- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Say grill and you can imagine the crackle of searing meat. But take a look through the mouthwatering pages of “The Asian Grill,” a new book by Corinne Trang, and you’ll widen your definition.

“My idea is to take something like grilling, which is very familiar, and apply different ingredients. In this case, Asian ingredients,” says Miss Trang, a New York-based cookbook author and food writer.

“This is the same concept [grilling], but with new flavors. My goal is to extend [cooks’] culinary repertoire.” For example, instead of salt and pepper, Miss Trang calls for soy sauce and sugar. “Yin and yang, a balance of opposites,” she says.

Balance also explains why vegetables and not always grilled are prominent. Serving vegetables in either a raw or cooked state results in a balance of textures and flavors, says Miss Trang.

Her vegetable sides include such interesting recipes as a corn and edamame salad, as well as a mix of mango and carrot strips with Thai chilies and peanuts.With such bold and beautiful colors, meat becomes less important, according to the cook.

While summer produce is at its peak, create a meal that’s light on meat, resplendent with vegetables and rich in flavor.

The following two recipes are adapted from “The Asian Grill.”

Filet mignon cubes with sweet lime dipping sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 10-ounce piece filet mignon, cut into 1-inch cubes

Water

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Whisk together soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar and oil in a medium bowl. Add beef cubes and toss to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to baste with soy sauce mixture.

Meanwhile, soak 4 long bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes (or use long metal skewers).Stir together lime juice, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, pepper and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Preheat grill to high. Divide beef cubes evenly among the skewers. Grill beef until well browned on the outside and rare in the center, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. To serve, place 2 skewers on each plate. Stir dipping sauce once again and pass on the side. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy cucumber and red onion salad

1 large seedless cucumber

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 small red onion or large shallot, sliced into thin wedges

1 red Thai chili, stemmed, seeded and minced

Peel cucumber and thinly slice. Place in a bowl. Stir together salt, vinegar and sugar in a cup. Pour over cucumber. Add onion or shallot and chili. Stir well. Set aside for 5 minutes for flavors to blend. Makes 2 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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