Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Citrus and beer steamed tilapia - on the grill

Well, I am not sure where the warm weather went, but there for a few days we had a hot spell and I was determined to cook everything on the grill that I could.
One of my favorite things to do is to cook using foil packets, and one of the best things to do in those packets is fish. In this case I went for tilapia because it was cheap, it looked nice and fresh and it just sounded good.
This was an easy prep and a short cooking time on the grill, which was really just a bonus to how good it tasted.
This is from an Epicurious recipe that I modified. They called for flounder. I called for tilapia.

Before cooking.

Citrus and beer steamed tilapia - on the grill

(two servings)

2 small shallot bulbs, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 thin slices of lime
2 thin slices of orange
2 tablespoons butter
2 tilapia fillets
4 sprigs fresh thyme
cayenne or black pepper
6 tablespoons beer (I used Sam Adams, because that is what I had - white wine works, too)

two pieces of aluminum foil, each twice as long as the pieces of fish (maybe 14-inches long)

Arrange foil pieces over a shallow baking dish or pie pan, sort of lining the pan to create a bowl-like space for your ingredients, leaving an overhang that will be sealed up to create your packet.

Divide shallots and garlic equally and sprinkle into the foil "bowl."
Put two slices of lime and one slice of orange into each packet.
Put 1 tablespoon of butter into each packet.
Set a piece of tilapia on top of this and season lightly with pepper and salt.
Arrange thyme sprigs on top of fish.
Pour 3 tablespoons of beer into each packet.

Gather excess foil and roll to seal the edges.
When your grill is heated on medium-high heat, put the packets (seam side up) on the rack and cook 10 minutes.

After cooking.

I think if you don't like beer, you can definitely use white wine.
If beer or wine is not an option, a little broth of some type probably would work. Or maybe clam juice. I figured there is so little alcohol in the beer and what is there cooks off anyway.

The beer and butter make for a nice little sauce that steams the fish beautifully.
The cayenne adds just a touch of heat. And the citrus is, well, citrusy and lovely.

I served this with grilled white corn and red potatoes that I also had roasted on the grill.
My only regret was that I did not have a lovely, crusty piece of bread to sop up that extra cooking sauce.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Steak bun - nope, not a sandwich!

Looking for a cool dish for a hot day, I came across this recipe for a Vietnamese noodle salad in the newest issue of EatingWell.

It did involve a fair amount of chopping and prep at the front end. But nothing was complicated and I was able to get this together in about 35-40 minutes.

It turned out to be a good option for a warm day.

The recipe from Eating Well called for pan-cooking the steak. I opted to grill it. I think I made the right choice. First of all because it meant not having to clean that pan later. Also because I prefer grilled steak.

I also added a hit of Sriracha chili sauce to the dressing because I like a little heat. That is up to the maker, I suppose.

Here is my version.

Steak bun (Vietnamese noodle salad)

makes about 6 servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 large NY strip steaks (1-1 1/4 inches thick), trimmed of fat
6 ounces wide rice noodles (I used the Thai rice noodles from Trader Joe's since I had them.)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
4 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup slivered fresh basil and/or mint (I used a combination of these and it was good.)
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tsp Sriracha or chili paste (I started with a little and added until I got the heat level I wanted)
Salt and pepper

Heat grill over high heat.
Season steak with salt and pepper.
Cook, turning once, until cooked through to your liking. Let rest on a clean cutting board for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook rice noodles according to the package directions, until just tender. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water.

Whisk vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and Sriracha to taste in a large bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

In a large bowl, toss the dressing with the noodles, cabbage, carrot, radishes, herbs and peanuts.
Then plate up your portions.

Slice the steak into thin strips and serve it on top of the noodle salad. (I cooked two steaks, but each portion only had about half a steak each sliced on top of it since they were big steaks. Then I had some left to eat later without any meat.)

Grilling the meat was the way to go. The EW version also mentions sirloin as a possibility.
I think this would be good with grilled chicken or shrimp, too. Or even just as a meatless option.