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Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2000

Latin Grilling

August 2, 2000

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For the most part, the Argentinian barbecue eschews marinades, rubs and basting sauces. The main seasoning is coarse salt. One exception to this rule is when chimichurri is brushed on barbecued lamb while it cooks.

Grilled Argentinian Steak with Chimichurri

4 Argentinian sirloin steaks, or skirt steaks, 8 ounces each

For the chimichurri

1 bunch parsley

2 bay leaves

1 1/4 tablespoons crushed red pepper

6 garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 cup red-wine vinegar

1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Place all chimichurri ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Put chimichurri in a glass or plastic container, using as needed. Chimichurri will keep for up to 6 months. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill. Season steaks with kosher salt. Place steaks on the grill and cook to desired doneness, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a serving dish and spoon chimichurri over each steak. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

-- Recipe adapted from Guillermo Pernot, executive chef-owner at Pasion, Philadelphia, Pa.

Call it a slow chili burn. The following versatile marinade adds subtle, delicious heat to grilled meats and fish. Use it with chicken thighs or breasts, skirt steak, whole beef tenderloin, salmon fillets or steaks and shrimp brochettes.

Grilled Halibut with Adobado Marinade

4 halibut steaks or fillets, 8 ounces each

For the adobado

3/4 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cup water

1/3 cup dried Mexican oregano

2 tablespoons ground coriander

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground coarse black pepper

12 dried New Mexican red chili pods, ends removed and roughly chopped without removing seeds (if New Mexican chilies are not available, use other whole dried Mexican chilies like chili negro or chili pasilla)

To make adobado: Place the vinegar and water in a blender and combine. Add all the other ingredients and combine until well incorporated. The mixture will be chunky because of the dried chilies. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep for approximately 2 months. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Place halibut steaks or fillets in a nonreactive bowl and brush with adobado until sufficiently covered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate, allowing fillets to marinate 1 to 3 hours.

Prepare a medium fire in the grill. Remove excess marinade and rub some olive oil onto the fillets before placing on grill to prevent sticking and burning. Depending on thickness of fillets, grill fish approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until done. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

-- Recipe adapted from Norman Fierros, executive chef at Norman's Arizona, Phoenix, Ariz.

This sprightly mango mojo is an excellent complement to grilled tuna as well as pork loin, chicken breast and scallops.

Grilled Tuna with Mango-Ginger-Lime Mojo

For the mojo

1 cup mango juice

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into /-inch cubes

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut into /-inch cubes

2 tablespoons dried mango, minced

1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, minced

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons minced cilantro

3 serrano chilies, minced (jalapeno can be substituted)

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

For the tuna

6 tuna steaks, 6 ounces each, cut 1-inch thick

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the mojo: Combine the mango juice and fresh ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, reducing by half, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Add cooled mango juice to the diced mango, scallions, bell pepper, dried mango, crystallized ginger, lime juice, cilantro, chilies, canola oil and salt. Set aside.

For the tuna: Prepare a medium fire in the grill. Oil and season the tuna steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper; arrange on the hot grate, and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, and 6 to 7 minutes per side for well done. Transfer the fish to serving plates, spoon some mojo over each tuna steak and serve immediately. Makes six servings.

-- Recipe adapted from "Latin Flavors on the Grill" by Douglas Rodriguez (Ten Speed Press).

Finally, a salsa recipe. It's an easy-to-make sauce that can be made up to 2 hours ahead and is best eaten immediately.

Salsa Mexicana Cruda (Fresh Mexican Sauce)

8 ounces (about 1 cup) tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

3 serrano chilies, or any fresh, hot green chilies, minced

Salt to taste

1/3 cup water (optional)

Mix all the ingredients well and serve at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

-- Recipe adapted from "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico" by Diana Kennedy (Clarkson Potter, due in September).

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