Saturday, 17 May 2008

Happiness is grilled mushrooms

As i said in my previous post, we were blessed with a gorgeous week which meant I was grilling on the barbecue almost every night. I had begun the week with burgers and wings and by the end of the week was wanting a break from meat. Something magical happens when you first marinate these field mushrooms and then grill them. All the earthiness from the mushrooms combines with the smoke and heat of the grill. I had some rocket and made rocket pesto, added a dollop of goats cheese and served the shrooms with leftover wings, grilled bread and a nice herb salad. Yummm!

Grilled mushrooms with rocket pesto
serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main

4 large flat field mushrooms or portabella mushrooms
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
goats cheese

For the pesto:
150g rocket
2 cloves garlic, crushed
handful pine nuts
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil

To serve:
sliced ciabatta bread or baguette, lightly toasted or grilled
herb salad

  1. First marinate the mushrooms. Combine a good glug of olive oil, another good glug of balsamic vinegar, the crushed garlic, and salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Put the mushrooms in the marinade and turn to make sure they're well coated. Leave for 30 minutes. Prepare the barbecue or heat a grill pan.

  2. Make the rocket pesto. In a food processor combine the rocket, pine nuts, grated cheese, and crushed garlic. With the machine turned on, slowly drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Grill the mushrooms gill side down first for 2-3 minutes depending on how large they are. Turn the mushroom over and grill the other side. Crumble goats cheese on top during the last minute so that it starts to melt. Also grill the bread lightly on both side.

  4. Lightly dress the salad leaves with vinaigrette. Arrange the salad leaves on a plate and place the mushrooms on top of the salad. Add a generous dollop of rocket pesto to each mushroom and serve.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Summer = Salad Nicoise

We were way lucky in Glasgow last week. Full-on sun, temps in the low 20s, and blue blue sky. I couldn't stay away from the barbecue all week. Saturday rolled around and well, it got grey. But nevermind, I still have summer and sun on my mind. What better way to herald it than my take on salad nicoise with grilled tuna steaks. All that was missing this go round were some anchovies (i just plain forgot!) and super chilled rose. But really, it just wasn't warm enough for the rose yet. Maybe next week???

Salad Nicoise (4 servings)
For the tuna:
2 tuna steaks
lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper
chopped parsley

For the salad:
3 eggs
large handful of fresh green beans
large handful of cherry tomatoes
large handful of black olives
500g salad potatoes

For the vinaigrette: (note this makes enough enough for a few weeks)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
dried oregano/basil/thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

  1. Juice the lemon and combine the lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil. Season the tuna steaks well and put in the oil to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. Make sure both sides of the steak come in contact with the marinade.

  2. Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar and herbs. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Note: i use a large squeezy bottle for this and just combine all the ingredients in it and shake well.

  3. Put the potatoes in a pot and just cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until just tender (about 10-12 minutes). Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut in half and put in a large bowl. Toss with a generous drizzle of the vinaigrette while still warm.

  4. Meanwhile hard boil the eggs. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the eggs to it. Boil for 10 minutes. Top and tail the green beans and add to the boiling water for the last 4 minutes. Remove the beans and blanch under cold water. Add to the bowl of potatoes. Shell the eggs and cut into quarters. Set aside.

  5. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the bowl of potatoes along with the olives. Drizzle on some more vinaigrette and toss everything together until well combined. Transfer to a serving platter.

  6. Heat a grill pan until very hot and sear the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes max on each side. You want it to still be pink in the middle. Lay the steaks on top of the salad, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and arrange the hard boiled egg quarters around the dish.