Archive for April, 2012

Lotus is an olfactory orgasm; a deep whiff can lead to momentary swooning. The magic of cooking in lotus is that its intoxicating fragrance infuses anything it touches. Lotus leaves come dried and are available in Asian groceries. They are huge, spanning 2 feet or more. All you have to do is soak them in a sink (or large bowl) filled with warm water until they become pliable, about 10 minutes. The fish in this recipe is left whole, but its main skeletal bones are removed, making it easy to serve.

TIMING
Prep: 40 minutes (plus 5 minutes for Szechwan salt)
Grill: About 20 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Grill screen
– Long-handled spatula

REMOVING THE BONES FROM A WHOLE FISH
You will need:
– Clean cutting board
– Sharp, narrow-bladed knife (boning knife)
– Heavy-duty scissors
1. Lay the fish on its side on the cutting board, with its back facing the hand holding the knife. Make a slit through the skin just above and running along the central back ridge of the fish (see photo 2).
2. Using short strokes, work your knife along the bones supporting the dorsal fin (see the illustration), lifting the flesh from the bone down the length of the backbone, all the way from the head to the tail. As you are cutting, you should feel bone against one side of the knife at all times. This will ensure that you aren’t leaving edible flesh on the carcass.
3. Continue cutting until the entire backbone is exposed and you have cut over the ribs where the ribs end in the belly. One side of the rib cage should now be separate from the flesh of the fish (see photo 3).
4. To separate the flesh from the tail end of the fish, lay the flat side of the knife against the backbone, with the blade facing the tail. Hold the head end of the fish steady and cut back toward the tail, cutting through the skin connecting to the anal fin (see the illustration), but stopping before you get all the way to the tail. One side of the fish will now be separate from the skeleton but will still be attached at the head and tail.
5. Turn the fish over and fillet the other side in the same way.
6. Using scissors, cut the backbone where it connects to the head and again where it connects to the tail. Remove the skeleton. Use the tip of your knife to remove any small bones still remaining along the belly.

THE GRILL
Gas: Indirect heat, medium-high (350° to 375°F)
3- or 4-burner grill-middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal: Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
Clean, oiled grate on medium to low setting
Wood: Indirect heat, medium ash 12-by-12-inch bed, 3 inches deep Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
For the stuffing:
2 cups brewed jasmine tea made from 2 teabags or 2 tablespoons loose tea
1½ cups sushi rice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 large dried fig, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
½ teaspoon Sesame Szechwan Salt
2 scallions, roots and wilted leaves trimmed, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
For the fish:
2 whole red snappers or sea bass, about 2 pounds each, scales, gills, and fins removed
4 dried lotus leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Oil for coating grill grate and grill screen.

DIRECTIONS
1. To make the stuffing, combine the brewed tea, rice, and soy sauce in a large saucepan; cover and heat to boiling over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the crystallized ginger, fig, coconut, Szechwan salt, scallions, almonds, and cilantro to the pan (do not mix); cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, mixing the ingredients evenly into the rice.
3. While the rice is cooking, remove the central skeleton from the fish. Submerge the lotus leaves in a large bowl of hot water. Soak until pliable, about 10 minutes.
4. Heat the grill as described.
5. Brush the fish inside and out with the soy sauce, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Place 2 lotus leaves on top of one another (dark-side down), and spread them out flat. Place a fish at one edge, and fill with half the stuffing. Fold the edges of the leaves over the ends of the fish and roll the fish up in the leaves until the package is completely encased; secure the loose end with a wooden toothpick. Repeat with the other fish and the remaining lotus leaves and stuffing. Oil the grill screen and put the lotus-wrapped fish on the screen, toothpick-side down.
6. Brush and oil the grill grate. Put the grill screen on the grill, positioning the fish away from the fire. Cover the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side; let rest for 5 minutes.
7. Slit open the lotus wrappers and serve.

Fish Stuffed With Five-Treasure Jasmine Rice Roasted In A Lotus Leaf - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

1. Soaking lotus in sink
2. Beginning boning fish
3. Finishing boning fish
4. Wrapping stuffed fish
5. Fish on grill
6. Unwrapped and cut fish

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Under the assumption that nothing exceeds like excess, we offer this, our rendition of ubercarne. If you can find fresh morels, the aroma will be heightened, but dried morels are wonderful as well and are a compromise only when compared to fresh. Plus they have the advantage of producing a concentrated soaking liquid that adds flavor to the stuffing when reduced. To get a jump on the meal, assemble the tenderloin ahead, refrigerate it for a day or more, and then grill it just before serving.

TIMING
Prep: 25 minutes (plus 5 minutes for rub)
Rest before grilling: 10 minutes
Grill: About 25 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Heavy-duty cotton kitchen twine.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 8 SERVINGS)
6 ounces fresh morels, or 1 ounce dried morels, soaked in hot water and drained
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
1 cup beef broth or mushroom soaking liquid, if using dried morels
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces pâté de foie gras or goose liver pâté, broken or cut into pieces
1 trimmed beef tenderloin, about 5 pounds,
2 tablespoons Tuscan Rosemary Rub
Oil for coating grill grate.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Chop the morels coarsely. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and rosemary and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato and mushrooms and sauté until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add the broth or soaking liquid and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Cool until barely warm, and stir in the pâté.
3. Make a lengthwise slit about halfway through the tail end of the tenderloin about 4 inches from the end, right where the meat tapers. Tie the wide end (butt end) with kitchen twine to make a neat, cylindrical shape. Fold in the tail end and tie it in place so that the tenderloin is uniformly shaped from end to end, to help it cook evenly.
4. To make a hole down the center of the tenderloin that you can stuff, position a sharpening steel at the thicker end of the tenderloin and push it through until its tip comes out the other side. Remove the steel. Insert a long, thin-bladed knife into the hole made by the steel several times, making short slits to enlarge the hole.
5. Stand the tenderloin on end and spoon the morel mixture into the hole, packing it down with the steel or the handle of a wooden spoon. When you’ve used about half of the stuffing, turn the tenderloin over and fill it from the other side.
6. Put the beef on a sheet of plastic wrap and rub the exterior with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the rosemary rub and roll it around until coated. Wrap in the plastic and set aside for 10 minutes.
7. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the tenderloin on the grill, cover, and cook until browned on 4 sides, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thicker end; it should register 125°F for medium-rare. If your grill has an external temperature gauge, it should stay at around 400°F.
8. Transfer the beef to a carving board; let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into ½-inch-thick slices and serve.

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Mixed grill was probably the first cooked meal ever served. It’s easy to imagine: a variety of meats from the day’s hunt, cooked over the communal fire and eaten, not in courses, but all at once, juices and flavors mingling and enhancing one another. Our selection is largely poultry, mingling game hen, duck breast, and sausage with fresh figs, orange, and fennel.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-low (300°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal: Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting
Wood:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
3 game hens, about 1 ½ pounds each, split lengthwise
3 boneless (but not skinless) Muscovy duck breast halves, about 8 ounces each, skin scored with 3 or 4 slashes
4 cups Orange-Fennel Brine
1 ounce pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup orange juice
12 fresh figs, halved lengthwise
12 small fennel twigs (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 sausage links (your choice – anything from mild Italian to lamb with garlic)
Oil for coating grill grate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces.

DIRECTIONS
1. Put the game hen halves and duck breasts in a gallon-size zipper-lock bag with the brine. Seal the zipper, leaving about an inch open; push on the bag to release any trapped air through the opening, and close the zipper completely. Massage the liquid gently into the meat and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, heat the pancetta in a small saucepan until the fat renders. Add the wine and orange juice and boil until reduced to 1 cup; set aside.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Spear each fig half with a fennel twig (if desired) and coat the figs with the olive oil. Poke the sausages several times with a fork.
5. Remove the game hen halves and duck breasts from the brine; discard the brine. Pat dry. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil; put the hens, skin-side down, on the grill. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, and put the duck breasts, skin-side down, and the sausages on the grill. Cover and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a game hen breast, a duck breast, or the end of a sausage registers 165°F, about 12 minutes, turning the sausages and duck breasts halfway through.
6. Remove everything to a large serving platter and keep warm. If using gas, turn the grill to high, put a grill screen on the grill, and heat for 1 minute. (If using charcoal or wood, place the grill screen over the hottest part of the fire.) Put the figs, cut-side down, on the grill screen, cover the grill, and cook until the figs have browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the platter.
7. Reheat the reduced wine and orange juice to boiling. Mix in the butter, stir until melted, and pour the sauce over everything. Serve immediately.

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