I love beef, citrus, grilling and even the grilling of citrus. When I made this meal for my friends, I was so happy with how the Mojo sauce and the satays came out. What a great combination of flavors. Making the caramel was something of an experience for me. The hissing and popping of the caramel as I added the coconut milk was a bit worrisome. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.
If this meal has a weak link, it's the potatoes. I was in a hurry and didn't put much thought into a side dish. Perhaps there's a better option, but it just hasn't occurred to me yet.
Grilled Tri-Tip with Cuban Mojo Sauce
Makes 4 servings
1 beef tri-tip (1.5 to 2 lbs.)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin seeds, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
About 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1. Rinse and dry tri-tip. Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Whisk together 1 teaspoon cumin, dried oregano, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; massage into tri-tip. Let sit 30 minutes.
2. Make sauce: In a blender, whirl juices with remaining cumin, the fresh oregano, the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining olive oil. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
3. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat (350° to 450°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate for only 5 to 7 seconds), leaving a cleared area if using charcoal. Grill tri-tip, turning to brown evenly and, on charcoal, moving it to wherever heat is medium, until a thermometer inserted in center reads 125° to 130° for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes. Let meat rest 15 minutes, then cut across the grain into thin, slanting slices. Serve with sauce.
Don't forget to toast the cumin seeds. I forgot to do that and the delay pushed my serving time back several minutes. Also, I had plenty of mojo sauce left over for use later in the week.
Pineapple Satays with Coconut Caramel
Makes 4 servings
1 ripe pineapple
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1. Trim ends from pineapple, then stand it on one end and cut off peel. Quarter pineapple lengthwise and cut out core. Reserve half the pineapple for another use. Cut each remaining quarter into 4 lengthwise slices, then cut each slice in half to make 16 thin wedges. Skewer each lengthwise.
2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, swirling to dissolve sugar; boil, swirling occasionally (do not stir), until just golden and honey-like. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in coconut milk. The mixture will bubble furiously as you add in the milk, so be careful. It's easy to get burned. Ask me how I know.
3. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat (450° to 550°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds). Using a pastry brush, coat pineapple pieces with caramel sauce. Grill just until marks appear, then turn to mark other side, 4 to 5 minutes total. Put skewers on a platter, sprinkle with toasted coconut, and serve with remaining caramel sauce.
The leftover caramel sauce can be saved and used as a delicious topping for some vanilla ice cream. Also, be sure to soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to use. I forgot to soak my skewers and several of them burned and broke off during grilling.
Baby Rose Potatoes with Garlic and ButterYield
Makes 4 servings
12-16 baby rose potatoes
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1. Place potatoes in a pot with cold water, then bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are just tender. Drain water from pot.
2. Add butter and garlic to pot. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Don't let the potatoes get mushy. When the skin starts peeling as they are boiling, it's a good time to drain the water.