Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Field to Fork: Grilling meats for something unique

DanKennedyW

By
From page B3 | July 25, 2012 |

Once in a while you want something special for your protein on the barbecue.

Perhaps company is coming, or you need a break from the standard chicken breast, hotdogs, plain hamburger or tri-tip.

Try at least one of these. Then you’ll want to tackle the other two.

Herbed lamb burger
An herbed-lamb burger is a simple option. The flavor is impressive. John Bledsoe at the Davis Farmers Market usually has ground lamb that originates in Dixon. The Davis Co-Op has very good product too, ready to go in the freezer case. I’m sure Nugget can accommodate you as well.

The herbed-lamb burger can be served as patties on hamburger buns. Diane and I at times create tubular-shaped, smaller patties, flatten them slightly, and grill them for convenient use within a tortilla.

The yogurt with ground cumin lends a Mideastern touch that nicely accompanies this lamb burger. Skip the ketchup and mayo. Another twist is to mix yogurt, cumin and cucumber as a side, with tomato slices on the lamb. An eggplant spread, available ready-made, might be another condiment choice.

The basic recipe appeared in Bon Appetit many years ago, suggesting the burger be served in a pita. That’s a mess to eat. Try the options above. Here are the ingredients.

1 lb. ground lamb
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste

Mustard’s nearly no-fat marinated chicken

Some folk have a great antipathy to animal fats, so we’d be remiss not to offer a grilling recipe in that vein. Mustards Grill in Napa Valley developed this offering long ago for just that purpose.

When we moved to Davis in 1983, our ancient Buick LeSabre almost died coming over the Sierra. (“Died” as in limped up the bigger grades in second gear, sometimes on the shoulder.) We soon bought an old Datsun station wagon in good shape mechanically, but the silver paint job was badly scorched.

This became relevant the weekend afternoon we pulled into Mustards parking lot, after touring our new home state with the three kids for many hours. From what I saw, even the dishwasher had superior wheels. Here come the Clampetts! Ah, but the food. That type of California grilling was new to us.

Brine the chicken breasts first in the fridge for an hour (2 tablespoons kosher salt mixed in a half-gallon of water), assuring tenderness. Local chicken is easy enough to find. The Davis Food Co-Op comes to mind as a constant source.

Fresh basil is a must, and it has so many uses. But I bridle at paying a few bucks for supermarket sprigs of a fresh herb I’ll use in only one dish, especially if it’s for a marinade. A former executive chef within the Hyatt chain once gave me this advice: soak certain dried herbs, such as oregano, tarragon or thyme, in a bit of white wine for an hour or two to reconstitute them.

Rub a hot grill with vegetable oil just before grilling. It’s just one to two minutes per side for normal-sized chicken breasts. Yes, it grills very quickly. If chicken breasts are very large, cut a view opening in a thick part of a breast to check doneness.

This is excellent grilled chicken, not a serious compromise.

2 tablespoons rough-chopped basil
2 tablespoons rough-chopped oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
Pepper to taste
4 skinless chicken breasts

Steak with a full-flavored mushroom dry-rub

The bold flavor of grilled steak done in this manner usually has guests asking for the recipe. I’ve promoted it before. Its origins are lost to me. It costs a few dollars, so only people who will one day come to your funeral are worthy.

The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms and a thick rib-eye steak. Yes, that’s optimal, but it’s pricey. A lesser cut of steak would be viable. Nugget occasionally has New York strip steaks on sale. The supermarkets typically sell small packets of dried porcini. Note that the seemingly excessive amount of black pepper doesn’t come through as such after grilling.

Reduce the dried mushrooms to tiny bits and dust in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients to create the marinade. Rub the steaks generously. Marinate overnight in a plastic bag in the fridge. Just before grilling, discard marinade and lightly rub the meat clean (but not too clean).

The grilling technique is everything. Local beef, grass-fed, cooks quickly anyway. This marinated beef will grill in a heartbeat. That’s one reason you must have a thick steak. We all love grill marks, so sear directly over high heat on both sides. Once seared, shift the steaks to indirect heat. (Too much charring can cancel the marinade’s flavor.) Important: let the steak sit, off the grill, for 5 to 10 minutes to settle the juices before serving.

In the better steakhouses, steaks and grilled swordfish are often finished in the kitchen with butter, which melts before it hits your table. In this dish, drizzle the steaks with a little extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The key, once again, is to have thick steaks and monitor carefully for doneness. Can’t find thick steaks for a reasonable price? Just before grilling steaks that aren’t thick, pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes, and then grill. This will heighten the contrast in doneness between the exterior and the middle.

5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon kosher salt (half that much if table salt)
Red pepper flakes to taste (a few pinches?)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper (not a typo)
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
2 thick rib-eye steaks

— Dan Kennedy, a Davis resident, has a long history with the bounty of gardens and small farms. Reach him at kennedynow@yahoo.com

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics