Monday, March 21, 2011

Grilled Potatoes

You've heard me say before that a good steak doesn't need much besides salt, pepper, and flame.

Bad steaks on the other hand require every trick in the book.  Salting, marinades, crazy rubs, finishing sauces, you name it.    Life is too short to waste time on bad beef.

I guess I've been spoiled lately.  We usually only buy USDA Choice grade at our house.  But at Kingsford University, I had flat iron, fillet, strip, & brisket from Snake River Farms.  Their products actually exceed USDA Prime category, more on that to come.  Then there was the Prime strip at Shula's last week.  I have been living in Beef Nirvana.  Then at SOMEONE in our house brought home some USDA Select grade ribeyes that were on sale this week.  They had no marbling.  And they were only 1" thick.  I wept. 

One of my best tips for dealing with crappy steaks (other than don't buy it)?  Misdirection.  Draw attention away from that beef in a "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" way with great side dishes like these awesome grilled potatoes.

I adapted the basic process from this recipe at America's Test Kitchen and then changed it around to meet my tastes and ingredients on hand.

Grilled Potatoes

8-10 ea red bliss potatoes, halved
4-5 bamboo skewers
1/2 cup herb infused oil (see instructions for ideas)
kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

Infused Oil
Their recipe had a process for making your own rosemary/garlic oil but then they have you strain the solids out.  I WANT the herbs and garlic roasted onto my potatoes, don't you?  Anyway, I was going to make my own oil when I found this in my cupboard.  

It was a gift from a neighbor at Christmas and thought I'd try it out.  I mixed it up according to directions and then added 1 Tbsp finely diced roasted red pepper and 2 Tbsp of the parsley.  

If you need to make your own oil, just simmer your choice of minced garlic, shallot, and herbs in a 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium/low heat until fragrant. Then add in some color and texture with finely diced parsley and red peppers.  Have fun with the combinations, this is your chance to make it YOUR dish. 

Par-cook Potatoes
Skewer the potato halves and poke each several times with a fork or skewer.  Brush with 2 Tbsp of the oil mixture and season liberally with kosher salt.  Microwave for 4 minutes, flip, and then microwave another 3 minutes.  What?  YES, I have a microwave.  Just because I grill all the time doesn't mean I'm a cave man. 

Grill Potatoes
Fire up the charcoal grill to 350-375f.  Brush 1/4 cup of the oil on the potatoes.  Grill cut side down until grill marks appear or the sides begin to brown (4-7 minutes depending on your grill's temps and hot spots).

Flip and grill another 7-10 minutes skin side down.  They are done when a sharp knife tip easily penetrates the sides.

Top with the grated cheese as soon as they come off the grill.  The results were a hit with us.  

In fact we made them twice in two days.   Last night, I served them with the ribeye and grilled zucchini.  (See?  I'm so ashamed of that crappy piece of steak that I hid it with a short depth of field and veggies!)

Just before going to bed last night, Alexis was talking about the potatoes wistfully and mentioned how good they would have been coarsely crushed into mashed potatoes.    How do you ignore that comment?  So today we did just that and topped them with mornay sauce made from the last of the Edam cheese I smoked over the winter.  Popped it under the broiler for about 5 minutes and voila!  

That was lunch today.  Just the potatoes.  And by "just" I mean, "Holy bleep, this tastes so friggin' good!"  Excuse my harsh language.