Archive for November, 2012

Grilled Asparagus Wrapped In Prosciutto - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

Slender stalks of asparagus are so elegant that the trick is to avoid doing too much to them. We like to grill them briefly, wrap them in thin sheets of prosciutto, and sprinkle them with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.

TIMING
Prep: 12 minutes
Grill: 5 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs.

TIP
– To trim asparagus, hold a spear with the ends in each hand. Gradually bend the stalk. It will naturally snap where the stalk becomes tough. Discard the tough end. If the spears are very thick, peel them with a vegetable peeler by laying each spear on a work surface and peeling it with a vegetable peeler from the tip to the stem end.

GETTING CREATIVE
– For Grilled Asparagus with Barbecued Lemon Wedges, omit the prosciutto. Arrange the grilled asparagus on a platter and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or tarragon, if you like. Cut 2 lemons into 4 wedges each. Put the wedges directly on the grill grate over a medium fire with the cut sides up. Thickly brush 1 to 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce over the cut sides. Grill until the peels are nicely grill-marked and the lemons are beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove with tongs and cool slightly on the platter. Pass the lemon wedges for squeezing over the asparagus.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium (350°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 8 SERVINGS)
2½ pounds thin asparagus (40 to 45 thin spears), trimmed (see Tip)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Oil for coating grill grate
4 ounces sliced prosciutto (about 8 paper-thin slices)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet or in a zipper-lock bag until completely coated.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the asparagus on the grill, perpendicular to the bars of the grill grate. Grill until just tender but not limp, 4 to 5 minutes, rolling the asparagus once or twice with tongs.
4. Lay a slice of prosciutto horizontally on a work surface. Put 4 to 6 asparagus spears over the prosciutto near a short edge. Sprinkle the asparagus with some of the pepper. Tightly roll the prosciutto over the asparagus bundle on a slight diagonal, so that the prosciutto covers all but the tips of the spears. Sprinkle the tips with the Parmesan and serve.

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Everyone from vegetarians to steak lovers seems to like this recipe. The tofu is cooked twice to firm it up and give it a nice crust: First it’s stir-fried and then it’s grilled. The stir-frying can be done a day or two ahead, so when it comes time to grill, all you have to do is put the kebabs on the grill and baste them with sauce.

TIMING
Prep and press: 30 minutes (plus 5 minutes for sauce)
Stir-fry: 15 minutes
Marinate: 8 hours
Grill: 5 to 8 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes if bamboo
– Heat-resistant grill mitts.

TIPS
– Pressing tofu makes it firmer by forcing out excess liquid. Drain the blocks of tofu and then cut them in half through the side to make thinner slabs. Put the slabs on a cutting board near the sink, propped up slightly so that liquid drains into the sink. Cover with another board or big plate and put a heavy weight on top, such as a big book or a pan filled with water. Let drain for 30 minutes, then use as directed.
– Tamari is a dark, rich-tasting Japanese soy sauce. Look for it in the Asian section of your grocery store or in a health-food store. Lighter Chinese soy sauce makes a fine substitute.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium (350°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest 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 8 KEBABS)
2 tablespoons peanut oil or other vegetable oil
2 pounds extra-firm tofu, pressed (see Tips) and cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
¾ cup Indonesian Peanut Sauce
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
16 cherry tomatoes
Oil for coating grill grate
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tofu and toss to coat it with oil. Cook, flipping the pieces every couple of minutes, until lightly golden all over, about 15 minutes. (Do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough to hold the tofu in a single layer.) Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, mix the tamari or soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a large bowl or plastic container. Add the tofu, cover, and toss until the tofu is well coated. Uncover to release any steam. Re-cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, tossing occasionally to coat the tofu.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. In a small saucepan, simmer the peanut sauce gently over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Thread the tofu, bell pepper, and tomatoes on the skewers, using 2 to 3 pieces of tofu for every piece of pepper and tomato. Brush the peanut sauce generously over the tofu and vegetables.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the skewers on the grill and cook until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is nicely grill-marked, turning often, 5 to 8 minutes total.
7. Serve with the chopped cilantro and any remaining peanut sauce.

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In most meat grillery, the trick is to cook the meat without losing its precious juices. When grilling tofu, it’s the opposite. You want to get rid of the excess liquid in the tofu to firm up its texture. So we cook it twice: first in a sauté pan and then on the grill. Double-cooking concentrates the tofu’s texture, giving you a bit more to chew on. Try it—it’s worth the tiny bit of extra effort. We also marinate and glaze the tofu for flavor.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes (plus 5 minutes for glaze)
Press: 30 minutes
Marinate: 2 hours
Grill: 8 to 12 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula
– Long-handled basting brush.

TIP
– For information on types of tofu, see “What is Tofu?”, facing page.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 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 4 SERVINGS)
2 pounds extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, sliced
½ cup Ginger-Hoisin Balsamic Glaze
½ teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
Oil for coating grill grate.

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut each 1-pound block of tofu in half through the side to make 2 thick slabs (for a total of 4 slabs). Press the slabs under a heavy weight for 30 minutes.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pressed tofu and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, turning once. Combine the tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and half of the scallion in a large zipper-lock bag. Let the tofu cool slightly, then add it to the bag. Let the tofu cool further with the bag open. When it approaches room temperature, press out the air and seal the bag. Gently massage the marinade into the tofu, then refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Let the tofu rest at room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes. Remove from the marinade and discard the marinade. Rub with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the tofu on the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked, 4 to 6 minutes per side, brushing both sides with the glaze.
6. Cut each slab on the diagonal into 2 triangles per serving. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion and the sesame seeds (if using) and serve.

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Jerk is Jamaican barbecue, and like American barbecue, it is both a dish and a method of cooking. Typically done with chicken or pork that is marinated in an incendiary paste of Scotch bonnet peppers and a litany of spices, it is a way of life in Jamaica, sold in fine restaurants as well as at roadside stands from one end of the island to the other. Here, it is slathered on tofu. The initial step of pressing water from the tofu before it is marinated is essential; if skipped, the sodium in the jerk paste will draw the moisture out of the tofu, which will dilute the paste and soften its punch.

TIMING
Soak wood chips: 1 hour
Prep and press: 30 minutes (plus 15 minutes for paste)
Marinate: 2 to 6 hours
Grill: 30 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 1 cup wood chips, preferably hickory or oak, if using a gas or charcoal grill
– Smoker box or foil packet, if using a gas grill
– Long-handled spatula
– Long-handled basting brush.

GETTING CREATIVE
– Use chicken parts or pork chops instead of the tofu. Smoke as directed, and then brown over the heated part of the grill until the juices run almost clear and an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F for chicken or 155°F for pork.
– For a more traditional smoke aroma, use allspice wood (called pimento in Jamaica) instead of hickory or oak for the fire. A fruit wood such as apple also works well.

KNOW YOUR INGREDIENTS
What Is Tofu?
The process of making tofu is similar to that of making soft cheese. But the “milk” comes from soybeans instead of from cows. First, soybeans are soaked, ground, boiled, and mashed to extract their milky liquid. A coagulant (usually calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride) is added to separate the soymilk into curds and whey. Then the curds are drained and pressed into blocks of tofu, also known as bean curd or Chinese tofu.
Depending on how much whey is pressed out, tofu can be made into soft, firm, or extra-firm textures. Extra-firm tofu works best on the grill because it doesn’t fall apart on the grill grates. Look for extra-firm tofu packed in tubs of water in grocery store produce sections.
It might seem odd to grill something akin to cheese, but cooks in Asia have been grilling tofu for centuries. The porous texture of tofu makes it especially good at absorbing flavorful marinades and smoky aromas from burning wood. For the best texture, use the firmest tofu you can find, press out the excess water under a heavy weight, and then marinate or rub it with a spice mixture. It also helps to smoke the tofu for 15 to 20 minutes over indirect heat to draw out excess moisture and infuse the aroma of smoke into the tofu. Then move the tofu over direct heat and baste with a sauce as it cooks. The flavor of tofu is very mild, so bring on the bold-flavored marinades, and sauces.
You might also see another type of tofu packaged in a small aseptic box. Known as silken tofu or Japanese tofu, this creamy-textured tofu is made by using thicker soymilk that is carefully strained but not pressed as densely as regular tofu. Silken tofu can be used like yogurt or sour cream to make creamy soups, dips, sauces, and dressings. But its soft texture doesn’t hold up well on the grill. For live-fire cooking, stick with extra-firm tofu.

THE GRILL
Gas: Indirect heat, medium-high (375° to 400°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Indirect heat, light ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Indirect heat, light ash
Split bed of coals (1 inch deep per side)
Clean, oiled grate set 3 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 pounds extra-firm tofu
2 cups Jerk Wet Paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut each 1-pound block of tofu in half through the side to make 2 thick slabs (for a total of 4 slabs). Press the slabs under a heavy weight for 30 minutes.
2. Spread a layer of the jerk paste over the bottom of a shallow 4-quart baking dish. Put the tofu over the paste and spread the remaining paste evenly over the top and sides. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours.
3. Soak the wood chips in cold water for 1 hour.
4. Heat the grill as directed. If using a gas grill, put the wood chips in the smoker box or in a perforated foil packet.
5. When ready to grill, if using a gas grill, turn off the middle burner(s). If your gas grill has only 2 burners, turn off one side. If using a charcoal grill, drain the wood chips and scatter them over the coals. If using a wood grill, spread the coals to opposite sides of the grill for indirect heat.
6. Put the tofu over the unheated part of the grill. Cover and smoke for 20 minutes.
7. Using a basting brush, mix the oil into the jerk paste remaining in the baking dish.
8. Move the tofu over the heated part of the grill and cook until the underside is nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip with a spatula and baste the top side with the jerk paste. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.
9. Cut each slab on the diagonal into 2 triangles per serving. Serve warm.

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