Kebabs offer an easy option for all tastes
By Laura Langston
COOKING FOOD ON a stick over an open
flame has been done for centuries. Some claim
medieval Turkish soldiers started it by using
their swords to grill meat over field fires.
Others say it goes back to ancient Greece and
developed because of limited cooking fuel.
Nowadays meat kebabs are found around the
world: yakitori in Japan, satay in Indonesia,
sosatie in South Africa. But kebabs don’t need
to be limited to meat. Fish and vegetables can
be skewered and cooked this way too, satisfying a variety of dietary needs. And since kebabs
can be prepared ahead and cooked at the last
minute, they’re an ideal choice for entertaining.
Grilling is the preferred method of cooking kebabs. Before you get started, check that
you have enough fuel or charcoal, and give the
grill a quick brush to clean it.
Decide on your stick. Disposable bamboo
skewers are readily available but need to be
50 ;e Costco Connection AUGUST 2011
The Costco Connection
Most Costco warehouses carry grills, plus
ready-to-grill beef and chicken kebabs and
a variety of fresh meat, fruits and vegetables.
soaked for at least 30 minutes before using to
prevent them from catching fire. Stainless steel
skewers are an investment, but they’re reusable
and require no soaking. If you go with steel,
look for flat or double-pronged skewers, as
they stop food from rotating during cooking—
a particular challenge for seafood or fruit.
Always cut meat or seafood into same-sized chunks— 1 to 2 inches—so it cooks
evenly. Since vegetables cook at different rates
than meat or fish, people sometimes make
kebabs with single items (all meat or all vegetables). It’s more colorful and nutritious to combine items; it just takes a little planning.
Prawns, scallops and other seafood are
best combined with contrasting pieces of fish
(salmon with halibut, for instance) or with
quick-cooking or soft items (fruit, strips of
green onion, chunks of tinned artichokes).
Lamb, beef and chicken pair well with vegeta-
bles that won’t overcook quickly but are also
delicious cooked or raw. A classic example is
chunks of peppers and onions with lamb, beef
or chicken. Pressed tofu cooked on a medium-
high barbecue needs only warming and crust-
ing, but can handle being grilled long enough
to cook small mushrooms, thin zucchini
rounds and cherry tomatoes. Experimentation
and flexibility are the name of the game.
Victoria, British Columbia–based author and
cook Laura Langston has been known to eat
kebabs for breakfast.