Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Salmon & Onion Taste Lasers with Cucumber Space Soup

I've begun to get concerned that if I eat another meat-based dinner, I might collapse in on myself like a neutron star. So, something barbecued, but healthy. Where to look for inspiration…

The other night, I had dinner at Qoo Robata. It's an overlooked Japanese spot in BK. While there, I ordered the BBQ'd salmon belly with green onions on a skewer. It destroyed it so hard, I vowed to re-create it on the Big Green Egg the next night. It's fricking hot out right now. So to complement, I cast about for a chilled soup. I've said this once, and I'll say it again - the weekend Wall Street Journal Off Duty food section is (also) destroying it. They just did a piece on various uses of the cucumber...pause..., and the soup they featured looked weird and awesome.

Cucumber and Buttermilk Space Soup With Sourdough Croutons
Here's how it goes for the soup, which needs to be started 2.5 hours before it's ready.

- 2 pounds cucumbers
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup sourdough croutons, for serving

First - Peel, halve and, if necessary, seed cucumbers. Dice enough to set aside 1 cup for garnish; roughly chop the remaining and place in a blender.

Second, add buttermilk, avocado, herbs, vinegar, sugar and salt to the blender and blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through a fine mesh sieve and thin with water, about half a cup.

Third, season with salt and pepper, cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Last, divide soup among bowls, drizzle with oil, garnish with croutons and serve.

Salmon & Green Onion Taste Lasers
Next up, the salmon skewers.

- 2 large salmon cuts, skin on
- Salt and pepper
- 2 bunches of green onions
- Teriyaki sauce
- Olive oil
- Fennel seed powder

First, cut the salmon away from the skin with a really sharp knife. Then cut into strips and slice width-wise to form salmon cubes, for lack of a better description.

Second, cut the green onions into one inch-long segments. Alternate the salmon and green onions on the skewer until you've run out of space.

Third, drizzle both sides with olive oil, paint with teriyaki sauce, then season with salt, pepper and a whisper of fennel seed powder.

Last, place the taste lasers on the grill indirect at 375 for 20 - 25 minutes.  Flip em at 10 mins, and re-paint with T-sauce.

I hate when people describe foods as summery, colorful, or for the hot weather. But if you're looking for a fresh vibe on a muggy evening, this is Meat Hunx commanding you to follow our lead.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pickle-brined Chicken Thighs à la Langdo

There have been some rumblings around these parts of a fancy new (potentially old) chicken preparation procedure - pickle-brining!

Word has it that a certain religiously-oriented 'quick-service' franchise (Chick-fil-A) puts the technique to use. That did nothing to stem the interminable flow of our enthusiasm.

Meat Hunx honorary and party-rock bassist J Langdo showed up to MHHQ on July 4th having spent the previous 24 hours brining 12 chicken thighs. Here's how it goes:

- Chicken thighs with bone in and skin on
- Large jar of Boar's Head pickles
- Spicy rub (see ingredients here)
- Frank's Hot Sauce
- Half cup apple cider vinegar

Rub the chicken with salt everywhere. Dump all the brine with brown sugar and pepper from your pickle jar into a bag containing the chicken
thighs. Store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning give em another rub with salt and pepper.

This next step is as per the recommendation of a certain somebody at local hero bar/resto joint The Commodore- Bathe them in Frank's Hot Sauce and a half-cup of apple cider vinegar. Let them sit for 10 - 30 minutes.

Meanwhile fire up the bbq to high direct. Sear each side of the thighs for one minute to lock in all the juices. Then, smoke indirect at 270 for 2 hours.

There are moments in time on this earth, when we stumble upon distinctly asymmetrical combinations so non-intuitive, yet so impactful, that they alter the face of our society forever. This was not one of those moments. But putting down a barbecued pickle-brined chicken thigh pushes reset on what can be done with poultry. And while it won't prevent war, or famine, or white collar crime… yet, it's in our system now, and if everything gets a little better Meat Hunx is fully willing to take responsibility.