Cooking with a skewer, known as shish
kebab, kabob, shashlik, even French dishes designated en brochette
--no matter how you spell it or what you call it-- is one of
the oldest dishes known to mankind.
Asia and the Near East are considered
the birthplaces of the kabob. With its origins deeply rooted
into a multitude of nationalities, it's no wonder that the dish
has so many spelling variations. The invention of the kabob was
a boon to nomadic people, whose metal spears and swords also
doubled as cooking equipment.
A kebab can be any combination
of cubed meat, seafood, vegetables, or fruits arranged on skewers,
marinated or brushed with a sauce, and then broiled or grilled.
The skewer can be as simple as a green wooden stick of a camper
or as elaborate as the silver-handled skewer of the gourmet.
More commonly used are simple skewers made of stainless steel
or packaged wooden skewers available in assorted lengths.
- When using wooden skewers, always
soak in water for 30 minutes before using to prevent them from
burning on the grill or in the broiler.
- Skewers with flat sides (rather
than round) hold ingredients more securely.
- Dip a paper towel in vegetable
oil and rub over metal skewers before threading the food for
easy removal once cooked.
- Be sure to cut kebab ingredients
into same-sized pieces for even cooking.
- Partially cook foods that take
longer to cook, such as potatoes and onions, so that the kebab's
ingredients cook more evenly.
- If cherry tomatoes are used,
add them near the end of the cooking time, this will ensure that
they remain whole...and not fall off through the rack and into
- When turning skewers for cooking,
use oven mitts and/or long-handled tongs to turn hot skewers.