I love the idea of make your own ________ parties. We have had guests over for personalized pizzas, nachos, calzones, and more. I was dreaming about “make your own Kebabs” for months- before the snow had even melted making this party worthwhile enough to stand outside to put these lovelies together.
Finally we were able to arrange a medley of veggies cut into chunks on top of our blue checker tablecloth. Then I selected three different kinds of chicken sausage: Roasted Pepper & Garlic, Artichoke & Olive, and Spinach & Feta that I cut into large pieces. Any sausage could be used, but be sure that it is at least partially cooked or smoked, so you are able to cut it into chunks. Otherwise, it will just ooze out and you will be unable to thread it onto the skewers. Next I introduced huge chunks of polenta that I tossed in a bit of olive oil. We actually tried chunks of Ciabotta bread splashed in olive oil and they turned into sad, charred croutons. The Polenta is well worth it and delicious- make sure the chunks are at least 2 inches big.
And if you haven’t tried them Grilled- Radishes are amazing. Slightly charred outside with a center that turns from slightly spicy to intensely sweet- please try them!
After cutting everything up into chunks I let our guests do the work and then we grilled them just a few feet from the table. We waited for our Kebabs while munching on Salad and a simple Goat Cheese appetizer (blog posts soon!)
Be creative with your Kebab toppings. Please share any of your favorite variations in the comments section.
Grilled Italian Kebab Buffet
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 yellow squash
8 ounces mushrooms
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 bunch radishes
2-3 pounds Smoked or Partially cooked Chicken/Turkey/Pork Sausage
1 tube of polenta (yes- I cheated a bit, check out the amateur gourmet’s step by step instructions to make it from the cornmeal)
2 tablespoons olive oil (more or less)
Kebab Sticks- if wooden soak them at least 15-30 minutes just prior to threading
Wash and trim each vegetable. Cut the eggplants into chunks and sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the remaining vegetables. Cut the red onions and bell peppers into 1-2 inch chunks. Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into 1 inch rounds or 1 ½ inch half moons. Scrub the radishes and trim off the greens close to the base. No worries about the little tail root as it burns off quickly. After finishing the vegetables, rinse the eggplant and allow it to dry, shaking off the excess.
Slice the sausages into 4-5 pieces, about 1-2 inches. Cut the polenta tube into half long ways. Lay down flat and cut across into 2 inch half moon pieces. Toss with the olive oil lightly. If making the polenta from scratch, allow it to set in a narrow pan, such as a bread loaf pan. After it is chilled, cut into 2 inch+ pieces.
Arrange each item into a bowl or serving tray. Please keep the sausages separate.
Next, allow your crowd to mix and match and thread their own. Keep the kebab sticks in water on the table and allow people to scoop them out and get creative. If everyone starts or ends with a different vegetable they will be easier to keep them straight on the grill.
Grill for about 5-8 minutes on each side, rotating until the sausage is cooked through.
Now you may run into this same problem we did... we managed to make and eat too many kebabs. With the leftovers we threw the smaller pieces on to a kebab- see the red onions, pepper, and cherry tomatoes in the picture below on the stick. The larger pieces we just tossed on and hoped they wouldn't slip through.