A Healthy Memorial Day Alternative to BBQ Burgers

In honor of the holiday, we're giving you permission to step up your summer grilling game this weekend

Photographs by Genevieve Garruppo/Lonny, Recipes developed by Christina Garruppo
Photographs by Genevieve Garruppo/Lonny, Recipes developed by Christina Garruppo

The smell of hot coals, the pool's lapping waves—the easy days of summer are here again. Today marks the unofficial kickoff to the season, and we know what you'll be eating this Memorial Day weekend. Whether they're served at a backyard barbecue or during a Thursday night pub crawl, burgers never go out of style. But in honor of the holiday, we're giving you permission to step up your summer grilling game. After all, how many sesame-seed buns can you really eat?

Start branching out with this elegant menu inspired by the sea, which features farm-raised red snapper over a bed of lemon and parsley, plus roasted new potatoes—an easy (not to mention much healthier) alternative to your average barbecue lineup. My sister, Christina Garruppo, a cook at Roberta's and Lonny's resident recipe developer, shows us how to grill up this tasty combo for a meal that's sure to impress your guests. Just remember—don't fear the fish head!    

A Healthy Alternative to Barbecued Burgers This Memorial Day

Whole Grilled Red Snapper
Serves 4

This recipe can be used with any mild white fish from the market. Make sure the flesh is firm and smells like the ocean, and the eyes are clear. You can do this outdoors or on a grill pan indoors.

- 1 4- or 5-pound whole fish, gutted and cleaned 
- 2 lemons, sliced in rounds
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- Kosher salt to taste
- extra-virgin olive oil

Bring your grill to medium heat. If you're using a charcoal model, push coals over to one side of the grill. You will start to cook the fish over the coals and finish it on the other, cooler side.

Meanwhile, pat the fish dry. Stuff the belly of the fish with the lemons, herbs, and garlic. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes to allow for even cooking.

Once your grill is hot, rub the grates with olive oil. Rub the fish with a little olive oil and season with salt. Put the fish on the grill in the exact spot you want it; don't touch it for 6 minutes or until the skin crisps up and you can move the fish easily without sticking. Slightly lower heat and cook for another 6 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked. (If you're using a charcoal grill, cook the fish over the coals. Flip the fish and cook for another 6 minutes on the other side of the grill to finish cooking it without burning the skin.)

Once the fish has finished cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow for all the juices to settle so your fish is flaky and moist.

Summer Grilling Menu

Grilled New Potatoes

This is one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes. Cooking them in highly salted water makes them flavorful and not dried out. I like to finish them on the grill for a smokey, crispy finish.

- 1 pound new potatoes, washed
- 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
-salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil

Put cleaned potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cook over medium heat. Once the water starts to warm, add salt. Don't boil the potatoes; instead, simmer them until you can put a fork in them but they do not fall apart, about 20-30 minutes. Drain them and let cool.

Heat up your grill to medium-high. If you are using a charcoal grill, spread an even layer of coals on the bottom of the grill for direct heat.

Once cooled, gently smash the potato to reveal some flesh but still keep their shape. Toss the smashed potatoes with the garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Do not use too much oil or they will flare up on the grill, giving them a bitter taste.

Place the potatoes on the grill. Since they are already cooked, you just want them to crisp up, which should take about 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

A Healthy Alternative to Barbecued Burgers This Memorial Day

Grilled Bread

- 1 French baguette
- olive oil
- salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the bread on a long bias cut. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on medium heat until golden. Serve alongside cheese, cured meats, or your favorite dip.

Summer Grilling Menu

I'm the former Photo Editor at Lonny Magazine
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