There may be four burners on the stove, a dozen compartments in a muffin tin or too much space in the refrigerator. But when it comes to outdoor grilling, single cooks have a piece of equipment suited expressly to their household size: the hibachi.
This handy piece of terrace equipment can be used for more than just a steak, however. If you're going to take the time to heat up the coals, you might as well go one step further. There are lots of fashionable grill foods that come in one-person portions.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started, followed by some more detailed recipes.
Slice a sweet potato into 1/2-inch slices. Season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Grill, turning once, about 10 minutes.
Split a cornish game hen in half down the backbone. Season with salt and pepper and brush with oil. Slide fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, between the skin and the meat and grill for about 30 minutes, turning three or four times and being careful that the bird does not burn.
Be creative with kebabs. To complement a pork or chicken satay, slide another skewer of pineapple, peach or melon chunks on the hibachi for the last couple of minutes of grilling.
Grill a whole lobster. To kill lobster, lay it belly side up and cut through its center with a sharp knife. Do not cut through far enough to split the lobster in half. Remove tomalley and roe. Starting with the shell side down, grill lobster for 10 minutes to the pound, turning once. Baste belly with butter as it cooks.
Grill a few different kinds of sausages. Serve with the assorted mustards that have been taking up space in your refrigerator.
TROUT GRILLED IN A CORN HUSK (1 serving)
1 ear of corn
8-ounce whole trout, cleaned and gutted
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly grated pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime
Few sprigs fresh dill
Being careful not to tear husks, remove husks from corn; remove and discard silk and set corn and husks aside (see recipe below for what to do with the ear of corn). Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Spread cavity of fish with butter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and lime juice. Insert dill sprigs into fish cavity. Lay 3 corn husks on a flat surface, overlapping slightly. Place a seasoned fish on top; cover with 3 more husks. Tie a 12-inch piece of heavy string around center of husk-wrapped fish. Tie again around tail and close to head.
Place husk-wrapped fish on hibachi rack. Grill 12 to 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times. Serve with corn on the cob with chili butter.
agcrdt3 Adapted from "Grilling & Barbecuing," by John Phillip Carroll & Charlotte Walker (HP Books, $8.95)
GRILLED CORN ON THE COB WITH CHILI BUTTER (1 serving)
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 husked ear of corn
Combine butter and chili powder together and rub over corn.
Place corn on hibachi rack and grill about 10 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, being careful that it does not burn. If necessary, brush with additional butter during cooking.
GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMESAN (2 servings)
1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil mixed with 1/2 teaspoon oregano flakes
3/4 cup tomato sauce, heated
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Brush eggplant slices with seasoned oil. Place slices on hibachi rack and grill for about 10 minutes, turning once. Cover eggplant with tomato sauce, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
This dish can be reheated.
GRILLED SPICED CHICKEN BREAST (1 to 2 servings)
1/4 cup lowfat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Freshly grated black pepper and cayenne to taste
2 boneless chicken breast halves
Mix yogurt together with spices. Coat chicken breasts with spiced yogurt and set aside as you prepare the coals.
Grill briefly -- about 3 to 4 minutes per side -- so that the breasts do not dry out. Serve with grilled sweet potato.
INDONESIAN SHRIMP SATAY (1 serving)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
6 to 8 shrimp, peeled and deveined
* In a small saucepan, saute' garlic clove in oil. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp and stir to a smooth paste. Remove from heat. Coat shrimp with paste and set aside while you prepare the coals. Thread shrimp on a skewer and grill for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Adapted from "Oriental Barbecues," by May Wong Trent (Macmillan, $6.95)
GRILLED BLUE CHEESE BURGER COATED WITH CRUSHED PEPPERCORNS (1 serving)
4 to 6 ounces lean ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
2 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
Baguette for serving
* Mix meat with mustard, sherry, onion, garlic and salt. Shape into a patty. Dredge patty in crushed peppercorns, pressing them into both sides of meat. Set aside while you prepare the coals. Grill burger for about 10 minutes, turning once. Top burger with crumbled blue cheese during last 2 minutes of cooking and cook until melted. Serve on baguette.
LEMON-SESAME TURKEY BROCHETTE (1 serving)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces turkey breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
* Combine all ingredients except turkey breast and zucchini in a small bowl. Add turkey chunks and marinate for at least 1 hour. Thread turkey on a metal skewer alternating with zucchini chunks. Brush marinade over zucchini. Grill about 15 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times and brushing with marinade.