This is Julie’s husband, Matt. Since Julie feeds me so well and comes up with such great date-night meals, I wanted to say “thank you” by doing up a date night of my own! The theme for this one was “Asian Grilling Night”, with everything except the cocktail being prepared on the grill (not that I didn’t try to come up with a way to involve the grill there as well.) All recipes are from “The Asian Barbeque Book” by Alex Skaria, except the cocktail, which I found on Epicurious.com
1.5 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
2 tbs coconut milk, plus extra to thin the spice paste
1 tbs neutral-flavored oil
Sambal Spice Paste:
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp curry powder (note: curry will stain fingers, counters, etc. so proceed carefully)
1 fresh kaffir lime leaf (optional)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Lower half of a lemongrass stalk, or about 1 tbs of pre-chopped
2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbs light brown sugar
To make the spice paste, grind the toasted spices in a food processor. One by one, add the additional ingredients, pulsing the food processor each time. Drizzle in a little coconut milk if mixture is too dry.
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat. When hot, fry the spice paste for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk, and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Toss the shrimp with the cooled spice paste and marinate for 30 minutes.
Skewer the shrimp (I recommend wearing gloves to avoid several days of yellow fingernails) and grill on high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. This will serve six as written.
CINNAMON GLAZED DUCK BREAST WITH GRILLED MANGOES:
4 boneless duck breast halves, skin on
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs oil
2 ripe mangoes
1 1/2 tsp peeled chopped ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tbs dark soy sauce (I used tamari)
1 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Score the skin on the duck breast at approximately 1 inch intervals. Rub with the lemon juice and salt and set it aside for 10 minutes. Crush the ginger to a paste in a mortar in pestle (or a cutting board will work just fine).
In a saucepan, combine the ginger, soy sauces, green onion, honey and cinnamon. Simmer over medium-low heat for a few minutes, then allow to cool. Once cool, pour over the duck breasts, turning to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. After an hour, remove from the marinade and wipe off the excess. Simmer the remainder of the marinade, and use as a basting sauce.
Skin the mangoes and cut in half around the pits.
Set up the grill for 2 zone grilling, one side medium heat and the other side high heat. Grill the duck skin-side up for 3-4 minutes on the medium side of the grill. Baste the skin with reserved marinade, then place it on the high side of the grill, skin-side down, for 4-5 minutes, or until the skin is crispy. Baste again, to get a nice glaze. Grill the mango on the high side for a few minutes alongside the duck. When done, remove duck to a cutting board, and tent with foil for a few minutes before serving. To serve, slice it thinly and place over a bed of arugula, with the mangoes alongside. Serves 4 as written.
GRILLED BANANAS WITH CHOCOLATE AND COCONUT:
4 firm bananas, not too ripe
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, slivered
2 tbs grated coconut, soaked in water for 30 minutes
2 tsp Cointreau, or other orange liquer
Make a lengthwise split in each banana, creating a pocket for the other ingredients (don’t cut the banana in half). Place chocolate slivers in the pocket, followed by a sprinkling of the coconut and a drizzle of the Cointreau.
Wrap bananas in aluminum foil, and grill over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 4 as written.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup canned, drained lychees (15 to 20 from a 16 oz. can)
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
6 oz. (3/4 cup) vodka
1 1/2 oz. Cointreau or other orange liqueur
Heat sugar and water in a 1 quart saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a heatproof bowl set in a large bowl of ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cold, about 3 minutes.
Puree lychees with sugar syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add lychee puree, vodka, and Cointreau. Shake 15 seconds and strain into chilled martini glasses. This makes 2 drinks.