Warm weather and breaking out the outdoor grill go hand-in-hand and the authors of “Thrill of the Grill” and “Licensed to Grill” are at it again. In their new book, “Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Grilling,” Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby tackle the finer points of outdoor cooking. Check out the recipes below.
GRILLED SWORDFISH AND CLAMS WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCEChris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
Build a multi-level fire in your grill: Leaving one-quarter of the bottom free of coals, bank the coals in the remaining three-quarters of the grill so that they are three times as high on one side as on the other. When all the coals are ignited and the temperature has cooled down to medium-hot (you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grid, over the area where the coals are deepest, for 3 to 4 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
In a shallow baking pan or disposable foil pan large enough to hold the clams in a single layer and sturdy enough to withstand the heat of a low fire, combine the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and black beans and stir to mix. Place the pan over the side of the grill that has no fire.
Sprinkle the swordfish generously with salt and pepper, then put both the swordfish and clams on the hotter side of the grill. As the clams open, transfer them to the pan with sesame-black bean mixture; discard any that do not open. Grill the swordfish until it is just opaque all the way through, about 4 to 6 minutes per side. To check for doneness, poke the fish with your finger to check its firmness level; if you’re unsure, nick, peak and cheat: Cut into one of the fillets at its thickest point and peek to be sure it is opaque all the way through. When the fish is done, transfer it to a large, rimmed platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
When the clams have all been transferred to the pan, add the sherry, wine, soy, Tabasco, and scallions, stir a few times to combine, and place the pan over the hotter side of the grill for a moment to heat the sauce.
COOK TO COOK: Fermented black beans, which give this sauce its distinctive flavor, are black soy beans that have been carefully fermented, then dried and often salted. Their deep, winey flavor is a classic Chinese accompaniment to seafood. If you can’t find the beans themselves, the jarred paste made from is a fine substitute.
Serve this dish with steamed rice and grilled asparagus or Aromatic Slaw with Southeast Asian Flavors.
912356660481340823980460499sesame oil3tablespoon3 tablespoons sesame oilginger3tablespoon3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh gingergarlic2tablespoon2 tablespoons minced garlicblack beans2tablespoon2 tablespoons minced fermented black beans (or substitute black bean paste)swordfish44 swordfish fillets, 1 inch thick, 8 to 10 ounces eachKosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to tasteclams1.5pound2 dozen (about 1 1/2 pounds) clamsdry sherry2tablespoon2 tablespoons dry sherrywhite wine0.33cup1/3 cup white winesoy sauce3tablespoon3 tablespoons soy saucetabasco sauce5dash5 dashes of Tabasco sauce, or to tastescallions0.5cup1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
We remember the days, not all that long ago, when tuna was rarely served in restaurants and most people thought of it as a canned pantry item. Then, when tuna made its way onto restaurant menus, it was usually cut quite thin and cooked all the way through. Funny how tastes change — nowadays grilled double-thick tuna is everywhere. That’s not a bad thing; it simply means that people have finally caught on to how tasty fresh tuna is. To complement it, we serve it with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy, the classic accompaniments to sushi.
Here’s a little secret: A bone-in chicken breast is just about the hardest thing to grill properly. In fact, grilling is not the ideal technique for bone-in chicken. Like sautéing, it is a high-heat cooking method best suited to foods that can be cooked through quickly without burning on the outside. With that bone in the center, a breast in no way qualifies. But for some reason everybody thinks it’s perfect for the grill and cooks it directly over the coals for the whole time, just like a burger — which results in its being one of the most consistently screwed-up grill dishes around.
But here’s another secret: A bone-in chicken breast properly cooked over live fire is a real treat, considerably more flavorful than its boneless counterpart. So this is the deal: You build a multi-level fire and sear the chicken over the hottest part (which is at medium heat), then move it to a cooler part, cover it with a disposable foil pan, and let it finish cooking all the way through. (If you have got time and want to ensure that the chicken stays moist, let it sit in brine for a couple of hours before it goes over the flames.) To enhance the flavor, we dip the smoky, juicy chicken in a garlicky, lemony vinaigrette, then garnish it with one of our bedrock favorites, grilled figs.
Easy to make, this dessert brings back memories for adults and is great for kids, too. A little bit of smokiness that the marshmallows have on them when they come out of the coals adds a nice touch.
Recipes excerpted from “Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking” by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Copyright by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. Published by W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved.