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Chicken, salmon, steak & amp; more



Published: Wed, June 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

THUNDER THIGHS

Look for the Sriracha sauce in the Asian section of most grocery stores. It's a very hot chile sauce made with chiles and garlic.

8 to 10 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, washed and patted dry

MARINADE

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup Sriracha sauce ("red rooster" sauce)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic or to taste, peeled, finely minced or pressed

Place the thighs in a gallon plastic sealable bag.

In a measuring cup combine all the marinade ingredients, pour the mix into the bag, seal and squish the bag around to coat the thighs evenly. Let them marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.

Preheat a gas grill with all the burners on high for 10 minutes and the lid down.

When the grill is hot, turn off the center burner and turn the other burners to medium. Or, on two-burner grills, turn one off.

Place the chicken thighs, bone side down, over the center burner (or over the burner that is off), close the lid and cook until the juices run clear when the pieces are pierced with a sharp knife, about 40 minutes total, turning every 10 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and loosely tent the pieces with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

If you prefer a charcoal grill, prepare the grill for indirect heat by banking the coals to the sides of the grill. Leave the center of the grill without any hot coals. When the coals are ready (about at medium heat) place the grill grate on and preheat it for 5 minutes. Place the chicken pieces in the center of the grill, away from the heat source, and cover the grill.

Cook about 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

From "The New Gas Grill Gourmet" by A. Cort Sinnes (Harvard Common Press, $16.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Serves: 4

310 calories (56 percent from fat), 19 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 0 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 433 mg sodium, 115 mg cholesterol, 16 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber.

PESTO-STUFFED SALMON WITH CORN SALAD

The salmon can be prepared up to one day ahead of grilling. The pesto stuffing adds a fresh layer of flavor.

SALMON

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons blanched almonds

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing

111/2-pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinless, rinsed and patted dry

Vegetable oil for grilling

SALAD

1 pound ripe mixed small tomatoes, rinsed, halved or diced

1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram or oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare the salmon, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the basil, parsley, almonds, garlic, salt and black pepper to make a coarse paste.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until it's incorporated into the pesto.

Lay the salmon fillet on a work surface. With a cut side facing you, cut a wide pocket with a narrow-bladed knife, taking care not to cut through the top or bottom of the fish. Hold the pocket open, and season the inside with salt and black pepper to taste. Spread the pesto evenly inside the fish with a flat metal spatula.

Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium-high fire.

To prepare the salad, in a serving bowl toss the tomatoes with the corn. Add the olive oil, vinegar, marjoram, salt and black pepper to taste. Toss again, taking care not to break up the tomatoes.

Lightly brush the grill grate with vegetable oil. Brush the fillet on both sides with olive oil and season the flesh side with salt and black pepper to taste.

Lay the fish flesh side down on the grill and cook until there are distinct grill marks and you can lift the fish without it sticking, about 3 to 5 minutes. Test it by gently lifting a corner -- if it sticks, let it cook a bit longer.

When it lifts cleanly, carefully turn it about 45 degrees from its original position (don't turn it over). Cook for another 3 minutes, until the flesh is marked.

Season the skin side with salt and black pepper to taste, turn the fillet over and cook about 3 to 5 minutes more or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the side registers 125 degrees.

Transfer the salmon to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Cut the salmon into 4 equal pieces and transfer it to serving plates. Serve the salmon warm or at room temperature. Top with the Tomato-Corn Salad. Drizzle any extra juices from the salad on top.

Cook's note: To cook the corn, cut the kernels from the ears into a bowl and scrape the cobs with a knife to get out the juices. Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute.

From "Food Network Kitchens Get Grilling" by the Food Network (Meredith Books, $24.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Serves: 4.

Nutrition information: 559 calories (58 percent from fat), 36 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 8 grams carbohydrates, 42 grams protein, 173 mg sodium, 107 mg cholesterol, 72 mg calcium, 3 grams fiber.

GRILLED PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS STACKED WITH SPINACH AND MANCHEGO CHEESE

"When grilled, portabella mushrooms take on an incredibly satisfy meaty quality," writes Bobby Flay in his latest grilling book, "Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life" (Scribner, $22). "I think of this dish as a first-course salad, but it could easily be the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal. Stack the mushrooms for that professional chef look and be sure to shave the cheese with a vegetable peeler."

SHERRY VINAIGRETTE

1 small shallot, peeled, finely chopped

1/4 cup sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

GRILLED MUSHROOMS

8 medium (about 4 inches in diameter) portabella mushroom caps

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces baby spinach

2 ounces Manchego cheese, thinly shaved

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Preheat the grill to high.

To prepare the sherry vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the shallot, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the quarter cup of oil and whisk until it's emulsified. Set the vinaigrette aside.

Brush the mushroom caps on both sides with the 2 tablespoons of oil and season them with the salt and black pepper. Grill the caps, top side down, until they are slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn the mushrooms over and continue to grill until they are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Place the spinach in a medium bowl and toss it with some of the sherry vinaigrette.

Divide half of the spinach among 4 salad plates. Top the spinach with half of the cheese and then a grilled mushroom. Repeat the layers in the same order using the remaining spinach and cheese and ending with a mushroom cap. Press down gently on the stacks to keep them from falling.

Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the mushrooms and garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.

Cook's note: Manchego is a Spanish sheep's milk cheese. Other cheeses that blend well with the mushrooms are Gouda and smoked provolone.

From "Bobby Flay's Grilling for Life" by Bobby Flay (Scribner, $22).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Serves: 4

Nutrition information: 291 calories (63 percent from fat), 20 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 18 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 542 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol, 157 mg calcium, 5 grams fiber.

BOURBON-BARBECUED RIB EYE STEAKS

Be sure to pat the steaks dry with paper towels before grilling them because, according to "Weber's Real Grilling," wet steaks don't sear, they steam.

MARINADE

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

STEAKS

2 bone-in rib eye steaks, about 1 1/4 pounds each and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

To make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.

Place the steaks in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press out the air, seal the bag and turn it several times to coat the meat. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Allow the steaks to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling them. Remove the steaks from the bag and discard the marinade. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels.

Preheat the grill to high.

Brush or spray both sides of the steaks with olive oil; set them aside.

In a small bowl, mix the paprika, salt and pepper. Press the seasonings into both sides of the meat.

Grill the steaks over direct high heat until they are cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. If flare-ups occur, move the steaks temporarily to indirect high heat.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

Carve the meat from the bone, and cut the steak across the grain into 1/4-inch slices, discarding any large pieces of fat.

Arrange the slices on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle the steaks with any juices collected on the cutting board.

Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

From "Weber's Real Grilling" by Jamie Purviance (Weber-Stephen Products Co. and Sunset Books, $24.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Serves: 4.

Nutrition information: 601 calories (67 percent from fat), 46 grams fat (17 grams sat. fat), 1 gram carbohydrates, 42 grams protein, 351 mg sodium, 139 mg cholesterol, 25 mg calcium, 0 grams fiber.

BARBECUED SPARERIBS WITH APPLE CIDER MOP

These ribs require low and slow grilling that produces a tender rib with a smoky flavor.

RUB

1 tablespoon kosher salt, or less to taste

2 teaspoons pure chile power

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

RIBS

2 racks pork spareribs, 3 to 4 pounds each

MOP

1 cup apple cider

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon favorite hot red pepper sauce

In a small bowl, mix together all the rub ingredients.

Put the spareribs, meaty side up, on a cutting board. Follow the line of fat that separates the meaty ribs from the much tougher tips at the base of each rack, and cut off the tips.

Turn each rack over. Cut off the flap of meat attached in the center of each rack. Also cut off the flap of meat that hangs below the shorter end of the ribs. The flaps and tips may be grilled separately, but they will not be as tender as the ribs.

Remove the thin membrane from the back of each rack of ribs. If you are using a rib rack, cut the racks in half crosswise. Allow the ribs to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Season the ribs all over with the rub.

Place the ribs in the rib rack and grill them over indirect low heat for 1 hour. The grill temperature should be about 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, make the mop. In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together all the mop ingredients and bring them to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

After the spareribs have been grilling for 1 hour, baste them with the mop and continue to baste them every 30 minutes until the meat has shrunk back from the ribs bones about 1/2 inch and the meat is tender enough to tear with your fingers. The total grilling time will be 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a baking sheet, lightly brush them with some of the remaining mop and tightly cover them with foil. Let the ribs rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Cook's Note: To remove the thin membrane from the back of the ribs, start out by using a paring knife or slot screwdriver to loosen it.

From "Weber's Real Grilling" by Jamie Purviance Weber-Stephen Products Co. and Sunset Books, $24.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Serves: 4

Nutrition information: 913 calories (68 percent from fat), 69 grams fat (25 grams sat. fat), 3 grams carbohydrates, 66 grams protein, 791 mg sodium, 274 mg cholesterol, 115 mg calcium, 1 gram fiber.




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