Sunday, July 29, 2012

Open-Faced Pitas with Rotisserie Lamb with Pomegranate and Mint, Grilled Tomatoes, and Greek Slaw


Rotisserie Lamb with Pomegranate and Mint:

  • One boneless half leg of lamb (about 4 pounds), butterflied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Greek Slaw:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped to a paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 6 ounces crumbled Greek feta
  • Cherry tomatoes, on soaked skewers, for serving
  • Canola oil, for brushing
  • 8 warmed pita breads, with or without pockets, for serving
  • 2 lemons, for serving


For the rotisserie lamb with pomegranate and mint: Sprinkle both sides of the lamb with salt and pepper. Roll the lamb and tie with twine. Cut small slits over the entire lamb, using a paring knife. Fill each slit with a slice of the garlic. Put the lamb into a large plastic resealable bag.
Whisk the pomegranate juice, wine, olive oil, oregano, rosemary, onions, bay leaves and lemon juice in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the lamb, in the bag. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Place the bag into a large bowl. Refrigerate the lamb for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours, turning the bag a few times during that time.
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to medium-hot heat.
Whisk the pomegranate molasses, mint, mustard and lemon juice in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Skewer the lamb onto the rotisserie and grill until a meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F for medium doneness, 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours. Begin brushing the lamb with the pomegranate molasses mixture after about 45 minutes of grilling.
Meanwhile for the Greek slaw: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, dill, honey and garlic in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the red and green cabbage, carrot and feta. Toss to combine. Cover the slaw and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil. Wait 15 minutes before slicing.
While the lamb is resting, brush the tomatoes with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatoes until they are charred on both sides and just soft, about 4 minutes.
Slice the lamb. Lay the warm pita breads on a large platter. Top with sliced lamb, grilled tomatoes and the Greek slaw. Squeeze the lemons over the top and serve.

Grilled Sardines with Garlic Walnut Sauce


Grilled Sardines:

  • 2 pounds sardines (about 15), heads removed and gutted
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic-Walnut Sauce:

  • 1 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
  • Grated lemon zest, for garnish


For the grilled sardines: Add the sardines, salt and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, for the garlic-walnut sauce: Add the walnuts, parsley, dill and garlic in a food processor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Blend until finely ground. With the food processor running, add the olive oil and blend until smooth. The mixture should resemble pesto.
Heat the grill (preferably charcoal) to high for direct grilling. Remove the sardines from the bowl and pat dry. Brush the sardines with canola oil and sprinkle with pepper. Grill the sardines until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip the sardines over and continue grilling for 1 minute. Transfer the sardines to a platter and drizzle with the garlic-walnut sauce and garnish with the parsley and lemon zest.

Slow Smoked Pork Shoulder with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Queso Fresco


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 or 2 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 5 pounds)
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Napa Cabbage Slaw, recipe follows
  • Hot sauce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco


Special equipment: 2 cups wood chips (hickory or apple), soaked in water 30 minutes
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme, garlic, onions, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, cumin, coriander, orange juice, lime juice, 1/2 water and chipotle, and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Put the pork in a large pan and pour over the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat a charcoal grill for indirect heat and place the soaked wood chips on top of the coals.
Place the pork on the grill, cover and let smoke until the temperature inside the grill is 220 degrees F. Add chips as necessary to continue smoking until the internal temperature of the pork reaches140 degrees F. Then just let the pork finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches about 190 degrees F. This can take about 5 hours. Let the pork rest 30 minutes.
Shred the pork and serve in the warm tortillas topped with some Napa Cabbage Slaw, hot sauce, fresh cilantro leaves and queso fresco.

Napa Slaw:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 1 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, oil and celery seeds until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the green onions and serrano chiles. Place the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Add the dressing and the queso fresco, and toss to combine.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta with Ricotta Salata


  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium globe eggplants, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Sicilian green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch red chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 8 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled


Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.
Brush the tomatoes and eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes each side. Grill the tomatoes until charred all over, about 8 minutes. Remove the eggplant and tomatoes from the heat and cut into dice.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large saute pan. Add the celery and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the olives, vinegar, raisins, capers, sugar, chile flakes, a big splash olive oil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil and parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer the caponata to a bowl and keep at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. The caponata can be made 1 day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring the caponata to room temperature before serving.
Meanwhile, grill the bread on both sides until slightly charred, about 30 seconds each side. Remove the bread from the grill and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each slice of bread with some of the caponata and sprinkle with the ricotta salata. Drizzle the top of each slice of bread with more olive oil and scatter basil on top.

Grilled Rack of Pork with Sherry Vinegar BBQ Sauce


  • 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Spanish onion, peeled and quartered
  • One 4-pound center cut rack of pork, chine and feather bones removed
  • 4 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground
  • 4 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
  • 4 teaspoons black mustard seeds, ground
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • Canola oil
  • Sherry Vinegar BBQ Sauce, recipe follows


Combine 10 cups water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, thyme and onions in a large glass bowl or a plastic container. Add the pork, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Thirty minutes before grilling, remove the pork from the brine, rinse with cold water, pat dry and let sit out at room temperature.
Prepare a charcoal grill for direct and indirect cooking.
Combine the paprika, cumin, mustard, fennel, the remaining 4 teaspoons salt and ground pepper in a bowl. Rub the pork with the spices and drizzle with canola oil. Sear the pork over direct heat on both sides until lightly golden brown and a crust has formed, about 5 minutes per side. Move the pork over indirect heat (inside of grill should be at about 375 degrees F) and cook, brushing with the Sherry Vinegar BBQ Sauce every 5 minutes or so, until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 145 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Brush with the sauce every 10 minutes or so after the first 45 minutes.
Remove from the grill, loosely tent with foil and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. You can either slice into individual chops, or slice the loin off the bones and thinly slice.

Sherry Vinegar BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup aged sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Honey
Combine the ketchup, vinegar, chicken stock, brown sugar, mustard, paprika and thyme in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half. Season with salt, pepper and honey. Let cool to room temperature.