Archive | 9:14 am

Always The Bridesmaid

14 Aug

Side-dishes are always shunted off to, well, the side.

But unlike their human counterparts, culinary bridesmaids are often better dressed than the brides they’re there to support, especially when that bride comes in the guise of grilled meat.

Grilled meat may be the most delicious, tasty and wonderful food in the world, but they’ll never win any beauty pageants.

Summer salads, sidedishes and relishes, conversely, are beautiful, chock full of the brilliiant saturated colors of the season.

To that end, meet a few of my favorites from this summer.

Easy Pickled Onions are the little black dress of grilled meats. Simple, easy and always the right choice. Just finely slice some red onions, place in a container, cover with white vinegar, about 1/4 cup of cold water, a healthy pinch of kosher salt, about a teaspoon of sugar, and if you like spice, a finely sliced serrano pepper. Place in the fridge for a few hours to “pickle”. Serve with any grilled meat.

Honeydew & Mint Salad, flavored with lime and Ancho chile powder was delicious, especially when paired with citrus and chilie marinated pork. The salad never would have been able to stand on her own as a meal, but had it not been there, it would have been missed. Man and woman cannot live on pork alone.

Cucumbers In Dill & Yogurt were the perfect foil to harissa marinated lamb steaks. I have no idea if this is a traditionally Greek recipe, but it sure tasted authentic! Allow some finely sliced shallots, minced garlic, salt, pepper, about a 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and some chopped dill to meld with a cup of the very best yogurt (especially sheep’s yogurt) in the fridge for a few hours. Right before serving mix in a few peeled, seeded and chopped kirbys and some more chopped dill. Prepare to be adored.

Easy Turmeric-Scented Pickled Summer Squash are yellower than the August sun. I didn’t pickle these traditionally; sterilizing, boiling, etc. because I knew they wouldn’t last long enough to justify all that effort. I simply packed some finely sliced summer squash, purple onion and smashed garlic into two mason jars and then covered them in a solution of turmeric, salt & pepper, brown sugar and white vinegar. (Pickles made this way must be consumed within a few weeks of canning).

They’re not just delicious on sandwiches or straight out of the jar, they also provide the base for a mean summer slaw. Grated Kholrabi & Carrot Slaw was as easy as pie. Simply mix the grated vegetables with about half a jar of squash pickle and its juice, season with some salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil, mix and serve while sitting on the sidewalk, grilling ginger ale, ginger & jerk marinated pork skewers (more on those and all the other meats tomorrow).