6.02.2018

A Time to Grill, A Time to Chill

Summer is upon us. Minnesota? New England? Are you finally with us? Wow, did we feel for you this “spring”!

Now that everyone can relax - or chill, in today’s more hip lexicon - it’s time to pull off some simpler meals so that the time you spend with your food is around the table with friends, not just in the kitchen.

When I buy meats - steaks, racks of lamb, chicken parts, or sausages - they often come in inconvenient quantities. I need four steaks; the package has five. I need eight sausages and have to buy two five-packs. A rack of lamb has eight ribs and we eat only two or three each.

You get the picture. There are always leftover pieces, and I dutifully freeze them.

Then comes the day when you have friends coming over. The weather is stunning, and the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen.

This is the moment when you pull out all those extra pieces of meat for a Mixed Grill.

Most every cuisine has its version of a mixed grill, and I don’t know if there are specific parameters for what constitutes a mixed grill. What I do know is that if I grill some steak, some lamb lollipops, and some sausages, no one is going to complain if I call it a mixed grill. They will be too busy enjoying it.

I served a small production Provence red - a 2016 Domaine Pey Blanc “Instinct” - with a mixed grill the other night. You can read about the pairing in the Provence WineZine.

Cool pan, eh? My Arizona Skillet was a gift from wonderful friends!
The steak for my mixed grill – done in a skillet, rather than on a grill – is based on a recipe from Mozza, the Batali-Silverton restaurant in Los Angeles. I got the recipe from our friends Terry and Marc. I was astonished at the cooking time printed in the original recipe. Twenty-five minutes to cook a rib eye? Insanity! I suggest you follow my timing, or use your own judgment.

Extra virgin olive oil from our favorite vineyard in Montalcino: Il Palazzone
This steak is the perfect addition to any mixed grill, and is wonderful on its own, as well. We serve it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon - a tradition we learned in Tuscany. A salad of baby arugula is a nice accompaniment.

Roll on Summer!

~ David

Porcini-rubbed Tagliata
Adapted from the recipe from Mozza

2 heaping tablespoons porcini powder (see notes)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 boneless rib eye steaks, trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
lemon wedges


Mix the first five ingredients in a spice grinder. Place the spice mix on a large plate. Dredge each steak, pressing the porcini mixture into the flesh on both sides. Reserve any porcini rub that didn’t adhere to the steaks. Wrap the steaks tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.

Take the steaks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking. Remove the plastic wrap and use the reserved porcini rub to re-coat the steaks. Let them sit and come to room temperature.

Heat a cast iron pan over high. When hot, sprinkle the pan with salt - about 1/2 teaspoon. Season the steaks with additional salt and pepper, then add to the skillet. Cook the steaks for several minutes each side, until done to your liking. I seared them 4 minutes on the first side, and 3 for the second. Allow the steaks to rest for a few minutes after coming out of the pan.

Slice the steaks and serve with some arugula, with olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon over all.

Serves 4.


Notes:
- I do not recommend grilling them over a flame; I found the porcini rub and flavor burn away. Using a cast iron skillet gave me the best caramelization without losing the porcini flavor.
- I purchased my European porcini powder from Far West Fungi in the Ferry Building in San Francisco; you can order from them online or make your own by running porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder.

For my mixed grill, in addition to the steak, I served a few lamb riblets - (simply seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled a minute or so each side), German-style WeiƟwurst (which are fully cooked and needed only a warming on the grill, grilled cherry tomatoes, and some shishito peppers.
- If you are only making one steak, I suggest keeping the remaining porcini rub in a glass jar in the freezer.





24 comments:

  1. Our odd amounts end up being my lunch the next day, but your mixed grill sounds more exciting! You’re always inspiring!

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  2. Your rub looks intriguing, I have to look for the shiitake powder the next time I am in San Francisco. I love the Saturday farmer’s market at the Ferry Building. You made my kind of mixed grill.

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    1. Far West Fungi is inside the market building near Sue La Table. They are an amazing resource!

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  3. Love the idea and am thankful for the notes !

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  4. Genius on the mixed grill. Sometimes I don't know how package sizes are determined!

    I've seen porcini rub on steak at two restaurants the past week. Guess I need to get with the program!

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    1. Wow - I had never seen it in a rub before!

      Thanks, Inger. The packaging that amuses me is 8 hot dog buns for packages of 10 hot dogs. Seriously?

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  5. Great way of using all the bits we have in the freezer. The steak looks perfectly cooked...it would have been grossly overcooked if you had followed the recipe.

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    1. It would have been leather, Karen! I am loving cast iron for my steaks these days!

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  6. I think I'm well overdue for a dose of meat coma. I experienced it often whilst travelling through South America, so I needs me a fix! Somehow our invitation got lost in the mail. Oh well, there's always next time!

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    1. Your invitation is open ended, John! This reminded me a lot of the South African braai. Meat with your meat?

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  7. I know I wouldn't complain if you served me a platter like this one, no matter what you chose to call it... ;-) The porcini powder is a new one for me, I'll have to look out for it. Sounds like it would have all sorts of delicious uses.

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    1. It is a great addition to my cupboard, Frank - I am now addicted to the stuff! They have two varieties - U.S. and European. Needless to say, I get the European!

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  8. Reminds me of my trip to Uruguay where the parilla grilled platter of mixed meats is an art form and a sign of the good life. You're living the good life with this one. GREG

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    1. We think so, too, Greg. As I said to John Bek, it reminded me of the mixed grills in South Africa.

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  9. This is the kind of mixed grill my other half would love! I think at times he wishes I wasn't a vegetarian.

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    1. Hah! I have always wondered how that works in a household, Emma!

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  10. David, this sounds sooo good! And I rather like the idea of doing a "mixed grill" for a company dinner. We like our ribeyes done medium and so I cook them for a total of 16 minutes, exactly halfway between your 7 minutes and that surely-a-typo 25 minutes.

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    1. Well, there you go, Jean! Now I know how long to cook for my friend s who like medium! :)

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  11. I still remember the look on your face when you first tasted this steak. Everything went downhill from there... or uphill!!!

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    1. I still remember how incredible it tasted! Thank you so much for the introduction!

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  12. What a beautiful plate of food! The steak sounds fantastic. I've never used any sort of mushroom powder -- sounds so interesting, especially as part of a rub. And your timing sounds WAY better than the 25 min. (Almost thinking that was a typo - insanity is right!)

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    1. Maybe he wanted shoe leather, Valentina? (Hahahahaha!) I am loving the porcini powder - it’s so fragrant and flavorful!

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