Time to get back to cooking. My last two posts "Death in the Afternoon" and "Wine Lesson 1", while spectacularly entertaining, have drifted away from my blog raison d'etre. So as penance for my profligate ways today I give you a three-fer. Yes that's right, three for the price of one, a recipe, a technique and your second wine lesson. Let's get started before this post reaches War and Peace proportions.
First the technique. For years I have struggled with lighter, skinless meats burning horribly on the grill. No matter what I did, no matter what extra grill grates I employed, nearly every piece of fish or boneless, skinless chicken breast flirted with incineration. No more.
Here's a trick I picked up from the folks at America's Test Kitchen, yes, those anal-retentive, suck-all-the-available-joy-and-spontaneity-from-your-cooking testers from Cook Illustrated. When grilling, take a piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half. Form it into a grilling tray and place it on top of the grill grate. That's it.
It doesn't seem like enough, but it separates the flesh from direct contact with the grates, but provides enough heat to create those sear marks that everyone raves over. Try it with the following recipe.
Grilled Swordfish with Tomato & Onion Relish
1 TBSP finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil, canola, walnut, grapeseed but not olive oil.
1 1/2 lbs fresh, boneless swordfish fillets
At least 2 hours before grilling combine the shallots, red wine, orange juice and oil in a medium bowl and blend well. Pour the marinade into a resealable bag, add the swordfish, seal and refrigerate.
Tomato & Onion Relish:
2 TBSP dark brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Rind of 1 orange, finely grated
2 cups peeled, seeded & chopped tomatoes
1 cup peeled, seeded, sectioned and chopped oranges
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
Combine the brown sugar, orange juice, vinegar and orange rind into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup (approx. 10 - 15 minutes).
While the liquid is reducing, place the tomatoes, orange sections and onion into a sieve and drain thoroughly. Pour the solids into a mixing bowl (retain the juices to adjust the relish if needed). Add the hot sauce and mix well.
Preheat your grill over high heat. remove the swordfish form the marinade and pat dry. Place the fish onto your homemade grill pan. Place on the grill and cook for approximately 4 minutes per side depending on thickness (this recipe assumes 1 1/2" thick fillets).
Remove form the grill and serve with a dollop of relish and a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Which brings us to phase three of today's post. the food-wine combination. As I mentioned in the last food wine lesson, WWBob provided me with the pairings and he made a clear distinction between French Sauvignon Blanc and New Zealand SB. Today we're drinking two New Zealands both from the Marlborough region, a Nobilo and a Cloudy Bay.
Of the two wines pictured, the Cloudy Bay was a clear winner. It had a tropical fruit flavor at the very beginning that quickly gave way to a grapefruit sensation. It was a perfect foil for the richness of the swordfish, while complimenting the relish very nicely. The Nobilo was nice but it just didn't match the fish as well.
I believe Cloudy Bay is a widely distributed wine that's available nationwide. It's a great partner to a rich fish like swordfish.
Phew, I'm tired. No more fooling around, only quick posts from here on out, alright, a few nasty ones about the Tomato Tree, but otherwise, just remember...
You can do it, you can cook.