Serious Eats

Serious Entertaining: A Spring Grilling Menu

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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Dang, was it hot on Tuesday! The perfect excuse to spend a day out of the office to dive head first into recipe development for the upcoming grilling season. I can't help it. When the weather is nice. I WILL be out on my deck with a fire lit. It's not quite hot enough yet to break out the burgers and beers for a full-on deck party (for some reason, it needs to be either sweltering or snowing before I really want to grill burgers), but spring is the ideal time for a casual al fresco meal with some close friends and loved ones.

Here's what I'd be cooking this weekend had my wife not temporarily abandoned me for the West Coast.

Main Course: Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken with Green Sauce

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This Peruvian Style Grilled Chicken is a recipe I back-hacked from the awesome chicken and green sauce they serve at Pio Pio in NYC. The basics are simple: butterflied chicken with a vinegar and spice rub gets slow-cooked on the grill, followed by a quick stay directly over the coals to crisp the skin. It comes out perfectly tender and juicy and goes perfectly with a simple spicy and cream sauce made with jalapeños and aji amarillo peppers.

On The Side: Grilled Ratatouille

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[Photograph: Josh Bousel]

While your chicken is going, use the hot side of that grill to put together a Grilled Ratatouille. Charred eggplant, peppers, onions, zucchini, and squash in an herby dressing.

The Salad Bar: Shaved Asparagus, Pea, and Prosciutto Salad

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[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I always like to have at least one non-grilled item on the menu at a casual barbecue to save me from having to fight for grill space. This Shaved Asparagus, Pea, and Prosciutto Salad is perfect spring fare.

Dessert: Cantaloupe and Campari Popsicles

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[Photograph: Jennifer May]

And for a quick and casual dessert, nothing says warm weather like popsicles. Cantaloupe and Campari are a decidedly adult take on the frozen treat.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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