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Spring’s first fling

Some of the best grilling time starts with the first of spring’s vegetables. Add a little feta cheese and you’ve got a sure winner of a sandwich.

Here are a list of the top four great grilling tips.
1. Let meat stand 10 minutes at room temperature to take the chill off before grilling. Salt and pepper add simple flavor.

2. Use tongs instead of forks when turning meat. Piercing allows juices to escape, resulting in a dry product.

3. When cooking indoors, try an enameled cast-iron grill skillet, which offers good grilled flavor and easy cleanup.

4. Grill fruits that caramelize well (pineapple rings, peach slices, and citrus wedges) for an easy side dish.
Q. What is the best way to lighten grilled meals without sacrificing taste?

A. Grilling is an easy way to cook lighter because a lot of the fat drains off the food while it cooks.

If you make vegetables or seafood, go easy on the oil. It isn’t necessary and too much can cause burning.

Tomato-Chicken Salad
Preheat grill to 400 to 450 degrees (high) heat. Rub 6 (1-inch thick) ciabatta or French bread baguette slices with a garlic clove; brush with extra virgin olive oil. Grill bread 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until toasted.

1 lemon
2 lb. assorted tomatoes, halved or chopped
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 large English cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Grate zest from lemon to equal 2 tsp.; squeeze juice from lemon to equal 2 Tbsp.

Combine lemon zest, juice, tomatoes and next eight ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Toss with crumbled feta just before serving.

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

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