Saturday, June 30, 2012

Roasted Salsa

You know how there are some foods that taste infinitely better when you make them yourself?  Salsa is one of those, and it's right at the top of the list, largely in part because you can get your ingredients fresh, easily make it in bulk and it's simple to adjust it to your taste as you make it (plus, who doesn't love salsa?).  There's also the added bonus that salsa doesn't turn quickly--salsa will last in your fridge for a week--you're almost always guaranteed to use what you make.  It's versatile, and we put it on anything: eggs, steak, whatever...

Most people are used to salsa being red, but it can also be green (salsa verde), getting its color from  tomatillos instead of tomatoes. This version of Roasted Salsa is combination of both tomatoes and tomatillos.  I roasted most of the ingredients, and I'm sure you're wondering why roast them?  The first reason is that warm salsa is slightly different, and the other is that cooking the ingredients on the grill gives the salsa a distinct smokey flavor.

In the video, I used canned tomatoes, though normally I would advocate using fresh.  The tomatoes in my garden were not ready, but the grill was on, we were hungry for salsa, and sometimes you just have to make sacrifices .  But my first tomatoes are starting to turn red now, so I plan on using fresh ones to make the next batch, and I know I'll notice the difference.

2lbs tomatillos, husked
2lbs of vine ripe tomatoes or 1 large can of whole San Marzano (just tomatoes, not the sauce), chopped
2 medium white onions
4 serrano chiles seeded (or not)
12 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
Juice of three limes and the zest of one
1 tablespoon of sugar
healthy splash of olive oil

1. Grill the tomatillos, onion and serranos until they start to get soft.  Use a grill basket if you have one.  If not, use kabob skewers.

2. Wrap the garlic in foil with some olive oil and salt.

3. Grill for about 15 minutes.

4. Combine everything in the food processor and give it a whirl.  Do not over process!  This should be chunky.

5. Enjoy!

Check it out:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day Leg of Lamb with Mint Chimichurri Sauce

There's an old saying that the way to a man's heart is through is stomach, so what better way to show dad how much you love him than with a delicious meal on Father's Day.  For those of you still in need of a great grill idea, I've got something easy and crowd-pleasing, because, let's be honest, who wants to spend all day on Father's Day cooking?  

But who wants to eat well on Father Day?  Everyone.  

Grilled leg of lamb is something that is easy to make that also takes very little time and effort to prepare.  The real key to this recipe is temperature.  Leg of lamp is thick in some spots and thin in others, so getting the whole piece of meat medium rare is tricky.  The lamb needs to come off the grill when the thickest part if at 125 degrees, allowing some of the meat to be rare and and some to be medium.  Everyone is happy. 

While the meat itself has a great flavor, if you want to add a nice twist to it, here is a great version of Chimichurri sauce that nicely compliments the lamb.  Here's everything you need:
Take one leg of lamb, and 2 1/2 hours prior to cooking, whisk together 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil and lots of salt (Kosher) and pepper.
Slather the meat in the marinade and put it in the refrigerator..  Remove lamb from refrigerator 45 minutes prior to grilling to allow the meat to come to room temperature.

For the Mint Chimichurri sauce:

In the video below, you see I use a food processor to make this; that was a mistake.  I ended up needing to add additional hand chopped ingredients to get the right consistency, which is oily with chucks of stuff in it.  Mince everything below.

1/2 bunch of oregano (can be dried, but only this one ingredient; all other ingredients should be fresh)
1 bunch parsley,
2 bunches of mint,
3-4 jalapenos (remove seeds),
5 cloves of garlic,
1 Big splash red wine vinegar
1-1.5 cup olive oil
salt (kosher) and pepper
juice of 3-4 limes (grate some zest in if you want to get crazy)
Grilling the Lamb:
Make the grill as hot as possible.  Grill time will be approximately 15 minutes per side, but may be much less, depending on the thickness of the meat.  Grill side one for 12-15 minutes, flip, and after another 6 minutes start checking the temperature.  Get the meat off the grill at 125 (center temp, for medium rare in the thickest part). Leave grill on. Cover the lamb with foil and let rest for a least 10 minutes before you carve it (1/2 inch thick slices).  The thickness will vary so you will have some medium rare and some medium.  If you a cold center part, keep carving.  Take the pieces that are too rare and throw them back on the grill for 30-45 seconds per side.

Check out the video: