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Aug 17, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Berkley’

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

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I recently discovered that seared eggplant serves as a phenomenal blank canvas for a grilled salad – a dish I usually dismiss as a trendy waste of produce. But this warm, delightful Mediterranean-style salad loaded with soft feta and drizzled with a tangy lemon-garlic yogurt dressing is more than enough to make me a believer (at least for one night).

Perfect for summer grilling, this warm-weather friendly salad pairs especially well with grilled Italian sausages or a big slab of barbecue pork and a bottle of richest, full-bodied red wine you can get your paws on.

Like many salads, the key to success in this dish is timing. Soaking the eggplant slices too long or grilling them even a few minutes more than the recommended time will result in an overcooked pile of goo. Have all the ingredients prepped before lighting the grill and plan plating, dressing and serving it immediately while the eggplant is still warm and relatively firm.

 

Grilled Eggplant Salad
3 to 4 servings

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplant
40 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for greasing
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 oz. crumbled feta

• In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Fill a large bowl with lightly salted water. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ¾-inch slices and submerge them in the water. Brine 20 to 30 minutes.
• Thread the tomatoes on metal or wood skewers.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Lightly spray or brush olive oil on the grill grate. Grill the eggplant slices and tomato skewers over direct heat 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
• Divide the eggplant slices among the serving plates. Top each with grilled tomatoes, then drizzle with the yogurt dressing and garnish with the basil and feta. Serve immediately.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Grilled: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

Grilled: Smashed Chicken

Grilled: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

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Jalapenos don’t just deserve respect – they demand it. I learned this the hard way after biting into one of these grilled appetizers that still had a few seeds hidden inside. But when prepped correctly, jalapenos go from dangerous to delicious in a matter of minutes.

The satisfying smell of bacon as it pops and sizzles over an open flame is reason enough to get on board with these taste bud-blasting starters, which are at once creamy, savory, crisp, cheesy, zesty and just the right amount of hot. Peppers are truly at home on the grill, and this recipe is a great way to showcase them – and wrapping them in bacon certainly doesn’t hurt.

Wear some gloves while prepping the peppers and keep several cold beers on hand for consumption while grilling. You’ll thank me.

 

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos
4 to 6 servings

10 medium jalapenos*
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
3 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1½ lb. bacon (about 20 pieces) bacon

Special Equipment
Slotted grill pan
Toothpicks soaked in water 30 minutes

• Prepare a charcoal or gas hill for direct, medium-high heat.
• Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, seeds and white membrane and discard.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, garlic and cilantro. Fill the cavity of each pepper half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture.
• Starting at the top of each pepper half, tightly wrap each with 1 slice bacon, covering as much of the pepper and cheese as you can. Secure the end with toothpicks.
• Place the peppers cheese side up on a slotted grill pan. Place the pan over direct heat and grill 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the peppers every 5 minutes, until bacon is crispy. Remove the toothpicks and serve immediately.

* When working with hot peppers, wear disposable latex gloves to avoid irritating your skin.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and former Nightlife critic. 

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Grilled: Smashed Chicken

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Grilled: Smashed Chicken

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

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A whole bird roasted over an open flame is one of life’s simplest pleasures. This brick-smashed chicken recipe keeps it that way – simple, straightforward and satisfying. Rather than crushing the bird, the heated bricks lock in the flavor and help cook both sides more evenly. The key to this method is indirect grilling following by a swift, controlled sear to crisp the skin over direct medium-low heat. The result: a savory, piping hot chicken with skin so crunchy, it begs to be torn off and enjoyed as an appetizer.

 

Smashed Chicken
3 to 4 servings

1 3½- to 4-lb. whole chicken, giblets removed
3 Tbsp. room-temperature butter, divided
1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for greasing
Half a lemon
1 head garlic, halved crosswise

Special equipment: 2 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. Place the bricks next to the charcoal chimney to preheat.
• Spatchcock the chicken by using sharp kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. Fold the chicken open like a book, cracking the breastbone so the chicken lays flat on the work surface (you can ask your butcher to do this).
• Rub the chicken all over with 1½ tablespoons butter, then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Place chicken skin side-down over indirect heat. Use a heatproof glove or heavy-duty tongs to place 1 brick atop each half. Cover and grill 25 minutes.
• Set the bricks to the side, flip the chicken and place the bricks back atop the bird. Cover and cook 25 minutes.
• Place the lemon half and garlic halves over indirect heat.
• Brush the side of the grill over direct heat with vegetable oil. Remove the bricks and place the chicken skin side-down, cover and sear 10 minutes.
• Remove the chicken, lemon and garlic from heat. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, remove the grilled garlic cloves from their skins. Melt the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter in a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in the juice from the grilled lemon and 4 grilled garlic cloves.
• Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve with the remaining garlic cloves.

 

Matt Berkley is a contributing writer for Sauce Magazine. 

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Grilled: Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers

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Grilled: Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

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Thick, meaty swordfish steaks are ideal for grilling year-round. While more delicate fish needs to be coddled and carefully cooked in special grill pans, a rough and ready piece of swordfish can be tossed directly on a red-hot grill with no fear of flaking or falling through the grate. Fresh swordfish cuts are the key to these skewers, which feature bold sturdy fish marinated in a zesty, island-inspired cilantro-lime mix. Thread hunks of fish onto skewers with fresh veggies, and then quickly sear over a roaring hot grill. Consume an umbrella drink while grilling for proper effect.

 

Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers
4 to 6 servings

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 ½-pound swordfish steaks, cut into large pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into large pieces
½ large red onion, cut into large pieces
12 cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

• In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the swordfish pieces, stir to coat and refrigerate 30 minutes.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Thread skewers with the fish, bell peppers, zucchini, red onion and tomatoes, alternating between the fish and vegetables as desired. There should be 4 pieces of fish per skewer.
• Lightly oil the grill surface. Place 4 skewers over direct heat and sear 6 minutes. Flip, then grill another 6 minutes, until the fish is firm. Repeat with the remaining skewers. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

 

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Grilled: Barbecue Braised Beef Pot Roast

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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There’s nothing more satisfying on a bone-chilling night than a heaping plate of warm comfort food like braised pot roast. Seared over a mighty flame, then braised in savory broth, this recipe transforms an inexpensive cut of beef into a king’s feast. The key to this dish is temperature control: Aim for a light simmer rather than a rolling boil, and maintain the indirect heat by adding a handful of fresh coals every half-hour, along with some extra stock when the liquid level gets too low.

 

Barbecue Braised Beef Pot Roast
6 to 8 servings

3 lbs. boneless round top roast, divided into 3 equal pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups beef stock, divided
5 cloves garlic, chopped
½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. flour
Chopped parsley for garnish
Sour cream for serving

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. When the coals are calm and light gray, about 20 minutes, sear the beef on all sides, turning occasionally to prevent charring, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill.
• Place a large cast-iron Dutch oven directly on top of coals. Add the vegetable oil and saute the onion, celery and bacon until the vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the beef, 1 cup stock, the garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Cover the Dutch oven and move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook 30 minutes, undisturbed.
• Check the level of the broth, adding more as needed to maintain 1 inch of liquid in the Dutch oven. Add 5 to 6 pieces of fresh charcoal to maintain the heat level. Cover the grill and cook 2 more hours, checking the broth level and adding 5 to 6 of pieces fresh charcoal every 30 minutes.
• Remove the Dutch oven from the grill, remove the meat and let rest. Add the flour to the braising liquid and whisk to thicken. Let cool slightly.
• To serve, slice the roast and garnish with sauce, parsley and sour cream.

 

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Grilled: Curried Spare Ribs

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Grilled: Korean Pork Steaks

 

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Grilled: Curried Barbecue Spare Ribs

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

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These are easily the best ribs I have ever made. Individual ribs are seared and cooked in a bath of colorful Asian barbecue sauce over indirect heat. As someone who has royally screwed up countless slabs of ribs using the old dry-rubbed, slow-smoked method, I loved that this method was entirely no-fuss – zero marinade time, zero brining, zero smoking and zero headaches. The unlikely secret to this dish is the curry powder, which creates a rich, savory sweet sauce that drenches each rib.

 

Curried Barbece Spare Ribs
6 servings

½ cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, diced
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
½ tsp. sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar
4 lbs. pork spare ribs (or baby back), cut into single ribs
Diced green onions, for garnish

• In a large bowl, make a barbecue sauce by whisking together the ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, curry powder, rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, Sriracha, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. Place a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan on the cool side of the grill.
• Sear the ribs over direct heat, flipping occasionally to avoid flare-ups, 12 to 15 minutes. Place the ribs in the cast-iron skillet and brush each with a layer of barbecue sauce. Cover the grill and cook over indirect heat 45 minutes.
• Brush the ribs with another layer of barbecue sauce. Add about 15 pieces of charcoal to the fire. Cover the grill and cook over indirect heat another 45 minutes.
• Remove the skillet from grill. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce. Cover the skillet with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Serve garnished with the green onions.

 

More Grilling Recipes 

Smoked Trout Chowder

Stuffed Greek Burgers

Korean Pork Steaks

Grilled Halloumi

 

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and the Nightlife critic. 

Grilled: Smoked Trout Chowder

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

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Smoked trout is a rich, delectable and incredibly versatile ingredient. Infused with rustic wood smoke, these fillets are perfect in dips or salads, or served as a cold appetizer or hot entree. They also make for flavor-packed centerpiece in this simple chowder recipe. Rich and creamy, soul-warming chowder is perfect for a fall afternoon.

Save yourself the headache of deboning whole trout and opt for boneless rainbow fillets. I use apple wood chips here, which produce light and sweet smoke. They are a great option for preparing trout on a smoker or a conventional charcoal grill.

 

Smoked Trout Chowder
4 to 6 servings

3 boneless rainbow trout fillets (about 1¼ lbs. total)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups water
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup minced chives, for garnish

Special equipment: 3 cups apple wood chips

• Prepare a smoker or charcoal grill for low, indirect heat.
• When the fire is ready, add 2 cups apple wood chips atop the coals. Place the trout on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over indirect heat. Cover and smoke 20 minutes.
• Add another 1 cup apple wood chips atop the coals, cover and smoke another 20 minutes. Remove the trout and let rest 10 minutes.
• Separate the skin from the trout and place the meat in a small bowl. Discard the skin. Cut the smoked trout into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
• In Dutch oven or large stockpot, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until browned and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken broth, water, potatoes, celery and garlic and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
• Add the milk, flour, Worcestershire and salt and bring the chowder to a boil over high heat. Stir in the smoked trout and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
• Before serving, warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the chowder simmers. Serve in large bowls and garnish with chives.

 

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and the Nightlife critic. 

Grilled: Stuffed Greek Burgers

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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Contributor (and Nightlife critic) Matt Berkley knows that grilling season is a year-round event in St. Louis. In his new column, he’s breaking away from the backyard basics and sharing fresh recipes perfect for open fire cooking.

 

Cheeseburgers are nothing to scoff at. A properly grilled burger is a sublime feast that begs for deep glass of red wine. Such is the case with this burger recipe, which leans on simple, fresh ingredients to do the heavy lifting.

Essentially a gyro in burger form, savory grilled lamb is accentuated by a soft inner layer of feta and a bright juicy fresh tomato-cucumber dressing in this Mediterranean spin on a traditional burger. If you’re leery of using all lamb, which is quite rich and very distinct, feel free to swap half the meat in for more familiar beef. However, don’t dare omit the tomato-cucumber dressing or the yogurt sauce. These burgers are not friendly to ketchup and mustard. They are best enjoyed on top of hot pita bread or served with a heaping side of couscous. And a big glass of red wine certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

 

Stuffed Greek Burgers
8 servings

2 lbs. ground lamb
½ cup minced red onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. traditional feta cheese (crumbled or whole)
Olive oil, for greasing
Tomato-Cucumber Dressing (recipe follows)
Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce (recipe follows)

• Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high, direct heat.
• In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the lamb, onion, salt and pepper. Divide into 16 thin patties. Create a small well in the center of 8 patties and place a small amount of feta in each well. Cover the cheese with the remaining 8 patties and press around the edges to seal.
• Brush grates with olive oil and grill the burgers 5 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve topped with the Tomato-Cucumber Dressing and Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce.

 

Tomato Cucumber Dressing

2 to 3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

• In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients.

 

Garlic-Lemon Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves

• In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

 

Grilled: Korean Pork Steaks

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

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Contributor (and Nightlife critic) Matt Berkley knows that grilling season is a year-round event in St. Louis. In his new column, he’s breaking away from the backyard basics and sharing fresh recipes perfect for open fire cooking.

Fiery hot and savory sweet, Korean barbecue has hit its popularity apex, and pork steak, the versatile workhorse of St. Louis summertime, is particularly well-suited to this flavor profile. Rich notes of garlic, ginger and sweet pear vie for position in a multilayered, comforting dish, which transforms inexpensive meat into a dinner party-worthy main course.

Substituting another firm pear for its Asian cousin is entirely acceptable, but resist the urge to use powdered garlic or ginger. The pork needs to swim in a thick marinade laden with fresh aromatics, fruit and vegetables. The extra effort of peeling, grating and chopping pays off big.

Any amateur can pull this one off. Grab a beer and fire up the grill. A few pork steaks, a handful of fresh ingredients and a roaring flame is all that stands between you and red hot Korean barbecue bliss.

 

Korean Pork Steaks
5 servings

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
½ Asian pear, peeled and grated
¼ large white onion, diced
3 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. mirin rice wine vinegar, divided
2½ Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided
2½ Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
3 Tbsp. Sriracha or gochujang, divided
5 ¾- to 1-inch thick pork steaks (bone-in or boneless)
2 Tbsp. ketchup
Cooked white rice, for serving

• In a large bowl, make a marinade by combining ½ cup soy sauce, the pear, white onion, green onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 2 tablespoons Sriracha.
• Place the pork steaks in a large shallow baking dish and add the marinade, turning the meat to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat*, or preheat a gas grill for medium-high heat.
• In a shallow baking dish, prepare the finishing sauce by combining the ketchup, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, the remaining 1 tablespoon Sriracha, the remaining ½ tablespoon ginger and the remaining ½ tablespoon sesame oil. Set aside.
• Remove the pork steaks and gently shake to remove excess marinade. Grill steaks over direct heat 15 minutes, flipping every 2 to 3 minutes to avoid over-charring.
• Move the pork steaks to indirect heat (upper tier on a gas grill), cover and cook another 25 minutes, until the meat is no longer red in the center.
• Place the steaks in the finishing sauce and turn to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
• Remove and serve pork steaks atop white rice and garnished with green onions.

*Fill a large chimney starter halfway with coals. Let the coals burn about 20 minutes, until calm and light gray. Place them on one side of the grill, creating a two-zone fire for direct and indirect cooking.

Readers’ Choice 2016: St. Louis’ Best Boulevard

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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With seven Readers’ Choice winners on one street, the Delmar Loop is the tastiest stroll in St. Louis.

Favorite food truck: Seoul Taco
Stuffed to the breaking point with kimchi fried rice, lettuce, cheese, carrots, green onions, sour cream and Seoul sauce, the spicy pork burrito is reason enough for a pilgrimage to the brick and mortar of this Korean barbecue mecca. Throw in a couple pan-fried pot stickers for good measure.

Favorite restaurant to take visitors: Blueberry Hill
This Loop staple serves a ridiculously good, flawlessly charred 7-ounce, 100-percent ground chuck burger. It’s worth the long wait. Stave off hunger pangs with a basket of fried cheddar cheese balls alongside salsa for proper dunking. Order your out-of-towners the fluffy toasted ravioli – some of the best in the city.

Favorite Middle Eastern: Ranoush
Standouts at this traditional Middle Eastern kitchen include the fried kibbe balls and cheese-stuffed grilled pita kalaj starters, along with the succulent grilled beef shawarma wrapped in a warm pita with creamy garlic sauce.

Favorite late-night eats (tie): Peacock Diner
Order the Loop Fling from the breakfast-all-day menu – a sinfully good slinger covered with chorizo gravy. With booze-fueled, Serendipity ice cream-laced milkshakes available well past midnight, it’s little surprise that the Peacock Diner is an after-hours favorite.

Favorite pizza: Pi Pizzeria
Take on Chicago deep-dish pizza at its cornmeal-crusted best in the South Side Classico, a supreme feast of gooey mozzarella, thick mushrooms, savory hunks of Berkshire sausage and crisp green peppers and onion.

Favorite Thai: Fork & Stix
Delve into an overwhelming bowl of khao soi, a rich and satisfying curry noodle soup swimming with soft wonton noodles, crispy yellow noodles and chunks of beef, chicken or tofu. And be sure to make use of the nam prik num, a fiery Thai hot sauce.

Favorite Mexican and favorite late-night eats (tie): Mission Taco Joint
Mission gives Mexico’s (and Baja California’s) darling finger food serious thought. Get the killer Mango-Hop-Anero Shrimp Taco, with 4 Hands Incarnation IPA-battered shrimp and fresh mango in hand-pressed corn tortillas. It begs for a cold sip of cerveza.

 

-illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

 

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