Fri, 24 December 2010
Best of the season to you, barbecue fans!
Here are two turkey recipes - an excellent recipe from epicurious.com that includes brining the bird, which adds a huge amount of flavour, and this one, from Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!
Merry Christmas, and Happy Grilling!
Don Genova’s Smoked and Grilled Mediterranean-style Turkey in a Hurry
Makes enough to serve a festive gathering of at least 15 people
My friend and fellow foodie Don Genova is a well-known Canadian media personality. He hosts a great blog (http://blog.dongenova.com/http://blog.dongenova.com/) and his podcast, “All You Can Eat,” is consistently ranked among the most popular food podcasts on iTunes. I asked him to contribute one of his favorite recipes to Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, and I'm pleased to share it with you here. The trick to this recipe is to start the turkey in a hot smoker and finish it on a hot grill so you get a nice, crispy skin.
Note: This recipe is unusual because it calls for you to prepare your smoker for a higher temperature than the normal 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C. Don uses an electric Traeger smoker, which uses hardwood pellets and is easy to get to a higher cooking temperature. I’ve adapted this recipe with the assumption that you’re using a standard water smoker like a Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker.
1 cup | 250 mL olive oil
1/2 cup | 125 mL fresh oregano and rosemary, chopped
4–5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
smoked paprika, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4–6 Tbsp | 60–90 mL lemon juice
10–12 lb | 4.5–5.5 kg turkey
Mix together the oil, herbs, garlic, spices, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Cut the wing tips off the turkey and save them for making stock. Then cut off the turkey thighs and legs, keeping the thigh and leg as one piece. Cut the backbone out of the turkey and save it for stock, then butterfly the breast by squishing it flat, skin side up.
Smear the oil and herb mixture all over the turkey pieces, working some of it under the skin wherever possible, and marinate it, refrigerated, for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about an hour before you start cooking.
Remove the turkey pieces from the marinade, and reserve the marinade for basting.
Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 250 - 300˚F | 120–150˚C. To achieve this higher temperature on a water smoker, don’t put any liquid in the water pan and makes sure all vents are wide open.
Put the turkey pieces on the smoker for about two hours, skin side up, using hickory or apple wood as the flavoring agent. Remove the turkey pieces from the smoker and set them aside. (To avoid wasting charcoal, either use the remaining cooking time to smoke some tomatoes, onions, nuts, etc., or close off all air vents to shut down the fire.)
Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Grill the turkey pieces for about half an hour, turning regularly, until the skin crisps, the juices run clear, and a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the thigh reads160˚F | 70˚C. Remove the turkey pieces from the grill, let them rest, tented in foil, for about half an hour. Carve the turkey pieces into slices and serve them with your favorite accompaniments.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 12:07 AM
Thu, 18 November 2010
This article first appeared in the November/December 2010 edition of Calgary's City Palate, an excellent publication covering Calgary's food scene.
I once ate a 48-ounce steak in one sitting, and I have the T-shirt to prove it.
I am a notorious glutton who, at a business dinner, threatened to bite a waiter’s hand off for attempting to clear my plate before it was empty. Over the years I’ve gotten used to being viewed as a culinary carnival freak. Lately, however, I’ve noticed that gluttony seems to be in style.
The current trend is exemplified by the popular food blog, This is Why You’re Fat, which features glutton-friendly dishes like Meat Mountain and Deep Fried Cheesecake Bites. Visitors to the blog marvel at the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, and our jaws drop as we ogle the Fat Monkey (two slices of chocolate chip banana bread, with layers of Nutella, bananas, and marshmallow creme sandwiched in between, dipped in cake batter and deep-fried, then dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in toasted almonds and coconut).
Major fast food outfits have followed suit by introducing headline-grabbing dishes like KFC’s infamous Double Down, a cheese and bacon sandwich dripping with special sauce and served between two deep-fried chicken fillets. At the top of the fast food chain is the 1,420-calorie Hardee’s Monster Thickburger. Though I’ve never had one, it seems to me it would be ideal washed down with a 1,290-calorie Jack In The Box Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shake.
Okay. That kind of food is too much -- even for a guy like me. But it’s not just the fast food industry that’s riding this fatty wave. Look at any fine dining menu and you’re likely to see dishes like braised pork belly and short rib sandwiches that pack just as many calories as the downscale monstrosities that are getting all the press. (Mind you, in a swank eatery, a main course for one isn’t routinely served on a table-sized platter.)
The haute fat craze began about 10 years ago, when lovers of real food began rebelling against the cholesterol fascists who co-opted the food chain in the 1980s. Led by their big-haired overlord Jenny Craig, this group of skinny finger-waggers demonized animal fat to the point where you couldn’t get a decently wobbling pork butt in this country. It was a long, dry period for those of us who like to leave the dinner table with grease all over our cheeks.
Now it’s much easier to get triple-A beef and well-marbled pork, although it astounds me that meat producers still get a premium for the leanest cuts. Why in hell’s name should extra-lean ground beef cost three times as much as regular, which has three times the flavour? The obvious answer is that too much of a good thing will eventually kill you.
We’re constantly reminded of the consequences of overeating by documentaries like Supersize Me, goody-two-shoes chefs like Jamie Oliver and reality shows like The Biggest Loser. But does gluttony really belong next to greed, wrath, sloth, pride, lust and envy? In some contexts, it actually qualifies as a virtue. For example, gluttony has always been an important survival mechanism in the animal kingdom. Whether you’re a lion or a vulture, gorging yourself is simply what you do when you’re lucky enough to find something big to eat.
The same rationale used to apply to humans. In agrarian societies, gluttony was an important part of the annual cycle. Every fall after the harvest came in and the pigs were ready to go to hog heaven, the traditional weeks of feasting weren’t just for pleasure. Loading up on the autumn bounty was necessary. It helped build up reserves of fat that would allow people to last through the long, cold winter, in which culinary highlights included wizened carrots from the root cellar and a barrel of sauerkraut stored in the barn so it wouldn’t stink up the house.
Same thing for the aboriginal people of the Wet Coast. The annual return of the salmon meant a release from the drudgery of eating nothing but dried food over the winter, and gluttony was simply part of the seasonal celebration of the harvest.
Of course, the most gluttonous society of all was Rome at its political and cultural peak, when every decent home had a vomitorium, and, presumably, the book Eat, Puke, Repeat was at the top of the bestseller lists.
It’s obvious that today’s form of gluttony has little to do with survival – it’s closer to Rome than it is to Haida Gwai. Gluttony in modern life is about glamour and prestige. It reflects our cultural craving to vicariously experience the ideal. Just as fashion photography or architecture or music allow us to escape to a place beyond our day-to-day existence, so it is with a rich, full, long dining experience.
When we eat something truly delicious we experience a transient form of perfection. Many of us continue to eat beyond what we need because we don’t want to let go of that feeling.
MFK Fisher put it best in a little essay called G is for Gluttony, when she wrote:
“Perhaps the nearest I come to gluttony is with wine. As often as possible, when a really beautiful bottle is before me, I drink all I can of it, even when I know I have had more than I want physically. That is gluttonous. But I think to myself, when again will I have this taste upon my tongue? Where else in the world is there just such wine as this, with just this bouquet, and just this heat, in just this crystal cup? And when again will I be alive to it as I am this very minute, sitting here in this dim, murmuring, richly odourous restaurant, or here in this fishermen’s café on the wharf? More, more, I think – all if it, to the last exquisite drop, for there is no satiety for me, nor ever has been, in such drinking.”
That’s wonderfully poetic. But, of course, modern gluttony can also be inspired by less profound influences -- namely, booze. When I drink, I eat more than double what I would consume without the help of alcohol. Sometimes I continue to eat for no other reason than to counteract the effects of my drinking, which of course allows me to drink more, which prompts me to eat still more. Which is not very glamorous, and not very good for my health.
But let’s end these gluttonous musings on a higher note. What inspires you to MFK-Fisher-style gluttony? What eating experiences create moments for you that you just don’t want to relinquish?
For me, it’s meals like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. I eat too much of them because I don’t want the occasion that brings me together with my friends and family to end.
It’s a big juicy fried oyster burger (or two) washed down with cold beer on a sunny deck with a perfect ocean view.
It’s one deep-fried mini-donut after another after another, savoured as the music from the merry-go-round drowns out the worries of the world.
It’s biting into a perfect rib, and then six or eight more, at a summer barbecue between easy laughs with your best friends, the ones you can’t see often enough. Every bite of the juicy, tangy, smoky pork, and every refreshing swig of that glass of crisp, fruity white wine extends that elusive moment of perfection just…. a little…. longer.
Come on. Just one more bite. Please?
The Wakefield Inn Oyster Burger
Makes 4 burgers
Years ago the Wakefield Inn, a pub on BC’s Sunshine Coast, invented the ultimate burger —and it’s not grilled. To get the right texture, you need to pan-fry the oysters. The Wakefield Inn used seasoned flour to coat the oysters, but I prefer the extra crunch of cornmeal. Serve the burger with a dill pickle, a dollop of potato salad and a big mug of cold beer. Sadly, the Wakefield Inn has fallen to a condo developer’s wrecking ball and all that’s left is the great view, and this recipe.
1 tsp | 5 mL ground cumin
1 tsp | 5 mL ground ancho chiles
1 tsp | 5 mL freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup | 125 mL cornmeal
1 Tbsp | 15 mL butter
1 Tbsp | 15 mL olive oil
12 medium-sized fresh West Coast oysters, pre-shucked (you can buy them in tubs)
4 burger buns, toasted and buttered
4 Tbsp | 60 mL commercial or home made tartar sauce
1 bunch green leaf lettuce
4 slices crisply cooked bacon
1 thinly sliced ripe tomato
pickle slices and parsley sprigs, for garnish
Combine the cumin, ground ancho, pepper, and cornmeal in a small bowl and pour the mixture onto a dinner plate. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is sizzling. Lightly coat the oysters in the cornmeal mixture and fry them in the oil and butter until they’re crisp on the outside and done inside, 2–3 minutes per side.
Spread 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of tartar sauce on each toasted and buttered bun. Add a leaf or two of lettuce, 3 of the fried oysters, one crispy slice of bacon (ripped in half), and 1 or 2 slices of tomato. Sprinkle the works with salt and pepper. Top with the other half of the bun, and garnish with a pickle and a parsley sprig.
So, dear Barbecue Secrets readers. What brings out the glutton in you? Voracious minds want to know. This blog rarely gets comments -- I invite you to dig in and share.
Category:Gluttony -- posted at: 11:44 PM
Thu, 26 August 2010
Salmon Burger, White Spot Style
Makes 4 burgers
White Spot restaurants are a fixture in British Columbia, known for their excellent old-fashioned hamburgers. In recent years they’ve gone a bit upscale, adding more gourmet fare to their classic dishes, including a phenomenal salmon burger. Executive chef Chuck Curry likes to play his recipes close to the chest so I’ve had to recreate this dish based on my experience of eating it, but this comes pretty close to the real thing. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to make the aïoli, substitute with regular commercial mayo doctored with finely chopped fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
For the burgers:
4 8 oz | 250 g boneless, skinless wild BC salmon fillets (farmed salmon will do, but it’s just not as good)
freshly ground black pepper
1 large, fresh, perfectly ripe beefsteak tomato
1 red onion
green leaf lettuce
4 large sesame burger buns
For the basil aïoli:
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lemon juice
11/4 cups | 300 mL extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup | 50 mL tightly packed fresh basil leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the egg yolks and the lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor; process the mixture for 5 seconds. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, processing until the mixture is combined. Coarsely chop the basil and add it to the mixture. Whiz the machine again until the basil is incorporated into the aïoli. Season it with salt and pepper and set it aside. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Cut the tomato into four equal slices and peel and thinly slice enough onion to suit your taste. Butter the buns and set them aside.
Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Make sure the cooking grate is scrubbed clean. In this case, you may want to coat the cooking grate with a little oil just before you put the salmon on. Place the salmon on the grill, cover it, and cook the fish for 3–4 minutes per side, or until the core temperature of the fillet reaches 130˚F | 55˚C.
Take the salmon off the grill and loosely tent it with foil. While the salmon is resting, place the buns, buttered side down, on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and toast the buns for maybe half a minute, taking care not to burn them.
Slather both sides of each toasted bun with the aïoli. Place the salmon filets in the buns and top them with onion, tomato, and lettuce. Serve the burgers with a cold beer or a glass of crisp, fruity white wine.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 11:37 PM
Fri, 20 August 2010
Seared Calamari with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa
Makes 4 servings
The secret to great grilled squid is to use the freshest and smallest you can find, and to cook it over high heat for no more than a minute per side. Any longer and it turns rubbery. In this recipe, the tomato salsa provides a cool, tangy, herbal complement to the hot, garlicky calamari. You also can cook this dish on a plank to give it some extra smoky flavor, but you won’t get the nice charring that happens when you grill it over direct heat.
1 lb | 500 g cleaned squid, equal parts bodies and tentacles
1 Tbsp | 15 mL kosher salt
1/2 cup | 125 mL extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp | 2 mL red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups | 500 mL small, ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp | 15 mL fresh basil
1 Tbsp | 15 mL rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
Coat the squid in the salt, then rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Slit the bodies and score the inside surfaces with diagonal cuts. Cut each squid into large, bite-sized pieces. Place them in a bowl with 1/4 cup | 50mL of the olive oil, the red pepper flakes, and the garlic. Toss them to coat them and marinate them in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Preheat your grill on high. While the grill is heating, coarsely chop the tomatoes (halves or quarters are fine), slice the basil leaves into fine shreds, and toss them together in a bowl with the vinegar and the remainder of the olive oil. Distribute the salsa between four plates.
When the grill is hot, open it up and gently place the calamari on the cooking grate, taking care not to let the pieces slip through the cracks (you may even want to use a grill-topper with small holes designed for this kind of task). Don’t walk away! Stand at the open grill and tend the squid with a set of good tongs, turning the pieces often so they are cooked quickly and evenly, no more than a minute per side. Remove the squid from the grill and transfer it to the plates.
Sprinkle each serving with just a pinch of kosher salt and a light grinding of pepper. Drizzle the calamari with a little more olive oil and serve it immediately with a crisp, fruity white wine.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 12:30 AM
Fri, 13 August 2010
With only a week to go, there are still spaces available in my Barbecue Academy at the Fairmont Banff Springs, which runs August 20 - 22. If you love great food and wine, and want to eat and drink and cook and laugh with me in one of the most beautiful outdoor settings on earth, read on!
My best barbecue event ever
For the past 15 years I’ve been leading grilling and barbecue classes and workshops in Calgary and Vancouver, and even as far away as Texas and Australia. This summer, working in partnership with my friends at the Fairmont Banff Springs, I’ve put together my tastiest, most entertaining event ever.
Barbecue Academy is a sizzlin’ getaway weekend featuring the very best recipes and techniques from my latest book, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! It’s an entertaining and informative combination of a hands-on workshop and gourmet grilling demonstrations that will supercharge your outdoor cooking skills and introduce you to the smoky world of real, Southern-Style championship barbecue.
Great sponsors are on board
What’s more, I’m proud to report that Barbecue Academy has some world-class sponsors to help bring you a memorable experience. We'll be cooking on genuine Weber equipment – the gold standard of outdoor cooking. And throughout the weekend you’ll taste some of the finest Canadian and global wines, from Sumac Ridge Chardonnay to Ravenswood Zin, and refresh your thirst with cold, crisp Budweiser and Bud Light.
The ultimate barbecue experience
The Barbecue Academy package includes:
An amazing program to take your barbecue skills and your taste buds to the next level
Here’s a more detailed look at the curriculum of this Institute of Higher Grilling:
DAY ONE: Friday, August 20th
“Meat and Greet” 6.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
Join us for a casual opening reception where you’ll meet me and your fellow participants, enjoy delicious appetizers and a sip on a feature signature cocktail from Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!
DAY TWO: Saturday, August 21st
“Secrets of Championship Barbecue” 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
This is the weekend’s main event: an all-day, hands-on southern-style barbecue workshop laced with tall tales and hickory smoke and finished with sweet, tangy sauce. Students will split into teams of two to four, with each team having exclusive use of a brand new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for the day. Think of it as my barbecue boot camp, where you’ll learn to prep and cook competition-quality chicken and ribs and get indoctrinated into the ways of the Barbecue Lifestyle. A highlight of the day will be a barbecue feast for lunch featuring classic pulled pork sandwiches and Texas-style brisket with great sides and a lip-smackin’ dessert. At the end of the day, we’ll have a fun contest in which teams will present the meats of their labour to be judged by a specially selected panel according to the rules of championship barbecue. Cheap plastic trophies will be handed to the winners -- just like in a real barbecue contest! Whether you want to do some training to enter a real barbecue contest or want to be a champion in your own back yard, this day will change your life. Here’s what past participants in this workshop have said about it:
“Ronnie is hilarious, knowledgeable and leads a great workshop.”
“It has improved my understanding, my technique, my confidence and my end product immeasurably.”
“This was an exceptional workshop filled with the science, the art and the lifestyle of barbecue.”
DAY THREE: Sunday, August 22nd
“Essentials of Everyday Grilling” 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m
This luxurious three-hour cooking demonstration will feature my best grilled and planked dishes, sides and desserts, all paired with superb Vincor wines, including the classic barbecue-friendly Ravenswood Zin. The menu is varied and extensive; by one o’clock everyone will be completely full and satisfied. Here’s what folks have told me about past grilling demonstrations:
“Excellent, excellent, excellent. Oh yes – exceptionally yummy!”
“Do it! Open your culinary tastes.”
At the end of day three, all participants will receive special barbecue goody bags and official personalized diplomas signifying their completion of the workshop and their new understanding of the tools, techniques, lifestyle and philosophy of Southern-style Barbecue, grilling and plank-cooking.
Before departing, you can enjoy the hotel or the town of Banff in the afternoon. A variety of activities are available to you including a round of golf on the famed Stanley Thompson course, a spa treatment at Willow Stream Spa, a nature “photo walk,” shopping in Banff, or even a fly-in fishing experience on the Bow River.
So, there you have it. Whether you’re a foodie or a barbecue fanatic, a wine lover or an adventure traveler, Barbecue Academy promises to be an unforgettable experience, just waiting to happen for you. All you have to do is enroll, which I suggest you do now, because participation is limited and we're only a week away!
I hope to see you and your companion or gang of friends at Barbecue Academy at the Fairmont Banff Springs in the beautiful Canadian Rockies! If you're on the edge of deciding and want to talk to me directly about the weekend, give me a call at 604-351-1999. To view a video invitation from me, click here.
Yours forever in smoke,
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 10:39 PM
Thu, 12 August 2010
Grilled Rice Cakes
Makes 3–5 servings
These traditional Japanese rice cakes are often found, stuffed with tuna or salmon, in Japanese take-out shops. They take on a wonderful, crunchy, chewy texture when grilled, and they go well with any Asian-flavored grilled or barbecued meat. I learned how to make them from Vancouver chef Trevor Hooper’s cookbook, Asian Tapas and Wild Sushi. You can get sushi rice at just about any supermarket these days. If you can’t find it there, look for it at an Asian market or gourmet food store.
3 cups | 750 mL sushi rice
33/4 cups | 925 mL water
neutral-flavored oil, like peanut or canola
Home made teriyaki sauce (see recipe below) or your favorite bottled teriyaki
Place the rice and water in a medium pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the rice for 2 minutes, then cover it and reduce the heat to medium. Cook it for another 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low, and cook it for 15 more minutes. Do not remove the lid. Turn off the heat and let the covered pot stand for another 10 minutes.
Empty the rice into a bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes, or until it’s cool enough to handle with your bare hands. Have a bowl of cold water handy so you can wet your hands before you form each rice cake.
Wet your hands and grab about 1/2 cup | 125 mL of the rice. Press it together firmly, cupping your hands to shape the rice into a triangular shape, about the size of a modest wedge of pie. Squeeze it tightly so it will stick together well when it’s grilled. Once you have formed all the rice into about 10 neat wedges, the rice cakes can be covered and refrigerated for a day or two before grilling.
To cook the cakes, use a basting brush to paint each one with the oil. Grill them over direct high heat until they are crisp and golden brown, with nice char marks. Drizzle each rice cake with teriyaki sauce. Allow at least 2 per person.
Complicated but Delicious Teriyaki Sauce
Makes about 8 cups | 2 L
This homemade teriyaki sauce, which I have slightly adapted from an old recipe by famed Vancouver chef Trevor Hooper, has dimensions of flavor that make the extra work more than worthwhile. It stores for several months in the fridge, and it’s great as a marinade for meat or seafood, as a sauce for stir-fries, or just drizzled on steamed rice.
11/2 cups | 375 mL sake (Japanese rice wine)
11/2 cups | 375 mL mirin
2 cups | 500 mL brown sugar
4 cups | 1 L Japanese soy sauce
1/2 cup | 125 mL tamari soy sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 2-inch | 5 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped
1 orange, chopped, skin on
1 small pear, chopped
1 small leek, split, washed thoroughly and chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil. Cook it until it’s reduced by about 20 percent. Cool it, strain it into a large jar or bottle, and refrigerate it. It stores indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 6:42 PM
Thu, 5 August 2010
While browsing the big T&T Asian supermarket in Vancouver a few weeks ago I was intrigued by some frozen frogs’ legs in the fish department. They’re a popular dish in Cantonese home cooking, where they’re spiced and stir-fried on the bone. They’re also big in France, of course, as well as Italy, Spain, Greece, the Caribbean and even in the Southern U.S., where they are breaded and deep fried.
The ones I saw, which I think were farmed in Vietnam, were inexpensive – four pairs of legs for about five bucks – and despite their cartoonish (some might say macabre) appearance, they also looked plump and juicy and perfect for the grill.
I marched a squad of them home, cooked them up and they turned out great. To me they tasted like a cross between halibut and crab, with a texture like a chicken wing, but much more tender. Really delicious! I shared them with my barbecue teammate Tom Masterson and on a lark we agreed that we should enter them in the chef’s choice category at the National BBQ Championships in Whistler. After some brainstorming, we decided to give them a funny little twist, wrapping their bottoms with prosciutto to protect their modesty and add some great flavour.
But what to name the dish? We’ve had lots of suggestions from friends and other teammates: Rub it and Ribbit, Kermit Gets Porked, Bacon N’ Legs, and Green Legs and Ham. But I like the sound of Prosciutto Pantaloons.
Give this recipe a try and, whatever you call it, I think you’ll find it hoppin’ good eatin’.
Photo by Click Media Works. Used with permission.
Grilled Frogs Legs with Prosciutto Pantaloons
8 pairs of skinless frogs’ legs
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated onion
1 tsp granulated garlic
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
half cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 thin slices of Italian prosciutto (buy extra in case the slices rip as you’re wrapping the frogs’ legs)
8 tooth picks
Lemon wedges and fresh dill for garnish
Soak the toothpicks in water.
Place the frogs’ legs in a large baking dish like a lasagna pan. Combine the salt, granulated onion and garlic, cayenne and chopped rosemary and sprinkle the rub on both sides of the legs. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard and lemon juice to make a simple vinaigrette. Add half of the vinaigrette to the pan and toss the frogs’ legs around so that the ingredients combine and the legs are nicely coated in the marinade. Reserve the other half of the vinaigrette.
Marinate the frogs’ legs for about 15 minutes, turning them once or twice.
Cut the prosciutto into 1-inch strips. Take a strip of prosciutto and wrap it neatly around the waist of the frogs’ legs to make the pantaloons. Use a toothpick to fasten the prosciutto to the legs.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and make sure you scrape the cooking grates. Drizzle a little extra olive oil on the frogs’ legs and place them on the grill.
Cover the grill, turn the heat down to medium, and cook the frogs’ legs for about two or three minutes, until they come away easily from the cooking grate and have nice grill marks. Turn the legs and cook for another two or three minutes. Continue grilling and turning until the thighs are springy to the touch and the meat loses its pink, translucent appearance (just like a chicken breast turns white when you cook it).
Take the frogs’ legs off the grill, remove the toothpicks and place on a platter garnished with fronds of fresh dill and lemon wedges. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and serve. For extra fun, we presented them at the BBQ championship on a place mat that looked like a stylized lily pad. And, you know, although some of the judges were a bit shocked and reluctant when they first saw them, they loved them and our Grilled Frogs’ Legs with Proscuitto Pantaloons ended up 24th out of 40 or so entries. Not bad for such an unconventional dish!
Category:grilling -- posted at: 12:55 PM
Thu, 29 July 2010
In this second teaser for Barbecue Academy at the Banff Springs, I show you a great technique I've been working on -- sliders on the grill. It's a great way to feed a bunch of teenagers with minimum fuss!
Wed, 28 July 2010
One of my all-time favorites. I use this mainly as a quick and delicious marinade for beef steak, but it’s also great with pork chops or chicken, as well as rich, meaty fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, and swordfish. I’ve provided precise measurements of the ingredients, but it’s really meant to be a marinade that you just throw together. A few glugs of soy sauce, a small glug of sesame oil, as much garlic and ginger as you like, and so on. Once you try this, it will become a standard in your kitchen.
Makes about 11/2 cups | 375 mL, enough for 4 to 6 steaks
1 cup | 250 mL dark soy sauce
1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp | 15 mL lemon juice or 1/4 cup | 50 mL mirin
(Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL tapioca starch (cornstarch will also do)
Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, black pepper, lemon juice or mirin, and tapioca starch in a nonreactive baking dish. Add the meat or fish, turn it to coat it, and marinate it for 10 minutes to 1⁄2 hour, turning it once or twice. Don’t marinate it overnight, as this is fairly salty.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 10:07 PM
Thu, 22 July 2010
Grilled Pineapple with Caramel Sauce
Makes 6 servings
This easy and delicious summer recipe is the perfect end to a grilled dinner. For an extra-luxurious finish, serve with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
1 fresh pineapple
coarsely ground black pepper
caramel ice cream topping or Mexican cajeta sauce (available at most Latin specialty stores or gourmet food shops – get the kind in the squeeze bottle)
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple and stand it up on a cutting board. Cut it in half lengthwise, then in half again and again so you have 8 wedges. Remove the skin and the tough strip of pineapple core from each wedge. Sprinkle the wedges with a little salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Grill the pineapple strips for about 2-4 minutes per side, until they’re slightly charred. Warm the sauce in a microwave or double boiler. Drizzle the pineapple slices with the warmed sauce and serve.
NOTE: Some cajeta sauce comes in a glass jar, and it’s much thicker than the kind available in squeeze bottles. If you get the thicker kind, put it in a double boiler along with a splash of whipping cream. Heat gently and the sauce will thin enough so you can easily drizzle it on the pineapple.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 7:10 PM