Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grill Me Like an Interrogation

After the phenomenal success of last week's Korean and Irish fusion special I thought that it would be nice to continue with the "melting pot" of cuisines that I love creating so much.

This week I wanted to make a dish with less dramatic differences by exploring two cuisines of which I've already realized share similar ingredients while ending with completely different results: Mexican and Indian.

First up is the Mexican side.

I made a sauce by first stewing onions and garlic with cumin and coriander - all common ingredients for the base of most Indian curries - as well as oregano and California chile powder that is mild yet still spicy. I blended and strained the mixture for a silky smooth puree that I finished with fresh lime juice and a touch of molasses to balance the sauce out.

For the Indian side I sauteed local, organic shitaki and oyster mushrooms with my favorite combination of sweet curry powder and soy sauce that produces the most wonderful Umami flavor that is crucial to any great dish. I also added slowly cooked Walla Walla onions and garlic with quickly braised dinosaur kale, aka Tuscan kale, that's more tender and less bitter than its traditional counterpart, and is more readily available this time of year locally. I finished it all with a healthy pinch of freshly chopped parsley and cilantro to really reinforce the correlation between the two cuisines.

As a bridge I needed a solid foundation that could hold up to the bold flavors of each, so I went with a grilled flank steak cooked to the obligatory medium-rare and act as the "filling" of this cross-culture "sandwich".

I initially wanted this week's dinner special to feature a grilled pineapple sauce, but since there is a very intricate algorithm of recipe development that is my mind - it didn't make the cut, though reserved for the near future. The irony of that ultimate decision is that I ended up with an far more inspired idea for a drink special than I had for the original main course dish.

At first I thought that I needed to only lightly mark the pineapple on the grill, otherwise the char would outweigh the flavor of the fruit, but when I started to juice the chunks I realized that I needed to get a full caramelization of the sugars in order to bring out all of the flavors.

Once I had the right flavor of the grilled pineapple juice I knew that it was ready to make an interesting version of a margarita with freshly muddled limes and a touch of triple sec to balance the extra amount of sugar brought out by caramelizing the natural sugars from grilling. And, of course, only some aged tequila could hold up to the strong flavor from the pineapple.

With Love,


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