Friday, January 28, 2011

Grilled fruit: an unexpected (and delicious!) accompaniment to meat

I recently prepared dinner for several of my husband's business associates from Europe.  These guy love Tim's grilled beef tenderloin and we invite them to dinner every time they come over from France and Italy.
I failed to take a photograph of the plated meal, but here is the menu:

Grilled beef tenderloin, prepared with a light coating of emulsified grapeseed oil & balsamic vinegar, then rubbed with Reata Grill Mix (recipe below)
pan sauteed asparagus
roasted butternut squash cubes tossed with dry curry mix
slow-roasted onions
Reduced carb pannacotta with balsamic vinegar/molasses glaze
Grilled apricots with balsamic reduction

On this occasion I decided to pan roast the apricots, which works well.  If you have a grill feature on your stove, or (better) a gas grill, these would be the preferred method of preparation.  In any case, heating or grilling peaches or apricots will intensify the flavor, deepen the color, and bring forth the essence of the fruit.
Wash the fruit and cut in half, removing the pit.  Place on the grill for approximately 5-7 minutes.  Watch carefully:  you don't want to burn the fruit.  Rather, you want the fruit to be warmed-through and slightly softened.
In a pan pour about 2/3 cup of your favorite balsamic vinegar.  I adore blackberry balsamic and have two favorites:  Made in Napa Valley Blackberry balsamic with pear, and Bistro Blends blackberry balsamic.  Both of these companies have other vinegars of equal loveliness.  Slowly reduce the vinegar over a medium temperature until it becomes slightly thickened, usually this occurs when the volume is reduced by half.  Lower temperature to keep warm until serving.
To serve, either plate one or two peach or apricot halves with the protein with the pit side facing up and drizzled with several ribbons of the balsamic reduction cross-crossing the fruit, place all the fruit on a platter and drizzle them in the same manner just before serving.  Yum!
*This dish can be served as dessert with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or a cookie.
The grillmaster

My wonderful guests!
Make every meal special:  light some candles!

Reata Grill Blend

Yield:  About 1 cup

4 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 Tablespoons Pasilla Powder*
2 Tablespoons dried granulated garlic
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon ground thyme

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, blending well to evenly distribute all the spices.  Be sure to break up any chunks that appear.  Store the blend in an airtight container.  Shake or stir it again before each use.

This stuff is great on just about everything:  steaks, burgers, chicken, etc..  It is a go-to staple in my spice pantry.

*Pasilla Powder
You won't believe what a difference it makes to use your own fresh ground peppers instead of commercial chile powder.  Try it!  It is so easy.  Just be sure to clean out your coffee grinder really well when you are done ;-)

5 pasilla chiles

Prepare the pasilla chiles by removing the stem and seeds.  Toast the peppers in a skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning them frequently until they are dry and crisp, but not burned.  Puree the peppers in a coffee or spice grinder until they become a fine powder.  Store in an airtight container or use immediately in the Reata mix!

The Reata Grill mix and Pasilla Powder mix come from Grady Spear's cookbook, "A Cowboy In The Kitchen".  I took a cooking class years ago from Grady and have used recipes from his book many times.


  1. I was showing Sage your blog and telling her that you may post her video here and she noticed this article..

    Her question to me was "Do they ever invite you? Do they not like you?" LOL!!

    Now she has me wondering! ;)

  2. Oh heavens no! We love you! We always invite the Europeans over for barbeque when they are in town. We tend toward "hermitdom" otherwise.