photo: WmJr via Flickr

Ribeye steaks ont the grill. Photo: WmJr via Flickr.

Learn more about Chef Renee here.
Send Chef Renee your cooking questions. 


Renee Marton

Where’s the beef?  Well, I can tell you that your steak-loving dad will drool over this mouthwatering Rib-Eye. It boasts a crust that’s at once salty, sweet, smoky, and spicy. Personally, I like to eat it with my fingers, but if you must use utensils, well, then, okay.  Homemade potato salad, a red radish and arugula salad, and grilled red onions (a way to use up the residual heat of the grill) are the perfect accompaniments.  To drink: a locally produced artisan beer, Sangria or unsweetened iced tea.


1 two-pound Rib-Eye steak, about 1 ½ inches thick
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pieces star anise
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Spray canola oil


  • Oiled pre-heated grill to 450°F
  • In a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle, pulverize star anise and coriander seeds.
  • Mix with salt, pepper, sugar, garlic powder and smoked paprika.  Rub on both sides of steak, and leave at room temperature for 60 minutes before grilling.
  • Grill should be hot, clean and lightly sprayed (carefully) or brushed with oil (or the oil can be brushed on with an oiled paper towel, or with a paintbrush—before pre-heating).
  • If you are using any kind of wood or briquettes that can be moved, place them in a pile so there is a hot spot, and keep the rest of the grill cooler.  If using a gas grill, start high, and then turn the flame down once the steak is turned over.
  • Place steak on grill, at hottest point.  Do not touch for the next five minutes.  After 5 minutes, turn steak in a different direction, but keep on same side.  This will produce a nice crisscross pattern.
  • Wait three minutes. Turn steak over and grill another 4 to 5 minutes, in a less hot part of the grill.  Remove steak from grill and place on a tilted platter (so the juices can run off, into a small plate). Let steak rest for at least 10 minutes.  Do not cover, or the crust will become soggy. Keep meat away from cold drafts, so it stays warm.
  • When ready to serve, slice the meat on a 45° angle into ½ thick slabs, and pour on the accumulated juices.

Yield:  4-6 servings

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