Grilled vegetables deserve the royal treatment

Ask the Chef

July 07, 2002|By Jim Coleman and Candace Hagan | Jim Coleman and Candace Hagan,Knight Ridder / Tribune

Q. I am the Weekend Grill King, and I want to know what vegetables to grill along with my steaks.

A. Dear Your Royal Highness, the Weekend Grill King: Sir, my humble answer is that with you being the king and all, you have the privilege to grill any vegetables you like.

Just about all vegetables are great for grilling, except maybe peas, though some are easier than others.

Why don't you begin with something simple like zucchini, yellow squash, and some nice, big portobello mushrooms? Cut off the ends of the zucchini and yellow squash, then stand them on end and slice them into thick, lengthwise pieces.

Remove the stems from the portobello mushrooms. Place all the vegetables in a large, resealable plastic bag and toss in a little of your favorite vinaigrette.

They should marinate for at least 30 minutes, and they're even better if you have time to let them stay in the bag for a couple of hours.

I like to grill the vegetables before I grill my steaks -- just leave them on until they are tender and nicely marked, turning them once.When they're done, place them on a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep them in a 200-degree oven until the steaks are coming off the grill.

Here's a presentation tip: Lay alternate slices of the zucchini and yellow squash on each plate, top with the steaks and crown each steak with a portobello.

Q. I have a recipe for "dirty rice" that calls for beef liver, ground pork, ground beef and giblets. Do I really need all that? I thought dirty rice only included giblets. I also want to know if the term giblets refers to both the chicken liver and gizzard or just the gizzard.

A. Let's deal with your first question first. No you do not need all of those ingredients. It sounds to me like someone was cleaning out the refrigerator!

Dirty rice can be made with just giblets; however I like to add a little sausage.

In answer to your second question, giblets normally consist not only of the gizzard and liver of a fowl, but the heart as well. Some people say that giblets are anything that comes in that little bag when you buy a whole chicken or turkey -- so for those folks, giblets include the neck.

When we are talking about making dirty rice (which I love, by the way) I like to use a chicken liver, gizzard and heart. In my opinion, dirty rice should have garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper, and the heat should come from cayenne pepper.

Also, if you simmer your rice in chicken broth instead of water, you will get a richer flavor.

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