Grillin’ my way into spring
March 22, 2017
We were gifted with just an extraordinarily gorgeous spring day over the weekend.
Brilliant blue sky, a wisp of a cloud here and there, temps in the mid-upper 70s, a light breeze ruffling the air now and again. What a friend used to call “a bluebird day.”
So I did what any good, red-blooded ‘Merican would do on such a day. I cracked open a beer and fired up the grill.
And we had surf and turf for dinner. And it was, if I did cook it myownself, fine.
I had been to Little Rock on Thursday and Friday, and with nice weather predicted and grilling on my mind, had this meal in mind. So I stopped off in Bald Knob (where, I might add, strawberry shortcake season at the Bulldog Cafe starts March 31! Road trip time!) to pick up shrimps at the Big Bayou Market. I had jumbos in mind, but I must have been in between shrimp runs; all they had was medium, so I got those. Got home and stashed them in the fridge with some ice while I cooked corned beef and cabbage.
Next day, rummaged in the freezer and got out some filets. Little small filet medallions, some of them cut thinner than I would like. Thawed them, sprinkled with a little seasoned salt and pepper, bagged, and then tossed in the sous vide for a quick bath (an hour, give or take, at 125F). Took them out and chilled them.
Cut up and blanched some cauliflower that had been lounging in the fridge. Drained that and set it aside.
Snapped and prepped some asparagus I’d bought on a whim at the grocery. Not the best of asparagus, and we’ll have the good local stuff soon, but it was there, and I grabbed it.
Peeled the shrimps. Flying by the seat of my pants, I melted half a stick of butter and glopped into it a healthy tablespoonful of garlic confit. Whizzed that all up with the immersion blender, and poured it over the shrimps. Added a dozen or so turns of the pepper mill, stirred it all up, and set it off to the side, then went out to start the grill.
The shrimps went into a grill basket, the asparagus into another one that could be flipped. The steaks went onto the grill grate a few minutes later, and, so’s not to waste any of the grate space and bottled gas, a pork loin I’d been curing went in the remaining corner.
Had to play with timing because the shrimps took longer to cook that I had projected, but I managed to get everything done at pretty close to the same time. The cauliflower got tossed in a sauce with anchovies, capers, garlic, olive oil and smoked pepper, topped with big clumps of fresh ricotta cheese, and roasted.
People. This was a dinner of which note should be taken. The steak, not to brag, was perfect. Possibly the best steak I have ever cooked. The shrimps were show-stoppers; just buttery and garlicky and smoky enough to be completely succulent. The asparagus was crispy-crunchy-tender perfection.
The cauliflower was, honestly, a bit of overkill. Though this is a fine recipe for cauliflower.
I have asparagus and shrimp left over. They are destined for a pasta sauce this week.
Considering that a week earlier, it was snowing, this was a quite fine welcome to spring. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em check on the level in your gas bottle, or on your charcoal supply, and get ready to fire up that grill!