Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Father’s Day Grill & Beer Secrets: A Menu that Pleases!

With any luck, you had a great Memorial Day BBQ—but that was then and this is now. Roughly 3 weeks later, and June 19th brings us Father’s Day, the best excuse for dusting off your grill and all its encutrements that I know. We’ve done burgers, we’ve done ribs…and you know what? I decided we need meat that provides real sustenance, yet tastes light and fresh; something that goes great with Dad’s favorite brewski…and so…drumroll, I’m serving Grilled Swordfish.

Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Warm Sun-Dried Tomato Relish are very much like a chicken breast in texture. It’s best served medium-rare in the center, which you can accomplish by slightly undercooking the fish. The great thing about this particular fresh catch is that the fish will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat—so I like to take my time plating it, letting it simmer in its own juices while I arrange the lemon wedges.

My Nana blog encouraged the Fathers of the world to at last take the advice of that notorious bumper sticker: “I’d rather be fishing”, but in this blog I’m advocating that you visit your local purveyor of seafood and simply purchase 4 (8 ounce) swordfish steaks; however, I will say that the lime cream in the Chili Roasted Corn on the Cob with Lime Cream I’m offering as a menu side today, makes a great topping on anything you’re lucky enough to catch (or buy).

Why Dad Doesn’t Have to Feel Guilty…
Swordfish are making a comeback in a big way. Progressive conservation practices brought this wonderful game fish back from the road to extinction. It’s not surprising that hunting for swordfish has become a popular offshore fishing activity. On calm tropical evenings, you can witness swordfish boating activities: people scurrying around the dock, gathering bait, ice, food and drink for a trip offshore. Swordfish are now so abundant, it’s nothing unusual for an angler to catch at least one on his boat excursion on the calm sea.
Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!

Having joined the environmental movement of how important it is to eat locally, I am particularly excited about my neighborhood fishmonger in Ft. Lauderdale, Fish Peddler East, but I want to add the disclaimer that I am aware the term “fishmonger” is near obsolete, and that if you really want to find a specialty market these days, you turn to an awesome search engine like this one: http://www.localharvest.org/. Just plug in your zipcode and find your closest local seafood/produce/beef/anything market. What can I say, people will always love and appreciate a fresh catch, but they don’t roam the streets looking for fishmongers crying: Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Back to Grill Secrets: What To Do with the Corn

For my chili roasted corn, you’re going to need 4 great big fresh ears of corn with the husks still on. Soaking the corn (in their husks) prevents the husks from burning on the grill. But I advise you this: YOU MUST WATCH CAREFULLY. If the fire is too hot, simply move the corn away from the direct heat. For a more simple presentation, remove the husks and broil the corn for several minutes, turning often. Once you’ve experienced the taste of that melted butter, chili powder and cumin basted onto the corn—with the added flavor of the lime cream—you’ll never want your corn on the cob any other way.

In the Spirit of Father’s Day, You Need a Tasty Brew

Beer-loving foodies agree that fresh fish tastes best with a pilsner or light lager. Check out this resource for a long list of brews that experts at Beerdorks.com came up with JUST for pairing with swordfish. If you’ll click on the link, you’ll notice a food index that includes just about every delicious dish—and what kind of beer goes best with it—that exists on this earth; there’s also info about getting dad enrolled in a beer-of-the-month club if you’re stumped for what to get him this Father’s Day.

But sometimes a simple display of fire and meat on the grill are enough to please any man, and so I highly recommend this simple menu as a Father’s Day gift he’ll never forget! Hug your Dads tight, people! Eat well!

Chili Roasted Corn on the Cob with Lime Cream

Servings: 6/ Preparation Time: 45 minutes

6 ears of fresh corn with husks
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup cream
Juice of 1 medium lime (about 1 tablespoon)

Submerge the corn (with the husks) in cold water for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Gently peel the husks away from the corn, leaving it connected at the stem. Clean the silk threads from the corn.
Stir together the melted butter, chili powder and cumin. Brush this mixture onto the corn.

Season with salt and pepper. Loosely rewrap the husks around the corn. Heat an outdoor grill over medium high heat. Grill the corn, turning often, watching carefully so that the husks do not burn. Transfer the corn to a platter.

For lime cream, whisk together both sour and regular cream with lime juice. Peel back the corn husks. Drizzle the lime cream over the corn. Garnish with an additional shake of chili powder.

Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Warm Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

4 (8-ounce) swordfish steaks, 1 to 1 ½-inch thick
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (7-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced lengthwise into strips
4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (16-ounce) jar Spanish olives, pitted, drained and chopped

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place the swordfish steaks into a baking dish.

Whisk together the ½ cup olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour this mixture over the fish, turning once to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Place the sun-dried tomatoes and the oil from the jar in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the garlic and Spanish olives. Cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

Heat a grill pan (or outdoor grill) over medium high heat.

Remove the fish from the marinade. Place the fish into the grill pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Turn and cook, 4 to 6 minutes more. The fish should spring back when touched.

Place the fish onto a platter. Top each steak with ¼ of the butter. Pour the sun-dried relish over the steaks. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Six-Veggie Slaw with Tarragon

Servings: 10 to 12
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

½ small head Savoy cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
6 large carrots cut into matchstick size julienne strips (about 2 cups)
1 fennel bulb, cut into matchstick size julienne strips (about 2 cups)
2 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into matchstick size julienne (about 2 cups)
12 whole radishes, sliced into thin strips (about 1 cup)
2 medium zucchini, sliced into matchstick size julienne strips (about 2 cups)

Juice of 6 to 8 limes (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons honey
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 medium cloves garlic (about 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Cut the vegetables into similar size very thin strips.
2. Place all of the vegetables into a bowl.
3. Use a blender or food processor to combine the lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic and tarragon. Pulse to emulsify.
4. With the machine running, slowly add the oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the dressing into the bowl and toss with the vegetables. Chill the slaw before serving.
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