Saturday, July 25, 2009

Steven Raichlen's Garlic Grilled Tomatoes and Grilled Pepper Salad

Today I am going to blog about TWO of Steven Reichlen's recipes, that I combined into an impromptu "grilled Antipasto" that I served my guests while I was grilling the vegetable and main course. Just a reminder, I am going to be cooking each and every recipe in Steven Raichlen's HOW TO GRILL book. It is a means to an end of my goal of getting better, It is forcing me to challenge myself with new and different items to cook, and it is my personal tribute (rip-off) of the "Julie & Julia Project". These two recipes are similar. They combined well with a fresh Mozzarella slice and slices of pepperoni and Genoa sausage I had. The combination was a nice plate to serve while I was cooking the main course... so, on to the recipes.

Garlic Grilled Tomatoes
The recipe is on page 395
basic introductory instructions with several photos starting on page 393.


Grilled Pepper Salad
The recipe is on page 385
basic introductory instructions with several photos starting on page 383.

I do not want to step on any one's toes, and do not want to publish someones recipe without permission. If you are interested, contact your local library and they will have this book, or better yet, add it to your library and buy the book if you want the details.

I do want to post some details about the recipe that I either liked, chose to do differently from Steven's and what I learned.

First, I am sorry I do not have a photo of the Pepper ingredients. I took one, but it did not turn out. To continue... The Pepper salad was the most time consuming, as the ingredient list is fairly long, involves toasted pine nuts and a balsamic dressing with lemon, fresh parsley and garlic. The tomato dressing was simpler.

I followed both recipes exactly. Each worked as advertised in their own way. Each flavored their respective main course well. But, it was a bit redundant to make separate glazes for both the peppers and the tomatoes for my plan to combine the products into one serving. In the future, I will prepare the dressing for the Pepper Salad only. It was by far the best, and probably the best balsamic dressing I have ever had. The pine nuts went well on both the peppers and the tomatoes. It just made a terrific smelling (the lemon and garlic combined with the vinegar very nicely), look (the dark glaze of the balsamic cooked nicely into both the peppers and the tomatoes) and the added texture of the pine nuts helped also.

I can not recommend the Pepper Salad more. The tomatoes were... OK. Actually, my guests all raved about them. Personally, I was wishing I had just served the tomatoes raw with the dressing heated and added to the tops. I thought a lot of the flavor of the tomatoes was lost in the cooking.

Here's a shot of the cooking process right before I pulled them off the grill. I also made some bacon wrapped asparagus bundles for the meal which I will talk about someday (vegetables, wrapped in fat, sprinkled with sugar... It comes from a misspent youth).

Like I said, I combined the tomatoes and peppers with a slice of mozzarella, and also had a plate of cold cuts. The spirit of presenting an Antipasto dish is a traditional Italian signal that the meal has started. It gives your guests something to enjoy while the grill master is cooking the main course.

So, my bottom line question for these two recipes... Would I make it again? If yes, would I imagine changes to make it better?

For the tomatoes, I would have to say the cooking process actually hurt the tomatoes. I got no complaints from my guests, but personally, I wish I had served them raw.

But the pepper salad was perfect. I would make them again and again. I will use the balsamic glaze often. These I will add to my repertoire happily.

On a scale of 1 to 5, the Pepper salad gets a 5 and the Grilled Tomatoes gets only a 2.

So far, Stephen has given me 2 highly rated recipes and only 1 that I would not make again. So far, so good.

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