Aug 27, 2014 6:30 PM by Jennifer English
Instead of burgers this Labor Day weekend, I am making a party for my family and setting out an inspiring, colorful, fresh, seasonal Kebab Bar where guests can compose skewers of meats and veggies. I was inspired by the "pinchos" or small skewers of tapas, brightly and boldly seasoned food found at some of the best wine bars in the world.
The key elements of a Kebab Bar party are actually quite simple. Making sure that the items to be skewered are cut into uniform size, and offering items that will cook in approximately the same time is essential. Nothing is worse than having traditional shish kebab with half cooked lamb and blackened tomatoes. Visit the farmers market and celebrate a final weeks of summer with beautiful veggies and fruits. I will offer cubed stone fruit like last of the season stone fruits like plums or peaches, first of the season apples, pineapple and pears. Fruits and bread are surprises on a kebab bar. Also think about the combinations of flavors from your favorite sandwiches and tacos. A great kebab is a successful combination of flavors and textures.
My second secret is having all the protein and veggies marinated and seasoned in advance so that the biggest flavors are brought out in everything. My third secret is to offer fresh cubed fruit . The fruit can pair brilliantly with the lighter proteins.
My Kebab Bar selections will include:
- Shrimp, Chicken thighs, lamb, sausage and skirt steak
- Fresh seasonal veggies, cubed, marinated and seasoned.
- Cubed seasonal fruits
- Pickles, olives and other tangy flavors
- Finishing and dipping sauces. I make a mint pesto, thai peanut sauce, teriyaki, and your favorite barbecue sauce.
I always use stainless steel skewers for my kebab bar parties. They do heat up, but that is better than having your pincho catch on fire and fall apart. It is important to season skewers in advance with oil, salt and pepper. Cook your skewers on a medium-hot grill or grill pan in order to get a good sear and create a desired caramelization. Remember that the goal of our cooking is to get thoroughly and evenly cooked kebabs. Finishing sauces will be offered for a final brush-on prior to serving. I serve grissini bread sticks next to the sauces so guests can taste and imagine how they want to flavor their own creations. Finish the kebabs with a light brushing of sauce just before serving.