Posts Tagged ‘ barbecue ’

Eating steak is friggin’ great!

It’s been a warm and relatively dry spring in the Kingdom of The Netherlands. That means the barbecue is back in business a bit earlier than usual. Being my father’s daughter, I have to say I have a love for red meat. High quality red meat, mind you. One of my favourite things to grill on the barbecue is steak. In Holland, however, it’s tough to find a nice tender piece of steak without having to sell your first child. That’s why I’m a big fan of the ‘kogelbiefstuk’, or rump steak in English. At around €12-13 a kilo, it’s probably one of the more affordable, widely-available cuts you can find. Don’t even get me started on the elusive T-bone.

In the past, I’ve been pretty bad at making steaks. They more or less always end up being overcooked, overspiced, or lacking moisture. Then I found this site. Trust the Australians to get steak right. These instructions have been such a blessing, that I’m almost able to ignore the fact the Australians implemented a pretty racist immigration policy until the mid 1970s. Almost. Oops, is that me digressing?

Anyway, I pretty much let the grill heat to about 300F or so, and then oil and salt and pepper the steaks. I put them in the center of the grill in direct heat for about a minute just so I can get those cool-looking grill marks on the steak, and sear it properly to lock in the juices. Then I turn my heat in the centre on low, the sides on high, and let the steak cook for about 4 minutes per side using indirect heat. The grill retains heat quite well, and so even with two burners on low, the internal temp still hovers around 300.  At about 3-4cm thick, the steaks come out medium-rare to medium-well, which I find is best for this particular cut, although you can cook it well done and still get good results.

Most of the info on that site is stuff I’ve picked up in the past, but there are certainly a few helpful tips. The most interesting one for me is the fact that you need to let the steaks rest in loosely-wrapped aluminum foil for about 5 minutes, so the internal juices can redistribute themselves a bit (who knew meat was that technical?). I used to try to make sure everyone was at the dinner table minutes before the steak were ready so they could go straight from the grill to the plate and be eaten hot. Now I know better!

Cookin’ freestyle….

So… as much as I love cooking, I still don’t have the confidence to cook without a recipe very often. The other day I was grilling mackerel (whole this time) and wanted some yummy quick way to do eggplant on the ‘q. I sliced them up, drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper, and this pre-packaged spice mix, called ‘Secret d’Aromes’ by Knorr, then I sliced up some tomato and grated a bit of romano and crumbled a bit of feta cheese.

I put the eggplant on the top grill at 350F or so, and cooked them for about 3 minutes,  then turned them over and threw on the feta, then the tomato and finally the romano. I love romano/gran padano as a substitute for parmesan cheese just because they have less moisture, making them easier to grate, and keep for a long time.

The eggplant turned out pretty good. The only thing I’d change next time is to spread the oil more evenly, and on both sides of the eggplant.

Mackerel. Maquereau. Makreel.

On Wednesday, I went to the open-air market in Leiden. Leiden’s a pint-sized university town about a 15 minute bike ride from my house. As well as being the birthplace of Armin van Buuren, it’s also the most decent market I can get to easily. We ended up getting 3kilos of fresh mackerel, some for freezing and some for dinner that night.

Now what to do with the mackerel? Usually, we spice it with a ton of garlic and ginger and some hot (way up there on the Scoville scale) pepper. This time around, I decided to do something different… so I went for this Japanese-inspired recipe. allrecipes.com again.

This was my first time filleting fish since my fishing trip to Norway in 2008…  I missed my fishing buddies dearly, but moreso, I missed having a sharp fishing knife! I had to sharpen my knife 3 or 4 times just to get through four fish without massacring them completely.

Didn’t have any mirin (sweet Japanese wine), which is a shame because it would’ve given the fish a great flavour… so I used dry sherry and threw in a tablespoon of honey to make it a bit sweeter. Other than that, the only other change I made was to add a bit more ginger.

I decided to cook the fish on the barbecue. Cooking filleted fish on the barbecue can be a bit daunting because the flesh is so delicate. Usually I put some foil down on the barbecue, and then put some parchment paper on top of that, and then proceed to cook my fish. This usually results in burnt paper though, so I decided to try and cook it on the bare grill. I googled a bit and found out the secret to grilling fish well. It’s kind of obvious, really. 1. Oil your fish or oil your grill. 2. Make sure your grill is really hot. Then it only needs to be on there for a few minutes. As with steak, only flip a fillet once. That’s it… and it worked!

I added a bit of cornstarch to the leftover marinade and made a glaze for the fish. I’d say this is a great, flavourful, simple recipe that I’ll definitely use again. The flavour lends itself to be used on other kinds of fish as well, especially salmon. I look forward to making it again!