Mark Bittman is a New York Times bestselling author of 20 books, including the must-haves for home cooks, his "How to Cook Everything" series. Bittman demonstrated an easy recipe from his latest book, "How to Grill Everything."
Visit Bittman's website for more.
For tickets to Mark's event Monday night at the Chicago Athletic Association, click HERE. Details are below.
Monday, May 21
Chicago Athletic Association, Stagg Court
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
-Students and teachers: $10
Quick-Pickled Charred Vegetables
Makes: 8 or more servings
Time: 45 to 50 minutes, plus several hours pickling time
I'm finicky about my pickles, and declare this technique nothing short of amazing. The only trick is to avoid vegetables that soften quickly, like summer squash, because they need to char but retain some crunch for the brining step. Some specifics: Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Firm vegetables-like fennel, kohlrabi, daikon, onion, and jícama-should be grilled in -inch-thick slices, then cut into sticks. Cook whole green beans and okra (a real treat), but grill radishes whole or cut in half, depending on their size. Cucumbers hold up remarkably well on the grill; cut them into spears. And don't forget their cousins, melons. Carrots should be left whole, halved, or quartered so the pieces are no thicker than your pinky.
1 cups distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pounds vegetables of your choice
1. Make the brine: Put the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic. When it cools, pour it into a large, nonreactive metal or glass bowl.
2. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium-high direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
3. Prep the vegetables as described above. Put the vegetables on the grill directly over the fire. (For smaller pieces, use a perforated grill pan, or skewer them to make them easier to handle.) Close the lid and cook the vegetables, turning them as necessary, until they brown deeply on all sides without softening; how long this takes will depend on the vegetable and how hot the fire is, but figure between 5 and 15 minutes total for most vegetables. Stay close to the grill, check them early and often, and move them to cooler parts of the grill to control the coloring.
4. As they finish, transfer them to the bowl with the brine. When all are done, toss the vegetables with the brine to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate, tossing the vegetables every 30 minutes so, until the flavor and texture fully develop, at least 3 hours. Serve right away, or keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Quick-Pickled Charred Vegetables with Chile, Lime, and Star Anise
Perfect with Vietnamese noodles, soups, and salads: For the brine, use 1 cups rice vinegar, cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 5 pods star anise. After the liquid simmers, add the grated zest of 1 lime and 1 sliced jalapeño or Thai bird chile (remove the seeds for less heat).
Sweeter Quick-Pickled Charred Vegetables with Ginger
Akin to sweet-and-Sour Chinese and Korean pickles: For the brine, use 1 cup each rice vinegar and sugar, cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and cup thinly sliced or julienne fresh ginger. After the sugar dissolves in Step 1, let the brine bubble gently for another 15 minutes to develop the ginger flavor.
Spicy Dilly Pickled Vegetables
Terrific made with green beans or okra: In Step 1, substitute 1 tablespoon dill seeds and 2 teaspoons red chile flakes for the mustard and coriander seeds. After adding the vegetables, toss in several fresh dill sprigs if you like.
Salt-and-Pepper Boneless Chicken
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Modern boneless breasts are small roasts, with an uneven thickness that's more pronounced the bigger the breast is. Pounding the thickest part with a meat mallet or rolling pin-or a heavy skillet -will help them spread to the same thickness. It's easiest to put the breasts on a sturdy flat surface, cover them with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and whack them all at once or a couple at a time.
1 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then pound to an even thickness if necessary. Brush with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Put the chicken on the grill directly over the fire. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until the breasts are no longer pink in the center, 3 to 8 minutes per side depending on their size. (Nick with a small knife and peek inside.) Transfer the chicken to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, slice across the grain if you like, and serve.
Salt-and-Pepper Bone-In Chicken Breasts
Substitute 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for the boneless breasts. Start these bone side down for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn and cook 5 minutes; if they are still pink at the bone at the thickest point, turn them skin side up again to finish cooking.
Salt-and-Pepper Boneless Chicken Thighs
Give me thighs over chicken breast any day: Everything is the same but the cook time; thighs will take 7 to 10 minutes per side, depending on their thickness.
Salt-and-Pepper Turkey Cutlets
A nice change from chicken, these are usually cut about inch thick from whole breasts: Cook time will be a bit faster, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Banana with Chocolate and Crushed Peanut Brittle
Makes: 1 serving
Time: 10 to 15 minutes
The banana peel becomes a cooking vessel on the grill. Slit it lengthwise down one side, then all kinds of sweet things can happen inside. The whole package goes over direct heat-you can even put it on a piece of foil set right on top of coals, if you like. Eat it straight from the peel, or spoon it out as a ready-made topping over ice cream. You can have the banana stuffed and ready to go before lighting the fire.
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons crushed or chopped peanut brittle
2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate
1 ripe banana (you want a yellow or darker banana)
Ice cream of your choice (optional)
1. If using a gas grill, heat it for medium direct cooking. If using a charcoal grill, after taking dinner off, add more coals if necessary and close the lid until you're ready to cook. In either case, clean the grates.
2. Put the butter, peanut brittle, and chocolate in a small bowl and mash together. Slit the banana from top to bottom along one side, through the top peel but not the bottom peel. Pull the banana open enough so you can push the filling into the slit.
3. Put the banana on the grill directly over the fire, slit side up. Close the lid and cook until the peel turns black, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
4. To serve, eat right from the peel or spoon over ice cream, angel food cake, or vanilla pudding.
Banana with Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecans
The taste of pralines: Substitute chopped toasted pecans for the peanut brittle and brown sugar for the chocolate. For a double dose of pecan, serve over butter pecan ice cream.
Banana with Marshmallow, Chocolate, and Toasted Walnuts
Banana rocky road: Substitute chopped toasted walnuts for the peanut brittle and add 2 tablespoons chopped or mini marshmallows. One regular-sized marshmallow should be enough for each banana. Kitchen shears making "chopping" it easy; oil the blades, then snip it into small pieces.
Plantain with Honey, Toasted Coconut, and Cashews
Substitute 1 very ripe plantain (the skin should be black) for the banana, chopped cashews for the peanut brittle, and toasted shredded coconut for the chocolate; add 1 tablespoon honey. Grill until fork-tender, about 8 minutes.
Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches WCL how 'How to Grill Everything'
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