Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer, so to celebrate, round up a group of friends and host a casual but cozy barbecue.
Begin the fun with fingerlicking good grilled clams and garlic butter. Next move on to an easy dinner menu of the American favorite — steak and potatoes — made sophisticated by the smoky flavor of the grill.
Mexican spice-rubbed steak with lime butter is an eye catching entree. Pair with crisp-charred sweet-hot fries and romaine, avocado, and corn salad. Take a look at the recipes to these backyard favorites when you read more.
1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams, well scrubbed (about 24)
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, divided
4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced chives
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat a grill over medium heat.
- Scrub and rinse the clams. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat until it is foamy. Add the garlic and saute, stirring, until it is fragrant but does not color, about 30 seconds.
- Add the white wine and heavy cream, increase the heat to medium-high and reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining butter 1 piece at a time, whisking constantly, until the sauce is shiny, emulsified, and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.
- Set up the littleneck clams on the grill. Cook the clams without turning them. As soon as the clams pop open, after 8 to 10 minutes, transfer them carefully with tongs to a platter (or plates) of rock salt. Use the tongs to pry off the top shells. Spoon 1 teaspoon sauce over each clam and serve immediately.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder
Four 12-ounce, 1-inch thick, boneless rib eye steaks
Vegetable oil, for the grill
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and a pinch of salt.
- In another bowl, combine the paprika, cumin and chipotle powder with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Rub the mixture all over the steaks.
- Oil the grate and grill the steaks over moderately high heat, turning once, until slightly charred and medium-rare, about 12 minutes.
- Transfer the steaks to plates and top with the lime butter. Let the steaks stand for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.
2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, each slice cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Additional olive oil
- Prepare barbecue (medium heat).
- Place potatoes in 13 x 9x 2-inch baking dish. Add 1/4 cup oil, chopped fresh rosemary, brown sugar, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper to potatoes. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
- Brush grill lightly with oil. Place potatoes on grill, spacing about 1 inch apart. Grill until potatoes are tender and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes total.
- Transfer potatoes to bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 cups corn kernels
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
- In a bowl combine the romaine, corn, and cherry tomatoes.
- Add 3/4 cup of avocado.
- Place the remaining avocado in a blender along with 1/3 cup water, lime juice, and chili powder; season with salt and pepper.
- Pour dressing over the salad; toss gently.