Afterwork Gourment - August 2016

Secure Some Snazzy New Skewer Recipes

Afterwork Gourmet 52Stick it to run-of-the-mill skewer recipes and instead pile on unexpected ingredients.

Kabobs remain one of my all-time favorites because all it takes is imagination or a peek into cultures outside your own. Summer dishes that are light, easy and quick-cooking (due to the small cubes involved) are the results.

Ted Allen, host of Food Network’s hit series Chopped and author of In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks pinpoints new arenas in which to take a stab.

One of his favorite dishes is scampi. Give Allen a few minutes in the kitchen and that will instead emerge as scampi skewers.

Imagine foods and flavors that make traditional pairs and line them up on metal or pre-soaked bamboo skewers instead, like the specialty that follows of balsamic pork and apple chunks with red onions.

Dessert isn’t even out of bounds.

The PBS series “Globe Trekker” took on Moroccan-style simmering apples with butter and cinnamon and bananas with thyme, olive oil, almond extract and honey. Alternating these on skewers, wrapping in foil and lightly grilling puts a twist on all the ordinary fruit skewers that may have come before.

Or simply take Pillsbury’s suggestion of skewering chunks of cinnamon rolls, wrapping in foil, lightly grilling and then drizzling with chocolate and caramel sauces before serving.

Yields 4 servings.

4 Boneless pork chops, fat trimmed
⅔ cup Balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup Brown sugar
3 Garlic cloves, smashed
⅓ cup Orange juice (freshly squeezed—about 1 med. orange)
2 Tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 Green apple, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 servings of cooked rice

Measure and pour vinegar, brown sugar, orange juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a large zip-top bag. Seal and shake to combine. Cut pork chops into 1 ½ inch cubes and add to the bag, seal and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to one day. Soak bamboo skewers (if using) in water for 30 minutes or use metal skewers. Remove pork from the marinade, and place the marinade, minus the garlic (strain it out), in a small saucepan. Heat the marinade to boiling and boil until slightly thickened and reduced by half, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reserve.

Skewer the pork, along with the apples and onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle grill pan with a little oil to prevent skewers from sticking. Heat grill pan (or broiler) to medium high. With a utensil, carefully place the skewers on the pan and grill for 4 minutes. Turn them a quarter of the way around and grill another 4 minutes. Finish grilling the remaining two sides for 4 minutes each, grilling the skewers for a total of 16 minutes. If using your broiler, broil for about 10 minutes total, carefully flipping once. Do not overcook the pork, or it will become tough. Remove hot skewers with a utensil. Serve over rice and drizzle with the reserved reduced fully cooked marinade.    

SCAMPI SKEWERS                 
Yields 4 appetizer servings or 2 to 3 entree servings.

½ cup Panko or dried coarse baguette breadcrumbs
1 stick Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large Egg yolk
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Lemon zest
1½ Tbsps Fresh lemon juice
1½ Tbsps Dry white wine
1 Tbsp Basil leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
¾ tsp Kosher salt
1 lb. med, Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a small bowl, combine the panko, butter, egg, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, basil, parsley and salt. Place 2 shrimp on a cutting board, nestled tail to body, forming a yin-yang design, and thread onto a skewer. Repeat with two more pairs of shrimp, 6 shrimp per skewer. Trim the skewers with scissors if necessary and if wooden to fit on the serving plates.
Put the shrimp in a baking dish. Cover with the butter mixture, dotting it on top. Bake until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Good served atop zucchini, which absorb the butter and go well with the lemon flavor.
-In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks


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