About this podcast
International barbecue champion and bestselling cookbook author Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk hosts a podcast about the smoky world of barbecue and grilling. The Barbecue Secrets podcast features interviews with barbecue experts, answers to listener questions, great recipes and useful tips and tricks.
About this podcast
International barbecue champion and bestselling cookbook author Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk hosts a podcast about the smoky world of barbecue and grilling. The Barbecue Secrets podcast features interviews with barbecue experts, answers to listener questions, great recipes and useful tips and tricks.
Latin-Style Smoked Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde
In recent years I've had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica and collaborate with chefs there as the country establishes itself on the international barbecue scene. Thanks to the hospitality of my new friends in Central America, I have truly fallen in love with Latin American cooking. Nary a week goes by without me making a batch of delicious empanadas, and I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate Latino flavours into my grilling/barbecue. Case in point: for my birthday dinner last year, my lovely wife Kate Zimmerman made a super-delish Pork Shoulder with Salsa Verde, which she found on Epicurious.com. I have simply adapted the recipe for the smoker and slightly tweaked the ingredients list. If you don't have a smoker, this works great in the oven. However you cook it, it is amazingly delicious. Enjoy. TIP: Celery leaves are hard to come by because in our society we value the stems, so most of the leaves are trimmed away from most bunches of celery before the get to supermarkets. I go to my local organic grocery store and ask the produce person to save the trimmings for me. If you can't get enough celery leaves, the salsa is just fine with parsley alone, or you could substitute cilantro, spinach or arugula. Serves six to eight NOTE: You will probably have lots of leftover salsa verde, which is a great condiment for anything else, or, mixed with mayo, is a fantastic dip. Ingredients For the Salsa Verde: 1 small tin of anchovy fillets 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped pickled capers (the small kind) 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coursely chopped 2 bunches of flat leaf Italian parsley, stems removed 1 cup or more (if you can find enough) coarsely chopped celery leaves Finely grated peel of one or two fresh lemons 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary 3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 cup olive oil A small squeeze (1 tsp) of Rogers Golden Syrup or corn syrup to balance the flavour (optional) For the Pork Shoulder 4 garlic cloves, finely minced 4 Tbsp chopped fresh sage 4 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary 2 Tbsp Kosher salt or Fleur de Sel (French sea salt) 2 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper 1/4 cup olive oil 1 8-lb whole boneless or bone-in pork shoulder butt roast In a blender or food processor, combine all the salsa ingredients and whiz until they are a smooth puree. Adjust the seasonings (add salt, pepper, lemon juice, pepper, or a bit of sweetness to make the salsa perfect.) Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200 - 220 F. (If you're using a gas grill, prepare the grill for low, indirect cooking, with the burners on one side of the grill on low-medium, and the other side turned off completely, with a water pan under the cooking grate. In a nonreactive bowl, mix together the garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil, and rub the mixture all over the roast. When your smoker or grill is preheated, place the roast on the cooking grate and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 185F. On the smoker this will take at about 10 to 12 hours, and on your grill we're talking about six or seven hours. When the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker/grill and let it rest, wrapped in foil, for at least 15 minutes but preferably an hour or more. Slice the roast into half-inch chunks and serve, with the salsa verde on the side.
BBQ Secrets Episode 23 - Canadian Jerk, Craziest Basting Brushes Ever, and Nudism, Rockin' Ronnie Style
SHOW NOTES In this episode I talk about building an authentic Jamaican-style jerk pit for this year's Brewery and the Beast in Vancouver, where I joined my friends from Johnston's Pork to serve up 14 delicious jerked pork bellies. A the same event, ninja chef Rob Belcham of Campagnolo restaurant outdid himself by spit roasting a whole 250-lb. farmed sturgeon using three whole octopi stuffed with chorizo as basting brushes. At the end of the episode I talk about an experience my wife Kate and I had a Jamaican resort a few years ago. Spoiler alert: contains nudism and vodka.
Recipe of the Week - Beef Burger with Chili Butter Core
Beef Burger with Chile Butter Core, Dressed with Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo and Guacamole Makes 4 large burgers Disclaimers: This isn’t a simple recipe and it involves quite a bit of prep work. The chile butter and mayo need to be made in advance, so a little planning is necessary. Stuffing a disc of flavored butter into the burger patties takes a little practice, but the result will blow your guests away. Be sure not to turn the burgers until they’ve started to get firm, and keep an eye out for flare-ups. Also please note: Warn your guests that the burgers have a molten filling or they could be in for a shock! In any case, have plenty of napkins at the ready. These are very juicy burgers. For the chile butter: 1/2 lb | 250 g butter 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 2 Tbsp | 25 mL ancho chile powder 1 head roasted garlic (see recipe below) 1/2 tsp | 2 mL salt For the guacamole: 2 large, ripe, but still firm avocados 2 ripe tomatoes 2 Tbsp | 25 mL lime or lemon juice 1 clove garlic, finely minced 2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped cilantro 3 tinned green chiles, rinsed, seeded, and chopped 1 finely minced jalapeño or serrano chile (optional) kosher salt For the burgers: 11/2 to 2 lb | 750 g to 1 kg ground beef, (20 percent fat) 1/4 cup | 50 mL cold water 1/2 tsp | 2 mL garlic salt 1/2 tsp | 2 mL onion salt 1 Tbsp | 15 mL prepared mustard granulated garlic Your favourite grilling rub 1/4 cup | 50 mL Margie’s Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo (see recipe below) 4 slices Jack cheese (optional) 4 hamburger buns To make the chile butter, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together until they’re smooth. Transfer the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a tube 11⁄2 inches | 4 cm in diameter. Twist the ends of the tube to close it, and place it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. (It’s a good idea to make the mayo at the same time as you make the chile butter, as both improve when you let the flavors marry.) The guacamole doesn’t keep well and should be made no more than an hour before you put the burgers on the grill. To make it, peel the avocados and remove the pits. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and avocados. (You can mash the avocados as much as you like, but I prefer a chunky guacamole.) Blend in the lime or lemon juice, garlic, chopped cilantro, green chiles, and hot chiles, if desired. Season the guacamole to taste with salt. Cover it and set it aside in a cool place. Combine the ground beef, water, garlic salt, and onion salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Mix the ingredients lightly with your hands, being careful not to overwork the beef. Split it into 4 equal portions and roll it into balls. Take the chile butter out of the freezer and slice off four 1⁄4-inch | 0.5 cm discs. Poke your thumb in the middle of each ball to create a hole and insert the disc of chile butter. Encase the butter in the burger as you shape it into a classic burger shape about 3⁄4-inch | 1.2 cm thick, ensuring that there are no openings where molten butter could run out. Set the rest of the chile butter aside to soften. Coat the burger patties lightly with the mustard and sprinkle them with a light coating of granulated garlic, then a light coating of the rub. Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Place the burgers on the grill, close the cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook them for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye out for flare-ups. Turn them carefully, and cook them for another 5–8 minutes, or until the patties become firm, but not hard, to the touch. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on top of each patty about 2 minutes before you plan to take them off the grill. Transfer the burgers from the grill to a serving plate. Tent the burgers with foil and let them rest for 2–3 minutes. In the meantime, coat the cut side of each half of the buns with some softened chile butter, sprinkle them with a little granulated garlic, and toast them for 30–60 seconds on the grill. Dress the buns with a generous slather of chipotle mayo. Place the burgers on the buns and top each burger with a big dollop of guacamole. Cover the patties with the top half of the buns and serve. Roasted Garlic Here’s a great kitchen staple that works well baked in the oven or planked on the grill. Roasted garlic is as versatile as it is delicious. Use it as a flavor enhancer in mayo, an enricher of mashed potatoes, and a flavor note in soups and sauces—or just spread it on a piece of toasted French bread. Preheat the oven to 350°F | 175°C (or preheat your grill in preparation for plank-cooking). With a sharp knife, slice off the top of a garlic bulb, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and wrap the bulb tightly in foil. Place it in the oven, cut side up, and roast it for about an hour, or until the garlic is soft and lightly browned. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can squeeze the head and the roasted garlic comes out like toothpaste. 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 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) Whiz all of the above in a blender or food processor till smooth, then refrigerate. The flavour gets better after it's stored for even a few hours, but it's best if you make it the day before. (Photo courtesy of the late, great Greg Athans)
Recipes of the week - Oysters, oysters, oysters!
With such a hot summer here in British Columbia, it's not surprising that there are concerns about eating raw oysters, which can cause illness when they've got high levels of a naturally occuring bacterium that thrives in warm waters. As a gesture of good will to BC's oyster farmers, and a celbration of the delicious bivalves they produce, here are a couple of my favourite ways to grill oysters. If you can't eat 'em raw, eat 'em like this and support your local growers! Grilled Oysters with Orange-Walnut Vinaigrette Makes 4 – 6 appetizer-sized portions My friend Kosta the fishmonger suggested this flavor combination to me, and when I tried it out I was astonished at how well the light, refreshing vinaigrette complemented the robust flavor of the grilled oysters. 3 Tbsp | 45 mL French toasted walnut oil 1 Tbsp | 15 mL rice vinegar or champagne vinegar 1 tsp | 5 mL finely grated orange zest 1 tsp | 15 mL maple syrup 1 pint | 500 mL container of large, fresh, shucked oysters (about a dozen oysters) kosher salt and freshly ground pepper neutral-flavored oil like canola or corn oil 1 orange, cut into wedges Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the walnut oil, vinegar, orange zest and maple syrup. Set the mixture aside. Drain the oysters and pat them dry with paper towels. Put them on a baking sheet and set them aside. Prepare your grill for direct high heat, making sure the cooking grate is thoroughly scraped. Season the oysters with salt and pepper and drizzle them with a light coating of oil. Just before you put the oysters on the hot grill, oil it using a paper towel dipped in some oil. Carefully place the oysters on the cooking grate, making sure they don’t fall through. Grill them for a couple of minutes per side or until the’re just cooked through and the outside edges are a bit charred. Transfer the oysters to serving plates, top with a drizzle of the vinaigrette and garnish with orange wedges. Oysters Grilled in the Shell Beach-grown West Coast oysters usually come pre-shucked in tubs, and they’re great smoked or grilled. If you can find them live, in their shells, it’s a huge treat. I’m lucky enough to have a friend, Eric Giesbrecht, who is chef/owner/oysterman of Meta4 Foods, a distributor of premium Canadian shellfish based in Calgary. I asked him to teach me the secrets of grilling oysters in the shell and I thank him for the following guide. Use large West Coast beach oysters for the best results. Ask your fishmonger for Royal Miagis (Eric gets his from one of BC’s most famous oystermen, Brent Petkau, of Marina Island). Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. (“A sliver past medium on your BBQ gas dial,” says Eric.) Rinse the oysters of any extraneous material such as loose barnacles, rocks, sand, or any other hangers-on. Put the oysters, “cup side” up, on the cooking grate. This will help ensure that you don’t lose any of the precious liquor, in which the oysters will slowly poach as they heat up. Grill the oysters for 5 or 6 minutes. You can tell when they’re done when the top shell starts to lift and the nectar begins to spill out. “Be careful not to let the oysters dry out completely in the shell as they will quickly stick and burn,” says Eric. “Once you see the shells separate, take a look inside one of the pieces and see how much the oyster has shrunk by. The flesh of the oyster should be taut and shrunken in size by around half—err on the side of under-done if you are unsure.” Remove the oysters from the grill and shuck them. If you just try to pull the shells apart, you’ll risk getting unappetizing broken bits of shell in the oysters. Eric recommends using an oyster shucking knife or paring knife to separate the top and bottom shells, cut the muscle attaching the oyster to the shell, and lift the flesh out. Some restaurants like to serve them, cooked and in the shell with a little sauce spooned in, leaving it to their guests to do the shucking. Sauce them and serve. Eric shared a few of his favorite sauces, which I now share with you: Verde - Use a fist full of fresh herbs pounded to a pulpy paste with a mortar and pestle, adding some nice olive oil, a clove of garlic, a minced shallot, the zest and juice of one lime (or lemon), some coarse sea salt, and black peppercorns. “Any delicate leafy herb will do,” says Eric, “but my favourite combo of late has been tarragon and mint. Kick this one out of the known galaxy by adding freshly grated Parmesan cheese.” Compound butter - Mix ½ lb | 250 g of softened butter with 1-2 Tbsp | 15-30 mL of smoked paprika, a pinch of chili flakes, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of liquid honey, one clove of crushed garlic, and some chopped parsley for color. Gratin – Eric likes to transfer the grilled oysters onto an oiled sheet pan, plane off slices of Gruyere, Comté, or Appenzeller cheese on top of the oysters and place the sheet pan back onto the grill. “Close the lid until the cheese is melted and unbearably sexy,” he says. “Top with sliced chives or scallions for contrasting garnish.” Other sauce ideas: Garlic butter, hollandaise or béarnaise sauce, BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese, a simple squeeze of lemon and slop of olive oil, vegetable puree (such as one made from celery root, cauliflower, or turnip). “You can go many places with these—the cooked oyster is very friendly with many, many varieties of accompaniment,” says Eric. “Go for it.”
Recipe of the week - Grilled Pink Salmon in Foil
Many sport fishermen consider pink salmon to be the least desirable amongst the five species of BC wild salmon, but I love it, and so do some of Vancouver’s leading chefs. Not only is pink salmon delicious and nutritious, it’s a sustainable fishery. One of the interesting things about pink salmon: unlike the other species, which have a four-year cycle, there are only two populations of pink salmon, and on odd years like this one, they return in the millions to spawn in Pacific Northwest rivers and streams. (Along with two BC chefs I’ll be cooking a whole bunch of pink salmon at this year’s Pink Salmon Festival at Vancouver's Hadden Park on Kit's Point on August 30th from noon to 4.00 p.m. and hope to see you there!) Pinks are smaller than their cousins, with an average size of about four pounds or two kilos, so they’re usually sold as whole fish. That means the best way to grill them is to wrap them in foil. The following simple technique (which originally appeared in my cookbook, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! as a way of preparing trout) gives the salmon a subtle and delicate flavor and texture, and the orange adds a lovely flavor and aroma. Get the freshest possible fish—pinks are best soon after they’re caught! Makes 4 servings 1 whole, cleaned 4 lb | 2 kg pink salmon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 3 Tbsp | 45 mL butter, at room temperature 2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh parsley 1/2 medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 oranges, one sliced into thin rounds, and the other sliced in half for squeezing sprigs of parsley for garnish Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Tear off a strip of heavy-duty foil 21/2 times as long as the fish and double it. Spread 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of the butter evenly over the top surface of the foil. Distribute about a third of the onion slices on the foil, making a kind of bed for the salmon. Lightly season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper, and sprinkle it with chopped parsley. Place another third of the onion slices and half the orange slices inside the body cavity and the rest on top of the fish. Daub the remaining 2 Tbsp | 30 mL butter inside the fish and on top of the onion and orange slices. Squeeze half the remaining orange over everything and wrap the foil around the fish, sealing it tightly. Place the foil package on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and cook the salmon for 10–15 minutes, or until the fish is just done (about 140 to 150˚F | 60 to 66˚C). You can poke a meat thermometer through the foil in the last few minutes of cooking to check for doneness. To serve, open up the foil, carefully transfer the fish to a warmed platter, and pour the juices left in the foil over the fish. Garnish the salmon with orange wedges and parsley sprigs, and finish it with a final squeeze of fresh orange. [Photo of trout in foil copyright John Sinal Photography. Used with permission.]
Recipe of the week - Ravenswood Ribs
Makes 4–6 servings Zinfandel is one of the best wines you can drink with grilled or barbecued food and California winemaker Ravenswood makes some of the tastiest, most popular zins around. Ravenswood’s Executive Chef, Eric Lee, was kind enough to share this rib recipe. This versatile rub/mop combination also works well with other cuts of pork, as well as beef and lamb. Note: I’ve used my Real Barbecued Ribs technique for this recipe, but you can also do them Cheater Ribs style. For the ribs: 2 racks of back ribs, trimmed by your butcher 1 medium onion, peeled and halved 1 tsp | 5 mL peppercorns 3 or 4 whole cloves a couple of chunks of apple wood For the rub: 1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried oregano 1½ tsp | 12.5 mL dried thyme ¾ tsp | 4 mL fennel seed, toasted and ground ½ tsp | 2 mL cumin seed, toasted and ground ½ tsp | 2 mL mustard seed, toasted and ground 1½ tsp | 12.5 mL onion powder 2¼ tsp | 11 mL garlic powder 1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL ground ginger ¾ tsp | 4 mL ground black pepper 1 Tbsp | 15 mL kosher salt 1½ tsp | 12.5 mL paprika ¾ tsp | 4 mL chili powder 1/4 tsp | 1 mL cayenne ¼ tsp | 1 mL sugar For the “mop”: 1/2 bottle | 375 mL Ravenswood Zinfandel wine 1 cup | 250 mL sparking apple cider 1 Tbsp | 15 mL molasses 1/8 cup | 30 mL olive oil 1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp | 1 mL ground cloves 1/8 tsp | 0.5 mL ground cinnamon 1/2 Tbsp | 7.5 mL garlic powder 11/2 Tbsp | 22.5 mL kosher salt 1 bay leaf 1/8 cup | 30 mL dark Karo syrup Combine the rub ingredients in a medium bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set the rub aside. Combine the mop ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer them for 15 minutes on medium low heat, uncovered. Remove the membrane from the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done it for you. Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200–220˚F | 95–100˚C. Generously coat the ribs on both sides with the rub. Let the ribs sit for at least 15 minutes, or until the rub starts to draw moisture out of the meat and looks shiny. Place the ribs on the cooking grate, or place them on a rib rack. Place a chunk of apple wood on the coals. Cook them for 5 or 6 hours, depending on the size of the ribs, mopping them about every half hour and adding another chunk of apple wood about an hour before the ribs are done. Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, test the ribs for doneness. If they pass the pull test (the ribs pull away from one another easily but they’re not falling off the bone) give them one more coat of sauce, wrap them in foil, and return them to the cooker for another half hour or so. Remove them from the cooker and let the wrapped ribs rest for 20–45 minutes. Unwrap them, cut them into single ribs, and serve them with your favorite accompaniments, including, of course, some Ravenswood Zinfandel!
Recipes of the week - Jamaican Jerk Pork
What is perfect jerk? Is it chicken or pork? Should the meat be marinated, or just rubbed? How hot should it be? Is it best smoked, grilled, or baked in an oven? After many years of experimentation in my own kitchen I have come up with what I think is a pretty good approximation of the best jerk that my wife Kate and I tasted during the two times we visited the beautiful island of Jamaica. Usually I make jerk chicken, but lately I’ve been cooking jerk pork, and it’s super delish. In the past I’ve made my own jerk marinade, but these days I just use a rub. Some might call it overkill, but I like to serve jerk with a rich, spicy gravy made with chicken broth and jarred jerk marinade. I’m also including the perfect accompaniments to a jerk dinner, a spicy but refreshing slaw, and the classic Jamaican side dish, Rice and Beans (also known as Rice and Peas). Jerk Pork This recipe also works well with chicken or fish. Serves 6 6 nice fatty pork loin chops or pork blade steaks Jamaican-style Dry Jerk Seasoning Vegetable oil Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking. Sprinkle the chops with a generous coating of the rub and drizzle them with enough oil to make them shiny. When your grill is ready, place the pork on the cooking grate and cover the grill. Turn the chops every couple of minutes till they’re done (internal temp of 140F for medium). Let them rest, tented in foil, for at least five minutes. Serve the pork with slaw, rice and beans, and jerk gravy (see recipes below). [Alternative method: cook the pork in a smoker using mesquite, or if you can get it, pimento wood, as a flavouring agent, and finish it on the grill. This technique works great with pork bellies, or you could even do a whole pork shoulder butt roast like this.] Jamaican-style Dry Jerk Seasoning This rub gives chicken, pork or snapper – or whatever else you’re grilling – a classic Jamaican flavor without any fuss. 2 Tbsp|30 mL granulated onion 2 Tbsp|30 mL dried onion flakes (get flakes that aren’t too big) 1 Tbsp|15 mL ground dried thyme 1 Tbsp|15 mL kosher salt 2 tsp|10 mL ground allspice 1/2 tsp|5 mL freshly grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp|5 mL ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp|15 mL sugar 2 tsp|10 mL freshly ground black pepper 2 tsp|10 mL ground dried habanero chilies (or cayenne or chipotle powder if you can’t find habanero) 1 1/2 Tbsp|22.5 mL dried chives Note: Double or quadruple this recipe so you have some on hand. It’s super easy to make a great jerk marinade simply by whizzing 1/2 cup|125 mL of this rub in a food processor with a splash of cooking oil, a chopped habanero, a chopped onion and some chopped scallions. Jerk Gravy 4 cups |1 L chicken or beef broth 2 Tbsp|30 mL jarred jerk marinade or jerk seasoning paste (Walkerton of Jamaica makes one of the best, and if you’re in British Columbia there’s a local product called Auntie Bev’s that’s really good, too.) 1 Tbsp|15 mL soy sauce (or, if you can get it, 1 tsp of something called “browning,” which is a thick, black liquid made with water, caramelized sugar and salt) 2 tsp|10 mL corn starch 1/4 cup|60 mL cold water Salt and pepper to taste Place the chicken broth in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce it by at least half. Add the jerk seasoning and soy sauce (or browning) and stir it into the broth. Quickly mix the corn starch into the cold water and immediately pour it into the gravy, stirring constantly until it thickens and turns shiny. Season it to your liking and serve in a gravy boat. Jamaican Cole Slaw This recipe, adapted slightly from the excellent Jerk From Jamaica cookbook by Helen Willinsky (I’ve added raisins and fresh pineapple), is a superb side. If you want to serve it with something other than jerk, substitute your favorite rub for the Dry Jerk Seasoning. 4 cups|1 L shredded purple cabbage 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple 3/4 cup|185 mL grated carrots 1/4 lb|125 g golden raisins 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, pistachios almonds or anything else you like) 1/2 cup|125 mL mayonnaise 1 Tbsp|15 mL cider vinegar 1 Tbsp|15 mL Jamaican-Style Dry Jerk Seasoning Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl and toss. Cover and chill for at least an hour and toss again just before serving. Jamaican Rice and Beans In Jamaica this dish is a staple. Jamaicans call it rice and peas, but it often features red kidney beans so I’ve renamed it to avoid confusion. The creamy, sweet richness of the coconut milk helps make this dish a perfect complement to jerk or any spicy grilled meat. 2 14-oz/398-mL cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (if you want to be perfectly authentic, substitute the kidney beans for canned gungo peas, also known as pidgeon peas) 1 14-oz/398-mL can coconut milk 2 thick slices double-smoked bacon, chopped 1 green onion, chopped 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 habanero chile (whole – do not chop) 2 cups|500 mL long grain white rice 2 cups boiling water kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper In a frying pan, sauté the chopped bacon until it’s starting to brown but is not yet crispy. Drain off the excess fat and set the bacon aside. In a large saucepan combine the beans, coconut milk, bacon, green onion, thyme and the habanero. Cook over medium-high heat just until the mixture comes to a simmer. Add the hot water and stir in the rice. Cover tightly, reduce the heat to low and cook without disturbing for about 25 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Fluff before serving and don’t forget to remove the habanero so it doesn’t surprise anyone!
Recipe of the week - Planked Salmon with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Rosemary and salmon are a classic combination. In this recipe, the honeyed balsamic vinaigrette and brown sugar intensify the flavor. Makes 6 servings For the vinaigrette: kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp | 5 mL granulated garlic 1 Tbsp | 15 mL balsamic vinegar 3 Tbsp | 45 mL extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp | 15 mL liquid honey 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped 1 tsp | 5 mL grainy mustard 1 tsp | 4 mL chopped fresh rosemary For the salmon: 1 plank (cedar is nice but alder or maple would also work well), soaked overnight or at least 1 hour 21/2 lb | 1.2 kg boned salmon fillet with skin 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary extra virgin olive oil for drizzling 1 lemon, cut into wedges 1 green onion, finely chopped for garnish balsamic reduction (optional; see recipe below) Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Coat the salmon fillet with the vinaigrette and set it aside. 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. Place the rosemary sprigs on the plank and lay the salmon fillet on top of the herbs, skin side down. Cook it for about 15 minutes, or until its internal temperature is 135°F | 57°C. During cooking, watch for flare-ups and put them out with a spray bottle of water. Take the plank off the grill and transfer it to a heatproof serving platter, tenting the salmon loosely with foil. To finish it, season it lightly with a little more salt and pepper, drizzle it with olive oil, and serve each portion with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of chopped green onion. For an extra-fancy touch, dot the plate with balsamic reduction. Balsamic Reduction 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.
Recipes of the week: Grilled Prawns Three Ways
Rum and Honey Prawn Skewers Makes 8 kebabs, enough for 2 lunch-sized portions or 8 hors d’oeuvres The combination of rum, honey, and fresh mint is a revelation in this simple, delicious dish. For the basting sauce: 2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh mint 1½ tsp | 7 mL lime juice 1 jigger Appleton Estate dark rum 1/3 cup | 75 mL liquid honey 1 tsp | 5 mL Dijon mustard 2 tsp | 10 mL vegetable oil kosher salt to taste For the prawns: eight 7-inch | 18 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour 16 extra large prawns, peeled and deveined (with tails on) kosher salt lime wedges and chopped mint for garnish Whisk together the basting sauce ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle about 1⁄3 of the sauce over the prawns, tossing them to coat them. Set aside the rest of the sauce. Assemble 8 skewers with 2 prawns on each. Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Place the kebabs on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and cook them for 3–5 minutes, turning and basting the kebabs regularly, until the prawns are firm to the touch. Season them with a sprinkle of salt and serve them with some of the remaining basting sauce drizzled over them. Garnish them with lime wedges and a sprinkle of chopped mint. Super-easy Grilled Jumbo Prawns with Curry Paste My pal Kosta the fishmonger shared this great, simple way to grill jumbo prawns. Butterfly them (split them in half lengthwise, which makes it easy to remove the vein) and coat them with a mixture of your favorite curry paste cut with a little neutral flavored oil (about 3 Tbsp | 45 mL curry paste mixed with 1 Tbsp |15 mL oil will coat a dozen prawns). Grill the prawns over high heat for about a minute or two per side, and finish them by tossing them in a pan with some melted butter. Serve them with lemon wedges for an outstanding appetizer. Skewered Prawns Pistou Makes 4 main course servings or 12 appetizer-sized servings Pistou is the French equivalent of the Italian pesto sauce. In this version I’ve added toasted nuts, anchovies, and lemon zest for an extra kick. The pistou is great with prawns, and these jumbo skewers create a spectacular impression. This sauce also works well as a coating for roast lamb. For the pistou: 1/4 cup | 50 mL lightly toasted pecans (almonds or pine nuts are also excellent) 2 cups | 500 mL loosely packed fresh basil leaves 1 cup | 250 mL loosely packed flat-leaf Italian parsley 12 anchovy fillets, rinsed 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1/3 cup | 75 mL extra virgin olive oil zest of 1 lemon, finely grated or chopped For the prawns: twelve 6-inch | 15 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour 12 jumbo prawns, in their shells kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 12 cherry or grape tomatoes lemon wedges for garnish Combine the pecans, basil, parsley, anchovies, and garlic in a food processor and process them until they’re smooth. Add the oil slowly in a thin stream while the processor is running. Transfer the pistou to a bowl, add the zest, and stir the pistou thoroughly. Transfer about 1⁄2 cup | 125 mL of the pistou to a serving bowl and reserve it for dipping. Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Toss them with the remaining pistou and refrigerate them for 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. When you’re ready to cook them, thread one prawn onto each skewer, with a cherry tomato threaded between the tail and the head. Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Place the prawns on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Serve them with the extra pistou for dipping and garnish them with lemon wedges.
Recipe of the Week: Greek-Style Ribs
Makes 4 to 6 servings Die-hard barbecue people don’t even like to consider this technique, which I sometimes call "cheater ribs" because it goes against all the principles and values of barbecue culture. These ribs may not be smoky, and they may not be quite as flavorful as true barbecued ribs, but they’re wonderfully tender, they taste great, and they don’t take all day to cook. The original recipe calls for a coating of mustard and barbecue rub and a Kansas City-style finishing glaze, but this Greek treatment is unusual and delicious. 2 racks side or back ribs, trimmed by your butcher 1 medium onion, peeled and halved 1 tsp | 5 mL peppercorns 2 bay leaves Extra virgin olive oil For the rub: 1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried (not powdered) oregano 1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried mint 1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried basil 1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried rosemary 1 tsp | 5 mL dried parsley 1 Tbsp | 15 mL Kosher or sea salt 1 Tbsp | 15 mL freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp | 2 mL granulated garlic 1/2 tsp | 2 mL crushed chiles (optional) 1 jar mint jelly Fresh mint for garnish Remove the membrane from the ribs if your butcher hasn’t already done it for you. Fill a large pot with cold water and completely submerge the ribs in the water. Add the onion, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring the water just to a boil. With a spoon or ladle, quickly skim off the soapy scum that forms on the top of the water and reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer the ribs for about 11/4 hours, or until the bones start to poke out of the meat. Take the ribs out of the water and cool them on a cooking sheet until they are easy to handle. Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with the rub and drizzle them with a light coating of olive oil. Put the mint jelly in a saucepan and gently heat it until it is liquid. Set it aside and keep it warm. (You may want to add a splash of water to thin it down a bit, depending on how jelly-like it is.) Grill the ribs for 3–4 minutes on each side, applying the melted mint jelly with a basting brush as you turn them. Remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Cut them into single ribs, garnish them with some chopped mint, and serve them with classic accompaniments like Greek salad and roasted potatoes.
Recipes of the week: A couple of simple, delicious beef steaks
Steak, Italian-Style Makes 4 servings Sometimes the simplest treatments are the best ones when you’re grilling a steak. 4 well-marbled T-bone steaks, at least 1 inch | 2.5 cm thick kosher or Maldon salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste dried Greek oregano leaves best-quality extra virgin olive oil lemon wedges 1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and dried Bring the steaks to room temperature by leaving them out of the fridge for an hour. Season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Prepare your grill for direct medium heat. Grill the steaks 4–6 minutes per side, or until they’re done the way you and your guests like them (I recommend taking the steak off the heat when the meat springs back slightly when poked, which is when it reaches an internal temperature of about 125˚F | 51˚C). Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest, tented in foil, 4–5 minutes. Make a little bed of arugula on each plate and put the steaks on top. Crumble a little oregano on each steak, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with a little more salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish it with lemon wedges. The juice and oil from the steak and the squeeze of lemon will create a fabulous natural dressing for the slightly bitter arugula. Lemony Herbed Flank Steak This dish uses a lemony vinaigrette to marinate the steak as well as to dress it. The clean, simple flavors make for a perfect summer meal. Serve it with some boiled nugget potatoes tossed with butter and fresh dill and some grilled asparagus. Makes 4 servings 1 large flank or skirt steak (about 11/2 to 2 lb | 750 g to 1 kg) kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper For the marinade/dressing: 1/2 cup | 125 mL lemon-infused olive oil 1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely grated lemon zest 3 Tbsp | 45 mL white balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp | 15 mL Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, and parsley work well) kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste For the garnish: sprigs of fresh herbs lemon wedges Place the flank steak in a baking dish and season both sides with salt and pepper. Let it come up to room temperature for about half an hour. Combine the marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly whisk them together. Divide the mixture in half, and set aside one half for finishing the dish. Coat the steak with the remaining half of the mixture. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and marinate it for 2 hours or overnight. Prepare your grill for high direct heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Place the steak on the cooking grate and grill it on high for 30 seconds per side, just enough to get some nice grill marks on the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook it, turning it once or twice, for about 4–6 minutes per side, or until the thickest part of the steak has an internal temperature of 125°F | 52°C. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely tented in foil, for 5–10 minutes. To serve the steak, carve it across the grain into thin slices and arrange the slices on plates. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and spoon on some of the reserved dressing. Garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs. How to Feel When A Steak is Done Most barbecue cooks use meat thermometers to carefully monitor the internal temperature of big cuts of meat, but for most purposes, you can easily tell whether a steak or chicken breast is done simply by applying pressure to it with your forefinger. If the meat does not spring back, it’s still pretty raw. If it has a soft springiness, it’s medium rare and ready to take off the grill. If you press it and it feels firm and stiff, it’s overdone. Here’s a great way to learn these hand readings. Hold your left hand in front of your chest, palm side down. Touch the meaty area between your thumb and forefinger. That’s what rare meat feels like. Now, extend your fingers so they are evenly spread out in the universal “stop right there” sign. Press the same place and you’ll find out what medium rare meat should feel like. Now make a fist and press again. That’s well done, and if your meat feels like this you should make use of the fist you just made and punch yourself in the forehead.
Barbecue Secrets Podcast Episode 20, and recipes of the week!
I'm back with a new podcast! For some reason unknown to me, in the last couple of weeks the number of Barbecue Secrets listeners has jumped from about 40 to over 600 a day. Not sure what's going on, but I figure if there's that much interest in the show I'd better start producing some new episodes. I hope you like this one, and I'm looking forward to making more. For all you CKNW listeners, here are your recipes for this week. Enjoy! Beach-Friendly Snacks As soon as we get unpacked and set up at a picnic table, we like to put out an array of simple but delish appetizers. Obvious choices are a nice variety of stinky cheeses, cold cuts, pate and crackers, olives, fresh pita and hummus, sliced long English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pickled herring and so on. Grilled Fresh Smelt This works best with smelt that have just been caught, but you could thaw frozen smelt and do the same thing. If you’re squeamish you can gut and behead the fish before grilling but, in my opinion, why do all that fussing and make a mess when they taste great whole? Makes a great beach picnic appetizer for 4 8 or more fresh raw whole smelt Sea salt (Fleur de Sel or Malden Salt would work best, but Kosher Salt would also work fine) Pre-heat a portable grill for medium-direct cooking (I prefer The Cobb or a Weber Smoky Joe, but you can also use a hibachi or portable gas grill). Wipe the smelt with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Sprinkle them with the sea salt and immediately place them on the cooking grate (the fresh coating of salt should help prevent them from sticking to the grate, but if you’re worried about stickage lightly drizzle them with oil before you put them on the grill). If your cooker has a lid, leave it off. Carefully tend the smelt, turning them regularly, until they are slightly charred and a have a light golden colour. Remove them from the grill and eat immediately while they still have a crisp crust. Eat them whole – I know it sounds gross, but the crunchy head is the best part when it’s fresh from the fire. Grilled Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce and Fresh Mango and Jalapeno Salsa Makes 4 servings I like to make my own Teryaki sauce (see recipe below) but the bottled variety is also very good. To keep things very simple, and still delish, you can substitute teriyaki sauce with good quality Japanese soy sauce. For the salmon: 4 8-10 oz | 250-300 g pieces of boneless wild salmon fillets, skin on 1 cup teriyaki sauce For the salsa: 1 ripe fresh mango, diced 1 jalapeno, diced Juice of 1 lime Kosher or sea salt to taste Prepare the salsa by combining all the ingredients. Marinate the salmon pieces in the teriyaki sauce for no more than an hour. I like to bring a big Ziploc bag to the beach and marinate the salmon on the spot. If you soak them in the sauce too long they get too salty and it masks the delicious taste of the salmon. Prepare your portable grill for medium direct cooking. Place the salmon pieces, skin-side down, on the cooking grate and cover the grill. When the salmon is done (internal temp of about 130F or springy to the touch), remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving with the mango salsa and the rice salad on the side. Rice, Asparagus, and Cucumber Salad Makes 8 servings (so you’ll have enough for leftovers the next day) This is a slight adaptation of a recipe from a 1994 Bon Appétit magazine. The salad tastes like summer itself and it’s one of our go-to beach picnic standards. You cannot make it once without making it again and again. 1 3/4 cups | 425 mL water 1 cup | 250 mL long-grain white rice 1 pound | 500 g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch | 2.5 cm pieces 11/2 cups | 375 mL long English cucumber, chopped into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice 1/2 cup | 125 mL chopped chives 2 Tbsp | 25 mL Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp | 15 mL honey 1 Tbsp | 15 mL white wine vinegar 1/2 tsp | 2 mL dry mustard 21/2 Tbsp | 40 mL vegetable oil 1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh dill 1 tsp | 5 mL finely minced lemon zest kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste large, intact leaves of green leaf or butter lettuce dill sprigs, for garnish Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the rice and return the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook it for about 20 minutes. Place the rice in a bowl, fluff it with a fork, and let it cool to room temperature. Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 1–2 minutes, just until it’s bright green and still slightly crisp. Plunge the asparagus into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain it and pat it dry. Add the asparagus, cucumber, and chives to the rice. Combine the Dijon mustard, honey, vinegar, and dry mustard in a small bowl. Gradually mix in the oil and then mix in the dill and lemon zest. Mix the dressing with the salad mixture. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Line a large bowl with lettuce and mound the salad in the bowl. Garnish it with sprigs of dill. The Perfect Beach Picnic Dessert: Black and Blue Berries with Lime Zest Confit Makes 6–8 servings This one’s inspired by a dessert from celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who had “Blueberries with Lime Sugar” on the menu at Les Halles restaurant in New York. It’s great with just blueberries, but Kate decided it would benefit from the addition of blackberries. The combination works beautifully and kids love it, too. Don’t forget to drink the juice! For the lime zest confit: 2 limes 1 cup | 250 mL water 1/2 cup | 125 mL sugar For the berries: 3 Tbsp | 45 mL sugar 2 Tbsp | 25 mL lime juice 3/4 pint | 375 g fresh blueberries 3/4 pint | 375 g fresh blackberries 1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh mint, finely chopped mint sprigs for garnish 1/2 cup | 125 mL crème fraîche or sour cream or enough vanilla ice cream for 6–8 (optional) To make the confit, remove the peel from the limes with a paring knife, being sure not to include the white pith. Slice the peel into thin pieces. (It’s much easier to zest the limes if you use a zester, which is a wonderful tool for all kinds of reasons.) Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the zest and reduce the heat so the mixture simmers. Loosely cover the pot and let the liquid cook until it has reduced by half. Remove it from the heat, cool it completely, and strain it (or not, if you aren’t averse to shreds of lime). You can store the confit in an airtight container and refrigerate it until you need it. To finish the dish, combine the sugar with the lime juice in a large, presentable bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the berries and toss them well, coating all the berries with the mixture. Add the fresh mint and the lime zest confit and toss the berries well again. The mixture is even better after the flavors have had time to marry, so refrigerate the berries for an hour or more. Garnish them with more fresh mint and serve them with crème fraîche, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream, if you like. BONUS RECIPE: 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 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.
Recipes of the week: A couple of fancy salads
Enoteca Smoked Duck Salad Makes 8 servings as an appetizer or 4 main course servings My wife, Kate, found this recipe many years ago in a 1990s collection of recipes from American bistros. Seattle’s Enoteca does not exist anymore, but as long as I barbecue, I will have this recipe in my repertoire. The original recipe calls for fresh papaya, which is excellent, but I like slightly tangier mango as the fruit component. For the dressing 1/2 cup | 125 mL soy sauce 2/3 cup | 150 mL red wine vinegar 1/2 cup | 125 mL sugar 4 Tbsp | 60 mL vegetable oil 4 Tbsp | 60 mL rice wine vinegar 4 Tbsp | 60 mL raspberry vinegar 1 Tbsp | 15 mL lime juice For the salad 1 pound smoked duck or smoked chicken 2 whole fresh mangoes 2 bags fresh baby spinach, washed and dried well 1/2 small purple onion, diced freshly ground pepper 1 lime 1 cup | 250 mL toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped 1 lime, quartered, for garnish To prepare the dressing, bring the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and let the dressing cool. This makes enough dressing for 4 salads, but it keeps for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator. Cut the smoked duck into bite-sized pieces. (If you are using duck that is frozen, thaw it first, heat it up in a 350˚F | 180˚C oven, then let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle.) Peel the mangoes and slice the flesh off the pits; reserve a few slices for garnish. Place the spinach, duck, mango, and onion in a salad bowl. Grind the pepper over the mixture and squeeze the juice of the lime over it. Add the nuts and just enough dressing to coat and toss. (Too much dressing drowns out the other salad fixings.) Garnish the salad with the lime quarters and the reserved mango slices. Grilled Scallop and Cucumber Salad Makes 6 servings This recipe comes from Jenni Neidhart, a Calgary caterer I’ve had the pleasure of working with on occasion. It calls for Lebanese cucumbers (small, tender-skinned versions of long English cukes) as well as something called vanilla vinegar. What the heck is that, you ask? So did I. It’s champagne vinegar (which is available in gourmet food stores) infused with leftover vanilla pods for a month or more. So, when you cook any recipes from this book that call for vanilla beans, save the pods to make the vinegar in this recipe. Of course, the salad also tastes great with “plain old” champagne vinegar, or my favorite, Japanese rice vinegar. TIP: If you can’t find large scallops or if they’re too expensive, get smaller ones and use a grill topper or veggie basket so they won’t slip through your cooking grates. 4 Lebanese cucumbers (or 1 small long English cucumber), finely diced (leave the skin on) 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced 1/2 red onion, finely diced 1 orange, zested and juiced 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 lime, zested and juiced 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced olive oil vanilla vinegar (or your favourite mild white vinegar) kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh mint, finely chopped 12 large scallops sesame sea salt (optional; make it by combining sea salt and toasted sesame seeds in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor) Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, and onion in a medium-sized bowl. Make a vinaigrette by mixing the juice and zest of all the citrus, the jalapeño, a tiny bit of the olive oil, the vinegar, and the salt and pepper. Toss the vinaigrette with the diced vegetables, and mix in the mint. Easy as that! Chill it until serving time. Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Season the scallops with a little kosher salt, drizzle them with olive oil, and place them on the grill, keeping the heat on medium-high. Cover the grill and cook the scallops for 1 or 2 minutes, then turn them and cook them for another couple of minutes, until the scallops are springy to the touch. Serve the scallops hot over the chilled cucumber salad and finish the dish with a few drops of olive oil and a light sprinkle of sesame sea salt, if desired. (Photo by the incomparable John Sinal. Copyright John Sinal Photography, used with permission.)
Recipes of the week: Planked Asparagus and Prosciuitto Bundles and Grilled Parmesan Tomatoes
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 balsamic vinegar 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
Recipes of the Week: Asian BBQ Sauce and Slaw
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. Asian Slaw 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!
Recipe of the week: Kid-friendly Turkey Burgers
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 pinch cayenne 1 egg 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.
Final recipe of the week, summer 2014 - Duck Kebabs with Pomegranate Molasses and Harissa Sauce
I had a bunch of duck meat leftover from a sausage-making project and wanted to use it as an appetizer at a big party, so I came up with these tasty kebabs. The pomegranate molasses adds some tang and brings out the flavour of the duck, and the harissa sauce gives it a nice spicy kick. If you can’t find duck or it’s too pricy, this treatment would also work well with boneless skinless chicken thighs, or even lamb. Makes 8 to 12 skewers depending on portion size For the kebabs: 2 lbs | 1 kg boneless, skinless duck or chicken thigh meat 1 tsp kosher salt freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup | 50 mL pomegranate molasses (available in stores that carry middle-eastern foods or see recipe below) 1 Tbsp | 15 mL extra virgin olive oil short bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least an hour or overnight Another 1/4 cup | 50 mL pomegranate molasses for the finishing glaze Apple wood chips (optional) For the harissa sauce ½ cup harissa paste 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses ½ tsp kosher salt 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp water Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly whisk them together. Adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suite your taste. Set the sauce aside. To prepare the kebabs, cut the duck or chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, molasses and olive oil and mix everything together to coat the meat. Marinate for at least half an hour (you can marinate them overnight in the fridge if you like). Thread the meat chunks onto skewers so they’re packed tightly together. Prepare your grill for medium direct cooking and use apple wood or your favorite cooking wood as a flavouring agent. If you’re using a charcoal grill, just place a small handful of chips on the hot coals just before you’re ready to grill. For gas grills, place the chips in a cigar-like packet made of aluminum foil. Poke some holes in the foil. When your grill is almost preheated, place the package below the cooking grate, being careful not to burn yourself as you lift the grate with your tongs. When you see light wisps of blue smoke coming out of the grill, you’re ready to go. Just before you start cooking, drizzle or brush a little olive oil on the kebabs. Place them on the cooking grate and cover the grill. Cook, turning often, until the meat is springy to the touch, about 3 to 5 minutes. During the last minute of cooking time, baste the kebabs with pomegranate molasses to give them a shiny coating. Remove the kebabs from the grill and let them rest just a few minutes. Finish them with a light sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and a gentle dab of the harissa sauce along the length of the top side the kebabs. Serve immediately. Pomegranate Molasses Make this delicious syrup the same way you’d make balsamic reduction. Makes about 1 1/4 cup | 300 mL 4 cups of pomegranate juice ½ cup sugar a squeeze of lemon juice Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture until it’s reduced to a thick syrup, about ¼ to 1/3 of the original volume. Cool and store in the fridge. It keeps for months.
Recipe of the Week: Curried Lamb Burgers with Fresh Peach Chutney and Minted Yoghurt Sauce
Curried Lamb Burgers with Fresh Peach Chutney and Minted Yoghurt Sauce Makes four burgers I love lamb burgers, and this one is a doozy. Here’s my adaptation of an incredibly delicious recipe by Canadian food icon Lucy Waverman. I’ve gilded the lily by adding a fresh peach chutney and minted yoghurt sauce. Serve it with a Greek Salad or some tabbouleh (see recipe below) on the side. For the burgers: ½ cup chopped onion ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut 1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger 1 tsp | 5 mL chopped garlic 1 Tbsp | 15 mL garam masala 1 Tbsp | 15 mL mango chutney 1 ½ pounds | 750g ground lamb Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 Tbsp | 25 mL melted butter 4 smallish pitas (the kind that can be made into pockets - you can also use naan bread or flour tortillas) For the spiced mint butter: ½ cup unsalted butter, softened ½ cup chopped mint 1/2 tsp | 3 mL ground cumin 1/2 tsp | 3 mL ground coriander 1/2 tsp | 3 mL ground fennel 1/2 tsp | 3 mL cracked peppercorns 1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt For the peach chutney (you can substitute bought mango chutney to simplify this dish): 1 Tbsp | 15 mL sugar 1/4 cup | 50 mL rice vinegar 4 medium peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch | 1 cm dice 2 Tbsp | 25 mL finely grated fresh ginger For the yogurt sauce: 11/2 tsp | 7 mL honey 11/2 tsp | 7 mL finely chopped fresh mint pinch ground cumin pinch turmeric 1 cup | 250 mL plain low-fat yogurt kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper To make the peach chutney, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan over moderately high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for 1 minute. Stir in the peaches and ginger and return the chutney to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the chutney, stirring it frequently, until the fruit is softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. To make the yoghurt sauce, combine the honey, mint, cumin, and turmeric in a medium bowl. Whisk in the yogurt until it’s blended and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the sauce. To make spiced mint butter (about 1/2 cup), combine butter, mint, cumin, coriander, fennel and peppercorns. Spread over top of cooked lamb burgers and sprinkle a little Maldon salt over the butter. Serves 4. Prepare your grill for high direct cooking. Combine all the burger ingredients except lamb in a food processor and whiz them till they’re smooth. Transfer to a bowl, add the lamb, season with salt and pepper, and gently mix everything together with your hands. Before you make the patties, take a teaspoon of the mixture and fry it in a sauté pan with a little oil and taste it. If needed, incorporate some more salt and pepper. Divide the burger mix evenly into 4 portions and shape them into 1-inch-thick patties. Brush them with melted butter and grill for 4 to 5 minutes a side or until desired doneness. To serve, slather some of the spiced mint butter onto the burger patties, cut the burgers in half, and stuff them into pita pockets, two per person. Let your guests dress them with the condiments to their taste. Mimi’s Tabbouleh (Couscous Salad) Makes 8 servings as a side This recipe from my friend Michele Allaire uses instant couscous, which is moistened by all the juices that come out of the vegetables as they sit with the grain in the fridge. It is usually served as a side with lamb but can be an attractive alternative main course for a vegetarian guest. To “beef” it up, add blanched green beans, blanched carrots, and cooked chick peas. 1 package (about 10 oz | 300 g) instant couscous 4 green onions, thinly sliced 1 Tbsp | 15 mL red onion cut into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice 1 cup | 250 mL long English cucumber cut into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice 1/2 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice 1 cup | 250 mL fresh tomato cut into 1/4-inch | 5 mm dice 1 cup | 250 mL chopped fresh parsley 1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped fresh mint 1 tsp | 5 mL kosher salt 1/2 tsp | 10 mL freshly ground black pepper 1 Tbsp | 15 mL ground cumin 4 Tbsp | 60 mL lemon juice 1 cup | 250 mL good-quality extra virgin olive oil Pour the entire package of uncooked couscous into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix them together well, and let the tabbouleh sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Remove it from the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Mix it again, taste it, and adjust the seasoning and oil to taste.