Summer is here and that can only mean one thing: serving up some of the best meals for your friends and enjoying them outdoors.
To help you deliver some mouthwatering dishes, we're looking back on past Top Chef creations through the years—there’s much more sumptuous fare you can cook up beyond your everyday burgers and dogs. Today, we've got 6 seasonally appropriate dishes for the tastiest summer BBQ ever.
Howie's Black Truffle Burger
During Season 3, Howie served up this mouthwatering burger—prepared with Taleggio cheese, tomato and radicchio—during a Quickfire Challenge. The dish (like the one shown above) takes 20 minutes to prepare and serves four.
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
3 ounces black truffle butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 slices pancetta
4 ounces Taleggio cheese, sliced
4 brioche buns, split in half and toasted
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
8 radicchio leaves
1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
2: In a large bowl, combine the beef, truffle butter, and salt. Mix with a fork or your fingers until the butter is just incorporated. Form the beef into 4 patties. Lay a slice of pancetta over each patty.
3: Preheat a large, ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until hot. Put the burgers in the skillet, pancetta-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes per side for rare, 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.
4: Put the cheese on top of the burgers and place the skillet in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
5: Place the burgers on the bottom bun halves, top with the tomato slices and radicchio, and cover with the top bun halves.
Dave and Tiffani's Moroccan Cubanos
The two Cheftestants teamed up to create this dish during a Season 1 Elimination Challenge, which asked competitors to fuse two of San Francisco's culinary cultures in a new kind of street food. The dish takes 3 hours to prepare and serves 6.
One 4- to 5-pound bone-in pork butt, trimmed
2 tablespoons ras al-hanout
1 cup low-sodium veal stock
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
4 carrots, cut into julienne
1 red onion, cut into julienne
3 fresh jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
Picked Vegetable Ingredients:
3 cups red wine vinegar
4 fresh pocketless pits or other flatbread, or fresh corn tortillas
For the Pork:
1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Season the pork generously with salt and raw al-hanout
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook until well browned on all sides, about 12 minutes total.
4. Put the pork in a large roasting pan and pout in the stocks and 1/2 cup water. Roast for 4 to 5 hours, until the pork is tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
5. Remove the pork to a cutting board and pour the cooking juices into a small sauce-pan. Cook the juices over high heat until reduced to about 3/4 cup; shred the pork into bite-size pieces, discarding the bones. In a large bowl, toss the pork with the reduced juices.
For the Pickled Vegetables:
1. In a large nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, fennel, and 3 cups water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Put the carrots, onion, and chiles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the hot vinegar mixture into the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the vegetables steam for 20 minutes. Pour out all but about 1 cup of the liquid. Keep the vegetables, covered, in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature when ready to serve.
1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the pitas, one at a time.
2. Pile the pork onto the pitas, top with pickled vegetables, and serve immediately.
Harold's Prime New York Strip Steaks
During a Season 1 elimination challenge, Harold spiced up his New York Strip Steaks with the addition of foie gras sauce and parsnip puree. The dish takes 2 hours to prepare and serves 4.
Foie Gras Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 12 ounces beef trimmings and bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup red Burgundy wine
4 cups low-sodium veal stock
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
4-6 ounces foie gras, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
About 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
Leave from 1 fresh thyme sprig
Four 10- to 12-ounce prime strip steaks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
For the Foie Gras Sauce:
1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the trimmings and bones, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 8 minutes, or until browned. Add the shallots, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté for 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the wine and cook until it is almost evaporated. Add the stock, thyme, and bay leaf, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 1 hour.
2. Using an immersion blender, blend the foie gras into a sauce 1 or 2 pieces at a time, blending until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the Parsnip Puree:
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the parsnips, shallot, and garlic and sauté until the shallot is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add the cream, enough stock to cover the parsnips, and the thyme leave and bring to a simmer. Cook until the parsnips are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
For the Beef:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Let the steaks warm to room temperature, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the steaks. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Put the skillet in the oven and roast the steaks to desired degree of doneness. Transfer to serving plates and brush with the butter and garlic; let rest for 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce around the steaks. Place a mount of parsnips on each plate. Serve immediately.
Marcel's Curried Lamb Kabobs
Season 2 Cheftestant Marcel whipped up this winning Quickfire Challenge when asked to create a snack using mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, or Italian dressing. The dish takes 30 minutes to prepare and serves 2.
2 cups mayonnaise
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup Madras curry powder
1 pound lamb loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 portobello mushroom cap, cut into four 1-inch cubes
4 small tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat a charcoal grill and set the grate about 8 inches about the coals.
2. In a small bowl, which the mayonnaise, honey, and curry powder together and set aside.
3. In 3 separate small bowls, toss the lamb, mushroom, and tomatoes with oil to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Lightly brush the grate with oil. When the flames have died down and the coals are white, put the mushroom and lamb cubes on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the mushroom is softened and the lamb is cooked to medium-rare or rare. Place the tomatoes on the grill; cook for 2-3 minutes, until blistered and charred.
5. Thread the mushroom squares, tomatoes, and lamb cubes onto skewers and place the kabobs on 2 serving plates with dollops of curry mayonnaise. Serve immediately.
C.J.'s Scallop Mousse and Shrimp Burger
During Season 3, C.J. delivered this winning creation during a Quickfire Challenge. It only takes 1.5 minutes to cook and serves 2.
Scallop Mousse and Shrimp Burger:
4 bay scallops
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile
2 teaspoons minced scallion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup pickled ginger
3 tablespoons pickled ginger juice (from the pickled ginger jar)
2 crosswise slices honey tangerine
2 brioche buns
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced radicchio
1/4 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
For the Scallop Mousse and Shrimp Burgers:
1. Place the scallops, chile, scallion, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and pulse to combine, scraping the sides once or twice. With the motor running, pour in 1 tablespoon of the oil through the hole in the lid to emulsify the mixture.
2. Line two 3-inch aspic molds with enough plastic wrap to generously cover the burgers. Arrange 12 shrimp halves in a circular formation in the bottom of the molds. Add the scallop mousse and press down. Top with the remaining shrimp and press down again. Wrap the plastic tightly over the burgers and twist over the top to enclose and seal the burgers. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up.
3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Unwrap the burgers and place them in a skillet; cook until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove from the skillet and transfer to paper towels to drain.
For the Sauce:
While the burgers are chilling, combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Place a honey tangerine slice on each bottom bun. Place the burgers on top, drizzle with the sauce, and sprinkle with the cilantro, radicchio, and spinach. Top with the top bun and serve immediately.
C.J.'s Grilled Squid with Avocado, Watermelon and Endive
Season 3 Cheftestants were tasked to come up with a dish that would pair well with a summery Gin cocktail. So C.J. came up with this tasty dish, which takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to prepare, including marinating, and serves 2.
10 pieces cleaned, drained baby squid (tentacles only)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
7 tablespoons olive oil
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons diced watermelon rind
One 1-inch-thick round of watermelon, quartered, rind removed and reserved
1 head endive, thinly sliced
Minced fresh chives
1. Combine the squid, garlic, parsley, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a drop of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste and marinate for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, cayenne, and watermelon rind. Macerate for 20 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
3. Place a grill pan over high heat and let the pan get very hot. Cut the avocado length-wise and twist the halves apart. Tap a knife blade against the pit until it dislodges, then twist the pit to pull it out. Rub each half with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Carefully place the pieces flesh side down on the grill pan, and after both halves are marked with grill lines, about 2 minutes, remove from the grill. Use a spoon to scoop the avocado flesh free of the skins. Keep each half in tact.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Season the watermelon quarters with salt and pepper. Lay the pieces flat in the pan to caramelize both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
5. Place a grill pan over high heat and let the pan get very hot. Add the squid and grill, stirring, until opaque, about 2 minutes.
6. Toss the endive with the vinaigrette, reserving some vinaigrette for drizzling. Place 2 pieces of watermelon on each plate. Top the watermelon with endive, chives, and avocado. Spoon watermelon rind into the indentation in the avocados, and top with grilled squid. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.