Chef Batali Offers Recipes With New Book

Just in time, Chef Mario Batali dishes recipes perfect for summer grilling.

ByABC News via logo
May 20, 2008, 12:17 PM

May 23, 2008 — -- Mario Batali joined "Good Morning America" today to celebrate his sixth cookbook, "Italian Grill."

Batali showed the anchors how to prepare his Spicy Black Pepper-Coated Drumstricks, or as he likes to say "buffalo wings go to Italy," and other dishes perfect for summer grilling.

Get Batali's recipes for his signature Drumsticks, Grilled Vegetable Salad, Grilled Corn and Eggplant Parmigiana Packets below:

*Serves 6

This is a typical Italian way of preparing vegetables, but I first had it in a little restaurant called La Capannina on the Isle of Capri, and so I think of it as Capri-style. The vegetables listed here are merely guidelines?as always, the fresher and more seasonal, the better.

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, mustard, pepper flakes, olive oil, and orange juice (reserve the zest for garnish). Set aside.

Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut the peppers into quarters and remove the cores and seeds. If using baby zucchini, remove the blossoms and set aside; cut the zucchini lengthwise in half. If using small zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices (discard the first and last slice from each). Cut the onions into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Trim the scallions. Snap off the tough bottom parts of the asparagus stalks.

Place the vegetables on two large baking sheets. Brush lightly with some of the marinade and season lightly with salt. Place on the grill over medium-high to high heat (you will probably have to cook the vegetables in batches) and cook, turning once or twice, until tender and slightly charred on both sides: the eggplant will take about 8 to 10 minutes, the peppers 10 to 12 minutes, the zucchini 6 to 8 minutes, the onions and scallions 4 to 6 minutes,and the asparagus 5 to 7 minutes. Remove each vegetable from the grill as it is done and return to the baking sheets.

Cut the peppers into ½-inch-wide strips. Arrange the vegetables decoratively on a large serving platter and drizzle with the remaining marinade. Sprinkle with the orange zest, the zucchini blossoms if you have them, and the basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Serves 6

Buffalo wings go to Italy: drumsticks in a spicy buttermilk marinade, red wine? Gorgonzola dressing, and fennel sticks standing in for the celery. Set out bowls of the sauce for dipping, or let guests spoon it over their chicken and fennel?either way, everyone will be very happy.

Partly cooking the drumsticks in the oven ensures that they will cook through on the grill without charring.You can bake the chicken early in the day or even the night before.


12 chicken drumsticks

Kosher salt

½ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce, preferably chipotle

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a spice or coffee grinder

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 fennel bulbs

4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the drumsticks on a baking sheet and season all over with salt. Bake unadorned for 20 minutes (25 minutes if your drumsticks are very large).

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Set a wire rack over a large plate or a small baking sheet.

As soon as the drumsticks come out of the oven, toss them, in batches, into the buttermilk mixture and turn to coat, then place skin side up on the rack to drain. Spoon a little of the mixture, with the fennel seeds and pepper, over the top of each one, and set aside. (The drumsticks can be baked and marinated up to a day ahead; leave them on the rack, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before grilling.)

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Trim the fennel bulbs, cut lengthwise in half, and cut out most of the core. Cut into ¼-inch-wide batonettes and toss into a bowl of ice water.

Crumble the Gorgonzola into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the red wine vinegar and stir with the fork until fairly smooth. Drizzle in the oil, stirring, to make a dressing. Pour into one or more shallow bowls for dipping.

Place the drumsticks on the hottest part of the grill, cover the grill, and cook, turning occasionally at first and then more often as they start to caramelize, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Put the drumsticks on a platter. Drain the fennel sticks, pat dry, and place on the platter next to the wings. Serve with the Gorgonzola dressing.

*Makes 6 ears

In Mexico, I have seen groovy little stands where the vendors poach ears of corn and then paint it with mayonnaise, dust it with chile flakes and grated queso fresco, and squeeze lime juice all over the whole thing. They do not do that in Italy, but this is what they might do. It's fantastic.

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a gas grill.

Place the corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook for 3 minutes, or until grill marks appear on the first side. Roll each ear over a quarter turn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then repeat two more times.

Meanwhile, mix the oil and vinegar on a large flat plate. Spread the Parmigiano on another flat plate.

When the corn is cooked, roll each ear in the oil and vinegar mixture, shake off the extra oil, and dredge in the Parmigiano to coat lightly. Place on a platter, sprinkle with the mint and pepper flakes, and serve immediately.

*Serves 6

Grilling eggplant brings out its smoky flavor, and it requires far less oil than frying, making this a much lighter version than the all-too-typical tired eggplant Parm. Serve hot or at room temperature, two little packets per person.

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Trim the eggplant and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices, discarding the first and last slices from each one; you should have 12 slices. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush on both sides with olive oil, using about 3 tablespoons oil. Place on the grill and cook, turning once, until golden brown and soft, about 2 minutes on each side; return the slices to the baking sheet as they are cooked.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, thyme, and tomato sauce. Lay the eggplant slices out on a work surface, with a narrow end toward you. Divide the bread crumb mixture among them, using a scant 1/4 cup for each and placing it on the lower half of each one. Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano and lay the slices of mozzarella on top. Fold the tops of the eggplant slices over to create little packages and transfer to a clean baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight, to marry the flavors.

Preheat the gas grill again or prepare another fire in the charcoal grill.

Carefully brush the eggplant packets on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place them gently on the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 2 minutes, or until nice grill marks appear on the first side. Gently flip over with a large spatula and cook for 2 more minutes, or until marked on the second side and hot throughout.

Carefully transfer the packets to a platter and sprinkle with the basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.

*Makes 4 cups

Add the tomatoes, with their juices, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is as thick as hot cereal, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and remove from the heat. (Once cool, the sauce can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.