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Grill Mates: Part Two

August 12, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Grill Mates: Part Two

Last week we talked about working some inspiration into our grilling.   With all the incredible local produce available, it's fun to get creative out on the back deck.  Using Emeril Lagasse's very useful cookbook "Emeril at the Grill" as a guide, we also tapped into the wealth of knowledge that Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen brings to the table.  As we said last week, our fabulous locally grown produce offers nearly infinite possibilities.  So, we are marrying up a featured protein with a dynamite sauce or a killer summer salad.

Emeril has a tasty recipe for a grilled sweet potato salad that caught our eye.  It's a little bit unusual, but simple to do.

                Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and slice into 1/2" rounds, brushed with olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
salt and pepper
1/4 cup high quality olive oil
2 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 tbs crushed red pepper
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced, and cross cut once
1/4 cup crumbled mild goat cheese

1.  Grill the sweet potato rounds, about 3 minutes a side, getting nice grill marks.

2.  Using a small baking dish as a mold, build a tinfoil container for the sweet potato rounds.  Place the grilled rounds in the container, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the orange juice.  Seal it tight on the top, and place on an upper rack of the grill, or in a cool spot.   Allow the sweet potatoes to steam and soften.

3.  In a bowl, mix the olive oil, parsley and red peppers.

4.  When the sweet potato rounds are soft, carefully pour them and the remaining juice into the bowl with the dressing.  Add the onions, and gently stir, taking care not to break up the rounds.  Serve on a salad plate, and garnish with the crumbled goat cheese.

Jerry thought this salad would work very well with barbecued pork ribs.

Here in Maryland, we have all the fixings for killer salsas.  Here is a recipe for a grilled tomato salsa:

                  Grilled Heirloom Tomato Salsa

8 Roma tomatoes, halved  (any meaty tomato will work equally well)
2 ears of sweet white corn, shucked except for the final thin light green layers
1 1" thick slice of a large red onion
salt and black pepper
1/4 cup high quality olive oil
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
3 tbs chopped Italian parsley
2 tbs drained capers
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs smoked Spanish paprika

1.  Place the tomatoes on the grill, cut side down.  Cook for about a minute.  Turn them over, skin side down, and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove.

2.  Place the corn on a cooler spot on the grill and cook for about five minutes.  Turn it over and cook the other side for about 3 minutes.  The corn husk should be light brown with some char marks.  Set aside to cool, then remove the husk and the silks.  With a sharp knife, remove the cooked kernels, scraping over a bowl.

3.  Place the onion slice on the grill and cook for about 2 1/2 minutes.  Flip it over and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from the grill to cool.

4.  When the tomato is cool enough, chop it roughly and add it to the bowl of corn.  Cut the onion into a fine dice and add it as well.

5.  Stir the vegetables to blend evenly, then add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Let the salsa sit for about an hour at room temperature before serving.

For this tasty salsa, Jerry thought a nice grilled piece of rockfish would be perfect.

Latin influences in our cooking are indisputable, especially when it comes to that old favorite, the Cuban chimichurri sauce.  Here is Emeril's recipe:
                    Chimichuri Sauce

1 cup high quality olive oil
2/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup chopped flat leafed parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs minced shallots
1 tbs oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 crushed red pepper

1.  Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside in a non-reactive bowl, covered with plastic wrap for at least two hours.

Nothing beats a slow cooked beef tenderloin for pairing with chimichuri sauce.  Try it!

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.