Fri, 29 May 2015
Planked Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles
Makes 6 servings
This classic combination of flavors takes well to the plank and works as an appetizer, a side, or on top of a salad. If you can’t find real imported fontina, use Parmigiano Reggiano shaved into slivers. You really don’t want a flavorless cheese here.
Note: if you want to do these on your grill without a plank, use medium-high indirect heat and lay down a sheet of aluminum foil on the cooking grate so you won’t lose any cheese while the bundles are cooking.
1 plank, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour
18 choice, thick asparagus spears
1/2 lb | 250 g Italian fontina cheese, cut into thin slices
6 large slices prosciutto
1 Tbsp | 15 mL butter
balsamic reduction (optional; see sidebar page xxx)
crusty bread as an accompaniment
Trim the asparagus and blanch it in salted water for just a minute or two, until it’s deep green and still firm. Stop the cooking by immersing the spears in cold water.
Set aside 12 slices of cheese. (Use the rest of the cheese to place on top of the rolls as described below.) Spread open a slice of prosciutto and place 3 spears of asparagus on it. Place one slice of the cheese between the spears. Wrap the prosciutto around the spears and cheese. Proceed until you have 6 bundles.
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4–5 minutes, or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and place the bundles on the plank. Working quickly, place the remaining cheese slices over each bundle in a criss-cross pattern. Cook the bundles for 10–15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and a little mottled. Remove them from the grill, drizzle them with a little olive oil or brush them with the butter, and let them sit for a few minutes. Plate them individually with a few drops of balsamic reduction around the edges, if desired. Serve the bundles with crusty bread.
Grilled Parmesan Tomatoes
These tomatoes are simple to make and are a great accompaniment to your favorite steak.
Makes 8 portions
4 large ripe tomatoes
½ cup | 125 mL finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup | 60 mL finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp | 10 mL granulated onion
1 tsp | 10 mL granulated garlic
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 or 10 fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
Remove the stems of the tomatoes and slice them in half, cross-wise. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a tray or baking dish. Season the cut faces with salt and pepper and sprinkle them with granulated onion and garlic. Mix the grated Parmesan and chopped parsley in a bowl and crumble it over the tomatoes.
Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking. Carefully place the tomatoes on the cooking grate and grill for 6–8 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften when you squeeze them and the Parmesan topping is golden brown.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter. Roll the basil leaves into a cigar shape and cut them into fine strips with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the shredded basil over the tomatoes, along with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve the tomatoes immediately.
Photo credit: Rob Baas, used with permission
Category:grilling; plank cooking -- posted at: 9:24am PST
Fri, 22 May 2015
Asian Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 21/2 cups | 625 mL
The cumin seeds in this sauce give its flavor a twist and an interesting texture. Leave them out if you want a slightly sweeter, smooth sauce. This is great as a marinade and a basting sauce for ribs and steaks but is also good with chicken and firm-fleshed fish. Be careful—its strong flavors can overwhelm what you’re cooking. If you’re going to use it as a marinade, marinate meat for a maximum of 4 hours and chicken or fish no more than an hour.
1 12-oz | 355 mL bottle hoisin sauce
1/2 cup | 125 mL light soy sauce
2 Tbsp | 25 mL sherry vinegar
4 Tbsp | 45 mL orange juice
1/2 cup | 125 mL plum sauce
1/2 Tbsp | 7 mL five-spice powder
2 Tbsp | 25 mL toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp | 25 mL oyster sauce
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely minced
2 Tbsp | 25 mL finely minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp | 25 mL honey
1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped chives or green onion
1 tsp | 5 mL whole toasted cumin seeds
Mix all the ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. Use the sauce soon after making it; it won’t keep more than a few days in the refrigerator.
Makes 4–6 servings
Asian-flavored meat demands an Asian-inspired slaw, and the peanuts add a nice crunch.
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp | 25 mL soy sauce
2 Tbsp | 25 mL rice vinegar
1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil
11/2 tsp | 7 mL finely minced ginger
1 tsp | 5 mL Vietnamese chili sauce
1/4 cup | 50 mL creamy peanut butter
1 tsp | 5 mL sugar
1–2 tsp | 5–10 mL water (if needed)
For the salad:
2 cups | 500 mL savoy or napa cabbage,
grated or shredded into fine slices
1 cup | 250 mL purple cabbage,
grated or shredded into fine slices
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 green onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, julienned
2 Tbsp | 25 mL fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup | 50 mL dry-roasted peanuts,
coarsely chopped, for garnish
Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk them together, adding water a little at a time until the mixture is a smooth, fairly thick liquid. Toss it with the vegetables and serve the slaw immediately, garnished with the chopped peanuts.
A Toast to Spices and Nuts!
In India, the first step in almost every home-cooked dish is to toast some spices in a hot pan. The heat refreshes the spices, bringing to life the natural oils that carry their flavor. This technique works especially well with robust whole spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. All you have to do is preheat a dry sauté pan on a medium setting and toss in a handful of seeds. Shake the pan constantly, watching carefully. After about a minute, when the spices start to brown a little and give off a strong aroma, empty the pan into a cool bowl or plate to stop the toasting before they burn. In a few minutes the seeds will be ready to go into a spice mill, mortar, or coffee grinder. The difference between raw and toasted spices is like night and day.
This technique also works fabulously to toast pecans or other nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts. Toast up a handful of nuts and sprinkle some on a salad for sharp, crunchy bursts of nutty flavor!
Category:grilling -- posted at: 3:56pm PST
Fri, 15 May 2015
Kid-friendly Turkey Burgers
Makes 6 burgers
These burgers taste so much like real fast-food chicken nuggets you’ll think you mechanically de-boned them yourself!
For the burger mix:
2 lb | 1 kg ground turkey thigh meat
1 cup | 250 mL fresh bread crumbs
1 tsp | 5 mL granulated garlic
1 tsp | 5 mL onion salt
1/4 tsp | 1 mL freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp | 5 mL freshly ground pepper
To finish the burgers:
Your favourite grilling rub
vegetable cooking spray
6 hamburger buns
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Gently combine the burger ingredients, mixing them together with your hands, taking care not to overwork the mixture. Wet your hands with cold water and shape the mixture into 6 patties that are ½ inch | 1 cm thick.
Sprinkle the burger patties lightly with rub and spray them with the cooking spray. At this point it helps to refrigerate them for about 1/2 hour to firm them up a little. Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Oil the grill and place the patties on it, rub side down. Sprinkle rub on the other side of the patties, close the grill, and cook them for 3–4 minutes per side, or until the burgers are cooked through and springy to the touch. Serve the burgers immediately on soft buns with your favorite condiments.
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15pm PST