By the time you read this we should be winging our merry way to deepest devon for a week of fun and walks, pubs and food, R n R, chillaxing, laughing and no doubt yacking way too much with our friends. So as I’m reclining on a comfy sofa, she hopes, with a good book and a glass of something dry and white nearby I’m leaving you in the capable hands of some wonderful blogger friends. I hope you enjoy their offerings as much as I’m enjoying hosting them !
First off we have Shenandoah from Fleeting Architecture, so without further ado and yacking I’ll leave you in her capable hands !
My guest blogger today is Shenandoah Kepler. She and her Dear Husband (DH) have lived more than 35 years in the suburbs of Washington DC in Maryland. Her blog, Fleeting Architecture, http://gardenaginginplace.com is the “Diary of an Ancient Gardener” describing her and her husband’s efforts to age in place at home and in their gardens.
I grew up in the Midwest US, and when my family craved barbecue (barbeque, bbq, etc.), we didn’t make it at home, we went to a “pit master” with the experience, skill, and patience to wood-smoke beef or pork (often in a pit) for the requisite 4 to 10 hours until the meat fell off the bones. This is the classic definition of bbq in the US, and there are still contests and rivalries all over the nation for the best practitioners of slow smoked bbq beef or pork.
Today though, if we have guests or go to someone’s home for bbq, we generally expect that it will not be actual bbq, but will be “grilled” fare on a metal gas or charcoal fuelled “barbecue griller” in the back yard. The food might have bbq sauce on it, but it will not be smoked for hours. “Grilled” in the US means food cooked on a high heat above the fire. I understand that “grilled” in the UK means cooked under a high heat. We in the US call that “broiling” the food. We do that in the kitchen oven.
My DH and I will grill anything: beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables, and fruit. I prepare the raw product and DH does the actual grilling.
Grilling some foods is easier with certain hardware. For example, fish, fruit and vegetables are prone to falling between the metal rods of the grill, so you might have to improvise some type of narrower cooking surface, even a mesh screen, to keep the food out of the fire. We use a specially designed grill surface for fish, and a vegetable cooker designed for a grill to hold fruit or veggies over the grill outside.
The only other detail is to know approximately how long it will take to preheat the grill and how long to leave any type of product on the grill (very short times for fish, for example) recognizing the signs of when the product is actually cooked adequately before removal from the grill.
Because grills can vary so much in BTU output, insulation, etc. from one brand and model to another, with even the outside temperature affecting the timing, pre-heating and cooking times will vary greatly. Since food will continue to cook after it is removed from the grill, we recommend slightly undercooking everything, but experimentation is the key to grilling.
Grilled salmon and brussels sprouts
- Begin with salmon fillets of about ½ inch in thickness. Start the bbq grill and get it to grilling temperature. For our gas grill, this takes about 15 minutes of pre-heating. Salmon will take approximately 7 minutes to cook on our grill.
- Cut available herbs from your garden or pots (I strip the leaves from the herbs because the stems are too woody this time of the year), put them in a bowl or mortar; pour a little olive oil over them; add a little vinegar, wine, lemon juice, or something else acidic (to make dressing or marinade.) Pound the mixture together, adding any combination of garlic, ginger, mustard, soy sauce, sugar and pepper to the mixture. Pour ½ marinade/dressing over the salmon.
- Cut ends off brussels sprouts, cut each sprout in half, place in bowl and cover, and put in microwave oven with small amount of butter, margarine, or oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Let cool. Add other half of marinade to brussels sprouts, toss, let set until the grill is ready.
Cooking the Salmon and Brussels
- Grill salmon on fish grill and grill brussels sprouts in vegetable grill. After about 4 or 5 minutes, run spatula under fish so it doesn’t stick to grill.
- When fish begins to bubble (fat will be seen rising to top surface of flesh), it is done. For those of you unsure, use a fork to flake the fish. If it flakes but seems a bit too red in the center, remember that the salmon will continue to cook when you remove it from the grill and will become pink in the center at that time. Alternatively, you can remove the thinner parts of the fish that are cooked and continue to grill the thicker portion.
- Remove the brussels sprouts at the same time you remove the salmon.