I made Texas-style chili (no tomatoes, no beans) for Christian and paired it with Cava De Pró. Who could have known that the balance could be so magical? The crisp, bubbly cava tempered the bold, spicy chili fabulously. Savor the flavor, y’all. (recipe credit: Homesick Texan blog)
It’s never too hot to grill (even in Texas). My husband and I recently tried our hand at smoking wild salmon, and I think it turned out pretty darn good…
Step 1 – If you’re going to be smoking fish at home, always start with a very fresh fillet. I used to work at a fish market, so I know how to finagle a fishmonger into giving me the freshest fillet in the market. Here’s how it works:
Monger: How may I help you today miss?
Savvy Customer: When did the sockeye arrive at the market?
SC: Do you have any whole fish? (Some whole fish have a longer shelf life than fillets.)
M: No, I’m sorry we’re sold out.
SC: No problem. These fillets here, do you process them in-house?
M: No, they arrive already filleted.
SC: I like the look of these in the case, but do you have any in the back that might be fresher?
M: Yes, as a matter of fact we do have some cases that arrived this morning. Let me just go to the back and fetch one for you.
SC: (smiling politely) Why thank you!
M: Here you go. You can see the harvest date right here (points to the unopened case with his index finger, opens the case, and removes a glistening, sweet-smelling fillet). How about this one?
SC: Perfect! Thanks for all your help! (secretly to herself: Damn I’m good.)
Step 2 – Rub skin-on fillet with “smoky” rub of choice and season lightly with sea salt. I used a Moroccan spice blend that my sister Caitlin brought home from her trip to Morocco last January. There’s no other way to describe it other than divine. I think I detect hints of saffron and pimentón, if you’d like to try to recreate it.
Step 3 – Prepare charcoal grill; simultaneously soak planks or logs of your choosing (cedar, pecan, mesquite, maple, etc.). Spread the hot coals evenly over the grill, then top the soaked planks. Spray the skin-side of the fillet and the grill grate liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Place the fillet in the center of the grill and close the lid. Hot-smoke for approximately 15 min. Do not over cook!
Step 4 – Move fish from grill to serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Step 4 – Slice salmon and serve with salsa verde (preferrably homemade) and cool Greek yogurt to temper the heat.