- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2004

CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA

HYDE PARK, N.Y. — With its roots in Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia, satay is a kebab-like dish served with a dipping sauce alongside. Now it’s featured on menus everywhere.

Among many versions, each claims its own spicy twist, but consider garlic, lime and soy sauce as staples of the satay marinade. The creamy peanut sauce complements the subtle heat of the spices in the following recipe for beef satay.

Traditionally grilled, this favorite party food can be easily prepared indoors, under the broiler.

Grilling and broiling are ideal for cooking tender pieces of meat. The dry, direct heat and speedy cooking times are key to keeping items such as beef satay delicate and flavorful.

The thin slices of meat marinate for 1 to 12 hours. The beef is then threaded onto skewers and cooked for an average of 4 minutes, about 2 minutes per side. With its no-fuss preparation, beef satay is a perfect dish for the cook with limited time and space.

Satay skewers, although most often made of bamboo, can be made of metal or wood. Most supermarkets carry wooden skewers, which you can find in the kitchenware section. To counter the intense heat from your grill or broiler, soak wood skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before use — otherwise, the skewers may scorch or catch fire.

Satay continues to grow in popularity as a quickly made, distinctive dish, whether prepared with beef, chicken, pork, seafood or vegetables. Consider featuring several satays with various sides, such as steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. Involve your guests with the preparation to make the occasion fun for the whole group.

“Beef satay is perfect for entertaining because it can be prepared the night before,” says chef Fred Brash, an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. “Serve it to guests with a cocktail for a spicy, sweet flavor that prepares the palate for dinner.”

The following recipe is from “Cooking at Home With the Culinary Institute of America” (Wiley).

Beef satay with peanut sauce

1½ pounds beef flank steak

½ cup minced yellow onion

⅓ cup ketchup

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup dark sesame oil

3 tablespoons brown sugar

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 teaspoons minced jalapeno

Juice of ½ lime, plus wedges for garnish

1 tablespoon chili paste

2 teaspoons minced ginger root

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup smooth peanut butter

Split the steak lengthwise; cut against the grain into thin strips. Whisk the onion, ketchup, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, chili paste, ginger and salt with 1 cup water in a glass bowl. Pour into a resealable plastic bag, and add the steak. Close, squeeze several times to distribute the marinade, and refrigerate 1 to 12 hours. Remove the beef from the marinade and thread lengthwise onto 16 skewers. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and reserve.

Preheat the broiler and the broiler pan completely first; surrounding the food with heat will prevent sticking and develop good texture and color. Leave the door of the broiler or oven slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Raise or lower the broiler rack to control the heat level.

Broil the beef on the first side until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn beef over, and continue broiling to the desired doneness, about 2 minutes more for medium-rare. Bring the marinade to a full boil. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth, thinning with water as necessary to give it a saucy consistency. Serve the beef satay with the sauce, garnished with the lime wedges. Makes 8 appetizer servings.

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