lunch/dinner

what i had for dinner: girl and the grill

Ever since I bought a grill I have had grill fever. I’ve never grilled stuff before so this technique of cooking is a complete mystery to me, thus I try to keep finding excuses to slap something onto the grill and practicing, practicing, practicing. Recently it was a good stretch of stunning weather so I found this awesome recipe for Korean barbecue-style grilled halibut, eggplant, and baby bok choy that looked easy and delightful. Of course, the evening of said grilling experiment was the foggiest, coldest, most miserable night in all of San Francisco summers and I was outside cursing the grill and the price of halibut and the sideways rain – but in the end, I’d have to say it turned out pretty great.

First off, I really don’t recommend grilling bok choy or baby bok choy as it became bitter and dry. However, I love eggplant and nothing is better than a the smokiness and smooth texture of grilled japanese eggplant. I also added some zucchini and they turned out quite moist and nicely charred. Halibut is kind of pricey so I’m pretty sure that any kind of firm white fish would work great, and I suspect even salmon would as well. The fish and veggies were perfectly complemented by the wicked delicious sauce/marinade. The marinade is ridiculously easy and just so umami-ful.  Because I had it on hand, I substituted gochujang for the fresh chili which probably made it more Korean but added that great sour layer to the flavor profile.  I served everything with sesame rice (rice, sesame oil, sesame seed, green onion and soy sauce) and we were quite stuffed – this recipe makes a ton of food!

For dessert, (I sent B out in the rain to the grill for this…..yeah, I punked out) we grilled stone fruit topped with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzled with butter rum sauce. Simply grease the grill grates and the peaches/plums with butter or canola oil or Pam. If the fruit isn’t ripe enough you can sprinkle the cut sides with brown sugar but be sure to monitor them even more carefully on the grill as they can burn. Then, grill the fruit cut side down for a few minutes and turn over for 2 minutes.

To make the butter rum sauce, melt equal parts butter and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add a bit of dark rum and a splash of vanilla. The sauce will bubble up and smell freaking amazing – let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring, until its slightly thickened. Let it cool (unless you enjoy a burned tongue) and it will form a luxurious caramel.

Place the grilled stone fruit to a bowl, add a spoonful of mascarpone and drizzle with warm butter-rum sauce. Each spoonful is sweet, creamy, tart, warm and guaranteed to make you want to give your grill another go – even in the dampest, chilliest of nights.

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