Fri, 24 June 2011
Man, I love a good T-bone. It’s the ultimate steak, in a way, because it combines the strip loin and the filet in one handy cut (the two live in peaceful harmony on either side of the bone). The key ingredient here is the balsamic reduction, which penetrates the steak and gives it a bright, distinctive flavor. This dish goes well with mashed or roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables.
(Note: these days you can buy a product similar to balsamic reduction at Italian grocery stores or in bigger supermarkets - it's called crema, and works nicely.)
Makes 4 servings
2 T-bone steaks, 16 to 20 oz | 500 to 600 g each and about 2 inches | 6 cm thick
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed or pushed through a press
1/3 cup | 75 mL balsamic reduction (see recipe below)
¼ cup | 50 mL finely chopped parsley
kosher salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Take the steaks out of the fridge and put them in a nonreactive dish. Season them with salt and a pinch of cayenne on both sides. Evenly spread the rosemary and garlic over the steaks. Set aside half of the balsamic reduction and drizzle the rest over the steaks, turning them to coat both sides. Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered, for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning them once or twice.
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Grill the steaks 4–6 minutes per side, or until they have an internal temperature of 125°F | 52°C.
Remove them from the grill and let them rest, loosely tented in foil, for about 5 minutes. Using a paring knive, carve the steaks from the bone and slice them into 1⁄2-inch | 1 cm slices. Divide the slices between 4 plates and drizzle them with the remaining balsamic reduction. Finish them with a sprinkle of salt, a grinding of pepper, some chopped parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil.
This incredible, tangy, sweet, rich syrup has a multitude of uses. It supercharges any vinaigrette. It’s great in marinades (or as a simple marinade on its own), and you can even drizzle it on ice cream or fruit.
Pour a 10 oz | 300 mL bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar (you could use more or less as your need dictates; this is just a handy amount to prepare) in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook it at a gently rolling boil, watching it carefully, until the vinegar has reduced to about 1/3 its original volume (10–15 minutes). When it’s ready, it should be a thick syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Set it aside to cool. Transfer it to a squeeze bottle and store it in a cool, dry place. It keeps indefinitely.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 11:27am PDT
Fri, 17 June 2011
Last night I made jerk chicken. Again. My family can't seem to get enough of this classic Jamaican dish, with its old-world flavours and fiery habanero heat. I posted my jerk chicken recipe, along with some great traditional side dishes, on this blog a few years ago - find that post here.
And for more about the wonders of Jamaican cuisine, check out my report on a trip I took to Jamaica last winter. It's an amazing country. If you get a chance, get down there and experience it for yourself!
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am PDT
Fri, 10 June 2011
Makes 6 servings
I developed this recipe for the folks at Food & Wine magazine for their 2005 summer barbecue issue. I love pork blade steaks because they’re inexpensive, extremely tasty, and very hard to ruin. The cumin seeds add an earthy tang and interesting texture to these rich, flavorful, chewy steaks. Serve them with your favorite summer sides (I like grilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes).
For the rub:
2 Tbsp | 25 mL powdered ancho chiles
(if you can’t find ground anchos, any chili powder will do)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated garlic
1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated onion
1 tsp | 5 mL freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp | 5 mL ground chipotles (substitute cayenne pepper if you can’t find ground chipotles)
1 tsp | 5 mL dried oregano
1 tsp | 5 mL dried parsley
For the steaks:
6 pork blade steaks (8 to 10 oz | 225 to 300 g each)
2 Tbsp | 25 mL Dijon mustard (regular prepared mustard will also do)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL cumin seeds
extra virgin olive oil
Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and set the rub aside.
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium heat until they’re fragrant and just starting to turn light brown. Remove the cumin from the pan and set it aside.
Generously season the blade steaks with salt. Using the back of a spoon or a basting brush, coat the steaks with a thin layer of mustard. Sprinkle the cumin seeds on both sides of the steaks and pat them in so they stick to the mustard. Sprinkle a generous coating of rub on the steaks and drizzle them with a little olive oil. (You’ll have rub left over, which is great for grilling just about anything.)
Prepare your grill for high direct heat. Place the steaks on the cooking grate, close the grill, and immediately reduce the heat to medium.
Cook the steaks for 8–10 minutes, turning them once or twice, or until they are springy to the touch. Remove the steaks from the grill, tent them with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and serve.
WARNING: These steaks have a lot of juice and fat in them, so be on the alert for flare-ups.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 4:36pm PDT
Thu, 2 June 2011
Triumphant Torres Tacos
This recipe for delicious grilled salmon tacos is my tribute to Vancouver Canuck Raffe Torres, who scored the game-winning goal in the first game of this year’s Stanley Cup Final series. Serve this dish with a cold Canadian beer, or a crisp, fruity British Columbia white wine.
Makes 16 tacos, enough for 4–6 as a main course, or 16 appetizer servings
For the sauce:
1/2 cup | 125 mL Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see recipe below)
¼ cup | 60 mL sour cream or yoghurt
1 Tbsp | 15 mL fresh lime juice
For the Red Onion, Green Mango, and Jalapeño pickle:
2 cups | 500 mL rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp | 45 mL freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp | 60 mL kosher salt
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips
2 large jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 green (unripe) mango, peeled, cored, and cut into thin strips
For the salmon tacos:
one 2 lb | 1 kg side of wild sockeye or coho salmon, skin on
about 1 tsp | 5 mL Rockin’ Ronnie’s Grilling Rub or seasoning salt
For the rest of the fixins:
16 white corn tortillas
1 batch of Smoked Tomato Guacamole (see recipe below)
half a head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
½ cup | 125 mL chopped fresh cilantro
Louisiana-style hot sauce
Combine the sauce ingredients and set the mixture aside in the refrigerator.
Combine the rice vinegar, lime juice, and salt in a saucepan and cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring it until the salt dissolves and the mixture comes barely to a boil. Place the onion, jalapeño, and mango slices in a bowl and pour the hot vinegar mixture over them. Let the pickle stand at room temperature for at least one hour and up to 8 hours. Transfer it to a storage container and refrigerate it.
Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Sprinkle the salmon with a light coating of the grilling rub. Let the rubbed salmon sit for a few minutes, until it starts to glisten. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the cooking grate and grill it for 8–12 minutes, until the salmon springs back to your touch or comes to an internal temperature of about 130 to 140˚F | 55 to 60˚C.
While the salmon is cooking, heat a sauté pan to medium-high and lightly toast both sides of each of the corn tortillas in the hot, dry pan. Keep the heated pile of tortillas warm by covering them with a clean, damp dishcloth.
Take the side of salmon off the grill with a long spatula (or a couple of short ones). It should come right off the skin. Transfer the salmon to a cutting board and let it rest, tented in foil, for 5 minutes.
While the salmon is resting, return to the grill and try to pull the salmon skin off with a set of tongs. If it comes off easily, flip it over and lightly grill the other side for no more than 30 seconds (if it doesn’t come off easily, I usually tear what I can off the grill and eat it right then and there). Transfer the skin to a plate and set it aside. As it cooks, it will become very crisp, like bacon.
Slice the salmon into ½ inch | 1 cm strips (the fish may break apart when you slice it, but that’s okay) and place the slices in a serving dish. Coarsely chop the salmon skin and place it in a small serving bowl.
To serve the tacos, lay out the tortillas, salmon, salmon skin, sauce, pickles, guacamole, chopped lettuce, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce on a table and let your guests assemble their own.
Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo
This invention of Calgary caterer Margie Gibb is particularly good as a dip for pieces of smoked or grilled sausage, but it’s also great on just about anything.
11/2 cups | 375 mL mayonnaise
1 whole head roasted garlic, cloves squeezed
out of their skins, or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tsp | 5 mL finely ground cumin (preferably made
from toasted cumin seeds)
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
(add more chipotle if you like it hot)
Combine the mayonnaise with the other ingredients in a food processor and whiz them until they’re smooth, then refrigerate the result. If possible, store it in the refrigerator for a day, or at least a few hours, to let the flavors marry and intensify.
Chunky Tomato Guacamole
Makes about 2 cups | 500 mL of guacamole
2 large ripe but still firm avocados
2 ripe tomatoes
4 tsp | 20 mL fresh lime juice or 2 Tbsp | 25 mL fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro
3 tinned green chiles, rinsed, seeded, and chopped
1 finely minced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile (optional)
Peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados and transfer them to a salad bowl. Add lime or lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, green chiles, and hot chiles, if desired, and gently toss the mixture. Season the guacamole to taste with salt, give it one last toss, and it’s ready to serve.
Category:grilling -- posted at: 9:35pm PDT