- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Here’s a dish for one of those days when the cook is grilling for a group and wants beef on the menu.

The recipe, from start to finish, takes 50 minutes, and it makes 8 servings, but if your dining party numbers fewer than that, don’t worry — any leftovers probably will disappear quickly.

The dish has a light touch of Italian influence in its use of garlic, pesto and roasted red peppers. The cut of beef suggested is a tri-tip roast, and it’s accompanied by grilled potato planks topped with a sour-cream-pesto mixture.

Note: The nutrition information shows the tri-tip beef alone is a low-fat item. Information also is provided for the beef served with potatoes and sauce and for the use of top sirloin for those who might prefer those options even though they add a little to the calorie and fat counts.

If you’re not familiar with the tri-tip roast, here’s a briefing on this interesting cut:

First, it’s easily recognizable for its triangular shape (that’s why it’s called tri-tip). It’s a lean, boneless cut from the bottom of the sirloin, and it’s sometimes called bottom sirloin or triangular roast.

It’s tender enough not to need marinating for tenderizing, and it’s flavorful — but it could be marinated or seasoned with a rub for more flavor.

It is best cooked to medium-rare or medium doneness.

One unique point about the tri-tip is that it is not one thickness throughout, and cooking it will result in varying degrees of doneness. (For example, the “point” of the triangle is thinner, so that end will be slightly more done than the center.) This is useful for occasions when some like medium-rare doneness and others prefer more medium.

The tri-tip can be grilled, broiled or roasted in the oven, and, like all roasts, it benefits from standing about 15 minutes after being cooked before being carved. Then carve it across the grain.

Grilled Italian beef tri-tip roast and potato planks

1 beef tri-tip roast or 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inches thick (about 2 pounds)

2 teaspoons coarse grind black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds medium all-purpose potatoes, cut lengthwise into -inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt

cup dairy sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce

2 tablespoons chopped roasted red peppers

Combine pepper and garlic. Press evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Toss potatoes with oil and salt.

Place roast in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Arrange potatoes around roast.

Grill tri-tip roast, covered, 25 to 35 minutes (top sirloin steak, covered, 22 to 26 minutes) for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.

Grill potatoes 20 to 22 minutes or until tender, turning frequently.

Remove roast when instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees for medium-rare; 150 degrees for medium. Tent loosely with aluminum foil; let stand 10 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise to 145 degrees for medium-rare and 160 degrees for medium.)

Combine sour cream and pesto. Carve roast across the grain into thin slices. Season beef with salt, as desired. Top potato planks with sour cream mixture; sprinkle with red peppers. Serve with beef.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving, tri-tip only, without accompaniments (1/8 of recipe): 161 cal., 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 60 mg chol., 48 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0.2 g fiber, 23 g pro.

Nutrition information per serving, using tri-tip, with accompaniments (1/8 of recipe): 336 cal., 14 g fat (5 g saturated), 69 mg chol., 101 mg sodium, 26 g carbo., 27 g pro.

Nutrition information per serving using top sirloin, with accompaniments (1/8 of recipe): 333 cal., 12 g fat (4 g saturated); 58 mg chol., 107 mg sodium, 26 g carbo., 2.9 g fiber, 30 g pro.

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