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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Guests Bram and Monica Meehan: Summer Grilling

Excellent Ingredient Equipment of the Week
A note from Stacy: This week, the excellent ingredient is actually a piece of equipment — your grill. Its good for so much more then just hot dogs. Monica and Bram have all kinds of creative ideas for your grill and if all else fails check out Mark Bittman's 101 Fast Recipes for Grilling.

Charcoal? Propane? Whichever suits you and your style of cooking. The important thing is to use that grill in the hot summer months by trying out all kinds of meats, seafood, vegetables, and fruits. We'll often just look around at what we've got and what's fresh and on sale and then, as Stacy noted, let Bittman tell us what to do with it.

Salmon Grilled Between Romaine Lettuce Leaves

This old standby comes from Bob Blumer, who gives us a delicious way to grill fish without having to worry about it sticking to the grate. Monica will usually make an artichoke heart-lemon-chive-olive oil tapenade that gets wrapped with the salmon, the remainder passed at the table. The other day we substituted Swiss Chard for the lettuce, and grilled up rest of the stems and leaves quickly beforehand for a wilted salad.

Ingredients
four 3-foot pieces of twine, or other non-flammable natural fiber
four 6 oz. salmon fillets or steaks — fillets are easier to eat, steaks are easier to wrap and cook
eight large outer romaine lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
three lemons — two juiced, one sliced thinly
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure
Soak twine in hot water for 5 minutes. Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry with towel. Repeat the following for each piece of salmon: rinse two romaine leaves in water, shake off excess water. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of oil over the inside (concave) side of leaves. Place salmon fillet in the center of one leaf (concave side up). Pour the juice of 1/2 lemon over salmon, trapping the drippings with the leaf, then season with salt and pepper. (or top with artichoke tapenade.) Place the second leaf, concave side down, over salmon. Fold the ends of the bottom leaf up to keep juices trapped, and wrap the string around the leaves to seal. Tie string in a knot.

Cook lettuce-wrapped fish on hot grill for no more than five minutes a side. For added drama, serve wrapped and have guests remove the string; the leaves are edible, and, if not too blackened, pretty good.

artichoke tapenade

Ingredients
1 can artichoke hearts
olive oil, to taste
juice and zest of 1 lemon, to taste
chives, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Procedure
Chop everything well, and mix, tasting as you go. This recipe is not an exacting thing, obviously!

Grilled Mussels with Herb Butter

Our most recent discovery is grilled mussels — it's really absurd how easy this recipe is. A pound of mussels (around 40) are inexpensive (even in Santa Fe) and will feed two people with some grilled bread and a salad; remember to discard any mussels that stay open before they're uncooked and that stay closed after they're cooked.

Ingredients
fresh mussels, about 1/2 pound per person
1/4 cup butter (or more)
parsley and/or other fresh herbs
lemons

Procedure
In a small pot, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Heat grill to medium-high.

Place mussels on grill in a single layer; they won't fall through the grate, but work in batches if necessary. Grill two lemon halves, cut side down.

Cook until mussels open and lemons are warmed through and browned, about five minutes. With tongs, transfer mussels to a large platter. Pour herb butter over mussels; sprinkle with coarse salt and ground pepper. Serve with lemons.

Chicken Satay Sandwich with Peanut Sauce
and Cucumber-Onion-Pepper Relish

This simple recipe from SheSimmers takes the components of a traditional Thai Satay meal and turns it into a grilled sandwich.

Ingredients
Satay marinade — recipe here
Thai peanut sauce — recipe here
cucumber relish — recipe here
boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
Ciabatta rolls
cilantro

Procedure
Marinate the chicken for a few hours. Grill chicken over medium to medium-high heat until cooked; lightly grill rolls. Allow your guests to assemble their own sandwiches, topping with the cucumber relish and peanut sauce (and maybe some kimchi).