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Season 4

Show 403: Meatless Grilling

Sooner or later, a vegetarian will show up at your cook-out, look into your carnivorous eyes, and ask to be fed. Don't be caught flat-footed as a host. This meatless menu preempts the politically correct and will have even the most unrepentant meat-eaters sniffing the air hungrily. First up, flame-seared Portobello Mushrooms topped with cheese, the vegetarian equivalent of a cheeseburger. Reminiscent of a grilled steak is ginger-studded Grilled Tofu. And finally, Steven presents a smoky, revamped version of an American classic, Macaroni and Cheese with Fire-Roasted Onions.

GINGER-GRILLED TOFU "STEAKS"
With Miso Mayo

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Direct
Yield: Serves 4
Advance Preparation: 1 hour for marinating the tofu

FOR THE TOFU AND MARINADE:
2 blocks extra-firm or firm tofu (1 pound each)
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine; or cream sherry)
3 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

FOR THE MISO MAYONNAISE:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup white miso
1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
2 teaspoons grated or finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
∏ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or rice vinegar, or more to taste

Holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, cut each block of tofu in half through the side to form a total of 4 broad, thin "steaks." Blot the rofu steaks dry with paper towels. Cut the piece of ginger crosswise into 8 slices, each 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut each ginger slice into 5 slivers (you'll have 40 in all). Insert 4 slivers of ginger into the top and 5 slivers into the bottom of each piece of tofu; they should go right in, but if you need to, make starter holes with the tip of a skewer. Place the tofu steaks in a baking dish.

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and black pepper in a small nonreactive bowl and whisk to mix. Pour this mixture over the tofu, turning the pieces to coat with the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 hour.

Place the mayonnaise, miso, sugar, grated ginger, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper in a food processor and puree to a smooth paste, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula. With the motor running, add the oil and lemon juice through the feed tube. Taste for seasoning, adding more sugar and/or lemon juice as necessary; the sauce should be sweet with just a hint of tartness.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the marinated tofu on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Pour any leftover marinade over the grilling tofu, dividing it evenly between the 2 sides. After turning each piece of tofu, spoon a little miso mayonnaise over it. Transfer the grilled tofu to a platter or plates. Serve the remaining miso mayonnaise on the side.

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PORTOBELLO "BURGERS"

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Direct
Yield: Serves 6
Advance Preparation: 1 to 2 hours for marinating the mushrooms

6 large Portobello mushrooms (each 4 to 6 inches across, 8 to 10 ounces each)
3 large cloves garlic, cut into matchstick slivers
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons A.1. steak sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
6 thin slices Cheddar or Jack cheese (about 6 ounces total)
6 hamburger buns, lightly brushed with a little olive oil or melted butter
1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced (optional)
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced (optional)
Boston lettuce leaves (optional)
Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and/or relish

Using a paring knife, trim the stems off the Portobellos. Wipe the caps clean with a damp paper towel. Using a sharp object, such as the tip of a metal skewer, make a series of holes in the gill side of the mushrooms, about 1 inch apart. Insert the garlic slivers into these holes, dividing them evenly among the 6 mushrooms.

Combine the mustard, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the olive oil and basil. Pour one-third of the mixture in the bottom of a nonreactive baking dish and place the mushrooms in it, gill side up. Swish the mushrooms around to coat the bottoms with marinade. Spoon the remaining marinade over the mushrooms. Let them marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Set up the grill for direct grilling using a two-zone fire. Preheat one zone to high, and the other zone to medium so you can move the mushrooms over if they start to burn.

When ready to cook, drain the mushrooms over a small nonreactive bowl to reserve the remaining marinade. Place the Portobellos on the hot grate, gill side down, and grill for about 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinade into each cap. Continue grilling until the Portobellos are browned and very tender, about 4 minutes more. The mushrooms are done when they can be easily pierced with a skewer. If they start to brown too much before they become tender, move them over the medium zone of the grill. After the mushrooms have grilled for 2 minutes on the second side, place a slice of cheese on each and cover the grill to melt the cheese. Lightly toast the hamburger buns on the grill, 1 to 2 minutes.

To serve, place each grilled Portobello on a hamburger bun. Garnish with tomato and onion slices, and/or lettuce, if using, and the condiment of your choice.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort

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