Episode 026- As we’re knee deep into grilling season, you’ve probably run through your tried and true favorite ways to serve grilled meat.
Today, I will offer six suggestions of sauces and relishes that will bring moisture, taste, and accentuate the flavors that come with grilled meats.
Normally, I studiously avoid discussing grilling (and barbecuing for that matter) because it seems that when most people talk about “guys and food”, they go straight to grilling and barbecuing. I try to cover the other aspects of guys and food but here we are in the middle of July and, if we’re talking about cooking during this time of year, it simply can’t be avoided.
For the purposes of clarification, this show we are not going to talk about barbecuing, low and slow cooking indirectly usually over coals or wood. That is a totally different discipline and the topic of another program. When I talk about grilling, I mean cooking over a high heat, directly from the bottom of the grill with the cover off.
If you’re thinking of trying something different, here are a few things that you can make and have at the ready to help make your grilled meat or fish something to remember.
Mumbo Sauce- This is a sauce that is popular around the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. I had never heard of it, but saw reference to it on Facebook. When I asked what it was and an old Marine Corps pal set me straight. He said it was just ketchup and hot sauce mixed together. I’ve mixed up ketchup and hot sauce plenty of times and I even bought a bottle of Heinz ketchup with Tabasco. Upon further inspection, it is something a little bit more than that. I have not cooked this recipe, but here is a version from Epicurious and it seems straight forward.
Pesto- With pesto you get a sauce that uses up the fresh basil in your garden. You can store it in the fridge or freeze it to use during the wintertime. Since pignoli nuts (also known as pine nuts) can be super expensive, consider using chopped walnuts as a substitute. If you omit the nuts altogether and you can call it pistou which is the french version of the sauce. This garlicky sauce is great on beef or fish but equally good in pasta or potato salad. The recipe I use is from Fabio Viviani’s cookbook, “Fabio’s Italian Kitchen.”
Chimichurri- This Argentinian sauce, so you know it goes well with beef! It’s like pistou but made with fresh parsley and oregano instead of basil. There are many different ways to make this. I’ve seen recipes that include cilantro and cumin and many other herbs and spices. The recipe that I have is from “Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking” by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim. This is straight forward with the exception of esplette pepper which is described in the book as “hotter than paprika and milder than cayenne, and more aromatic than both. ” So use either depending on your heat tolerance.
Red Onion Marmalade (also known as a onion confit)- What is great about this is that it adds the onion flavor but also sweet and sour taste that counter balances the char that comes with grilled meat. You’ll recall in Episode 022, the burger episode, it was recommended as an an accompaniment to a burger but works well with any meat. It is also good on grilled cheese sandwiches. The recipe that I use come from “The Joy of Cooking” and stays for about a month in your fridge.
Fresh Mint Chutney- If you have mint in your garden, you know how quickly it can take over. Here is a recipe that will help you use up that mint, and take your fish or lamb to a higher level. This recipe is also from “The Joy of Cooking”.
Caponata- This is the chunky sweet and sour eggplant relish of my youth! Along with the eggplant, it’s got celery, raisins, pignoli, tomatoes, capers and olives. This recipe has anchovies in it too. Do not omit them. Be a man, not a mouse! It adds a depth to the flavor and you won’t even be able to sense that it is anchovies. The recipe that I use most often is from “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian” which Epicurious has on its website.
Two non alcoholic drinks to enjoy during the summertime:
Switchel- Also known as “Old Haymaker’s Punch”, this is a drink that was the thirst quencher in colonial times before soda or Gatorade. This recipe is from “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” and includes water, molasses, fresh ginger, and apple cider vinegar.
Hurricane Punch- There is certainly an alcoholic version of this drink that you know about if you spent three minutes in New Orleans. However, I came across this non-alcoholic version recently when I was reading “International Night” by Mark and Talia Kurlansky. It is a delightful combination of citrus juices, ginger ale, and water.
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