February, 2014 - The Valentine’s Day Issue
Valentine’s Day is a nice excuse to make a loved one feel special. And what better way to do that than firing up the grill and cooking a phenomenal meal that’s sure to warm any heart - and stomach?! This year I have chosen to share some more decadent recipes – including a succulent grill roasted beef tenderloin topped with herb butter, gooey, flakey Grilled Croissant S’mores, and a grilled lobster recipe from Chef Curtis Stone.
Other great Valentine’s Day recipes
Grilled Lobster from Chef Curtis Stone
We came across this gem of a recipe from Australian chef Curtis Stone on Saveur.com. Gathering family and friends, firing up the grill, and cooking a great meal, is a way of life in Australia. Stone recalls grilled seafood being a staple at such gatherings.
Stone’s Grilled Lobster recipe is very simple. First the lobster is cooked over a searing hot grill, and then topped with butter that has been mixed with herbs and garlic. The butter melts into the seafood, and pools around the shell. This is the perfect appetizer for two people to share.
A Quick Tip from Stone for Prepping Live Lobster:
First, make sure the live lobster is chilled. Then lay it on its back, put the tip of a cleaver at the top of its head, and bisect it quickly following the groove along its belly.
Grilled Lobster with Garlic Parsley Butter
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 live lobster (about 1 to 1 ½ lbs)
- ¼ cup olive oil
Combine butter, parsley, chile flakes, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside. Using a cleaver, split lobster in half lengthwise through its head and tail. Scoop out and discard the yellow-green tomalley and break off claws. Transfer lobster halves, shell side down, to a baking sheet; crack claws and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle halves and claws with oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side. Place lobster halves, flesh side down, and claws on hottest part of grill; cook until slightly charred, 2-3 minutes. Flip lobster over and using a spoon, spread lobster with the garlic-parsley butter; continue grilling until lobster meat is tender, 3-5 minutes more.
Beef Tenderloin Roast with Zinfandel Reduction and Herbed Butter
Tenderloin is the most succulent and tender cut of beef and a popular choice for the holiday table. However, the tenderloin doesn’t always shine because it can easily come out a little bit bland, especially when it is overcooked. This recipe not only offers a reliable method for cooking the roast perfectly, it elevates the flavor with an herbed butter topping and a bold zinfandel reduction.
For the Herbed Butter:
- 1/2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter at room temperature
- Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Finely-grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon course sea salt (I used a smoked Maldon for the flaky texture)
For the Zinfandel Reduction:
- 2 cups Zinfandel wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
For the Roast:
- 2 1/2 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
To make the butter, work together all the ingredients for the herbed butter. I use a pastry cutter for the task, but a food processor will also do the job well. Form a 1-inch-thick log-shape down the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap over the top and press tightly along the length of the compound butter. Roll it up to form a uniform cylinder. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
To start the Zinfandel reduction, combine the Zinfandel, beef broth and soy sauce in a wide pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer and reduce to about 1/2 cup volume. Remove from heat and reserve.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 450°F to 500°F with a hot direct grilling zone.
Brush the outside of the beef tenderloin with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the roast over the hottest part of the fire to brown the outside, turning it to the four “sides” for uniform cooking all around, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the roast to the indirect zone and close the hood. Continue indirect cooking for about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the grill. Remove the roast when the internal temperature reads 120°F for rare (because the outside is so thoroughly browned, only the very center will be red). Be careful not to overcook the roast. Wrap in foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the roast is resting, reheat the Zinfandel reduction and whisk in the brown sugar.
For serving, drizzle a little Zinfandel reduction on each plate. Slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on or beside the reduction. Top the roast with a slice of herbed butter and enjoy.
Grilled Green Beans
Grilled fresh green beans are a go-to side for almost any meal. They are also a favorite of mine because fresh green beans are available and tasty pretty much year-round.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
Prepare the grill for direct grilling 600°F.
Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Toss in the green beans.
Transfer the beans to the grate or pan over the hottest part of the fire. Use care to transfer as little of the liquid from the bowl as possible. The olive oil will flare-up and smoke very quickly. Work fast, turning the beans often until just marked by the fire. Remove them from the grill before they start to lose their color or become soft. Start removing them early, keeping in mind it can take a while to pluck all the beans off the grill using your trusty tongs.
Season with salt and enjoy.
Grilled Croissant S’mores
These s’mores for grownups are almost as easy to make as the fireside classic. We add a little cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg to the croissants to make them a little more reminiscent of that classic graham cracker flavor. Then we melt dark chocolate and marshmallows into a gooey, delicious mess.
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 6 croissants, sliced
- 18 marshmallows (and some skewers)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (about 50% cacao)
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire.
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small dish. Brush the melted butter on the cut sides of the croissants. Sprinkle with the sugar blend.
I find it best to make these in batches of 2 or 3 on the grill at a time rather than trying to juggle all 6 at once. Perfect timing is needed on the marshmallows or you may find yourself with a big mess on your hands. I recommend 3 marshmallows per skewer because that is how many go into each Croissant S’more.
Grill the buttered sides of each croissant until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove from the grill and place some chocolate squares onto the bottom slices. Grill the marshmallows until melted through, turning once, about 90 seconds total. (You can get away with laying them directly on the grill grate as long as you don’t leave them there too long.) Carefully slide three melted marshmallows on top of the chocolate on each croissant bottom. Add the tops. If the whole thing doesn’t turn out gooey enough, heat them a little more on the warming rack of your grill.
The All New Gaucho Grill
We recently previewed the Gaucho Grill at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. The response we received was phenomenal, and we’re excited to share a few preliminary details with you. The Gaucho is an Argentinian style grill that is fitted with a convenient gas starter and burns charcoal and wood. Its impressive 36 inch spoke wheel allows you to raise and lower the cooking grate with ease. Each Gaucho grill will be hand-built with pride in Kalamazoo, Michigan and available in two freestanding and one built-in model.
Stay tuned for more information.