Friday, June 22, 2007

BBQ Italian Style

Some of my fondest memories are from Sundays at our grandparent's home and the family dinners with 4 generations attending. Rib Eyes were called Market Steaks back then. The way Papa would grill them with a garlic and herb dressing was unforgettable, except that I have forgotten the specifics; but I came close.


1/2C extra virgin olive oil
1/4C red wine vinegar
3 minced cloves garlic
1T minced sage leaves
1T minced rosemary
2T minced flat leaf parsley
salt & pepper

Alternate Ingredients:
lemon juice may replace half of the vinegar
mint can be introduced

Directions for the Marinade:

Put the oil and vinegar in a measuring cup (saves on cleanup) and add the salt & pepper, then the herbs, stir and set aside.

The next time I try this I will not put all the herbs in the marinade. As I recall, my grandmother mixed the oil & vinegar, then added the minced garlic and parsley. I also recall a large salt shaker near the BBQ pit, so the meat was most likely salted while being cooked or plated, thus making it unnecessary to add salt & pepper to the marinade.

My grandfather would make a "mop" of mixed herbs tied to a small bamboo stake, for the purpose of applying the marinade to the meat. I suspect he bruised the herbs so they would release their flavor into the marinade. I know he used sage, rosemary and parsley, but may also have used oregano and mint which he also grew in his garden.

Directions for Cooking:

This was done on a traditional Weber grill and the meat was ready for cooking when the charcoal was covered with ash and still glowing. The charcoals should be placed to one side of the grill. Place the meat and any side dishes you prepare on the grill. Keep them to the side, so you can controll the amount of heat under them by moving the rack over the charcoal or away from it.

As I do with most meats and poultry, turn the meat over when the juices come to the top. Wait again for the juices to rise and you'll have a medium rare steak. This kind of marinade should only be used after the meat has browned. Stand back as you use it because it will cause the charcoal to flame and smolder.

I had cleaned fresh corn and rewrapped it in some of the outer husks that were still attached to the stalk, then wrapped with tin foil so the husks would steam the corn. It worked well, although I missed a great opportunity when I failed to add butter or compound butter before rewrapping the corn. The second side dish was roasted carrots, fennel, onions and cauliflower.

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