Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rub a dub-dub

In today's Your Table, we've got some things that rub you the right way. Have a look, then pick one to cook:

Steven Raichlen, grilling guru and cookbook author, says pork is particularly delicious with spice rubs and any marinade with a fruity component.
“It’s a fatty meat and that equals delicious when it combines with smoke,” he says, adding that his basic barbecue rub is great with pork because it has an element of sweetness. He says it is especially good used on fattier cuts, such as pork ribs and pork shoulder.
His basic rub combines brown sugar with spices, plus garlic and onion powder. It calls for plenty of sweet paprika, but those who prefer a spicier blend can substitute some (or all) hot paprika.

Judith Fertig, who along with Karen Adler has written three grilling cookbooks, says to team beef with something with an umami flavor. Even if you don’t recognize the word, you’ve probably tasted umami. It’s in soy sauce, aged cheeses, anchovies, tomatoes and, most of all, mushrooms. Often labeled the fifth taste (a sensation distinct from sweet, salty, bitter and sour), umami imparts a savory meaty flavor.
To turn a rub into a paste, she says to add some moist ingredients, such as minced garlic and a little olive oil. Add some dried red pepper flakes and brush it on the beef. Cover and refrigerate for as little as one hour, or let it chill overnight.
As for chicken, she says, it is naturally kind of sweet yet bland, so it needs something with a little razzle-dazzle added to it. In her latest book, ITAL BBQ Bash ITAL (Harvard Common Press, $16.95), she gives a simple recipe for a Chic Chicken Rub made with 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon pepper and 1/2 cup kosher salt.

Marisa Neal, co-owner of Santa Monica Seafood, says rubs and marinades can play an important role in fish grilling, especially when cooking fish filets and steaks.
She cautions cooks to limit marinating time to no more than 20-30 minutes to avoid creating an unpleasant texture. If using teriyaki or other soy-based marinades that are lower in acid, fish can soak a little longer.

Yield: 4 servings
1/2 cup olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon ground cumin or more to taste
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint
2 to 3 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds total)
2 large sweet onions cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
For serving: 1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned with membranes removed or peeled and sliced

Prepare mojo: Heat oil in deep saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin; cook until garlic is fragrant and pale golden color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Do NOT let garlic brown too much or it will be bitter. Cautiously add lime and orange juice (it may sputter, so stand back). Cautiously add salt, pepper, oregano and water. Stir and bring sauce to boil. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or cumin if needed. Cool to room temperature.
Add cilantro.
Trim tenderloins of silverskin (sinew on exterior), if present. Place in single layer in nonreactive 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Pour half of the mojo over pork and marinate, covered, in refrigerator at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, turning occasionally to insure even marinating.
Refrigerate remaining mojo to serve as a sauce.
Preheat grill (if using gas, preheat to high). Remove pork from marinade and discard marinade (keeping reserved marinade for sauce). Brush and oil grill grate. Arrange tenderloins on grill. Brush onion with some of the reserved mojo, skewer them crosswise on bamboo skewers or toothpicks. Place on grill. Grill pork and onions until cooked to taste. The meat will take 3 to 4 minutes on each of its 4 sides, 12 to 16 minutes in all for medium. To test of doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of meat. The internal temperature should be about 155 to 160 degrees.
Onions should be nicely charred after about 4 to 6 minutes per side.
Transfer meat to cutting board and let it rest for 3 minutes. Slice tenderloins crosswise on the diagonal. Fan out slices on plates or platter and top with onions (removed from skewers). Spoon the reserved mojo and garnish with orange segments or slices. Serve.

Source: Adapted from ITAL How to Grill ITAL by Steven Raichlen (Workman, $19.95)

Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons finely ground chicory coffee or espresso
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Olive oil 4 (8-ounce) boneless filet mignon
Prepare hot fire in grill.
In small bowl, combine coffee, paprika, sugar, mustard, salt, peppers, oregano and cayenne pepper. Brush steaks with olive oil and season both sides with rub. Grill steaks, covered, for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Cooking times vary depending on heat of fire and thickness of steaks.

Yield: 1 cup

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon hickory-smoked salt or more coarse salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and stir to mix. Your hands work better than a spoon to break up any lumps of brown sugar. Store the rub in airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for up to 6 months. Use this rub on chicken or pork or robust fish such as salmon.