Balinese Fish Mousse Sates
Sate lilit rank among the most exquisite of Indonesia's sates. Their birthplace is Bali, where they are used in and served at religious festivals. To make them, delicate mousse is flavored with explosively aromatic spices, then enriched with coconut milk and grilled on fragrant lemongrass stalks. The mousse can be made of fish, shrimp, chicken, duck, and even turtle.
Even if you can't find a few of the special ingredients, you can still prepare sate lilit. Kaffir lime leaves, electrifying with their perfumed lime flavor, can be found fresh or frozen at Asian markets, but if none is available, a little grated lime zest will work. Shrimp paste (trassi) is a strong-smelling seasoning made from pickled shrimp. Substitutes include Asian fish sauce or anchovy paste.
Don't be frightened by the long list of ingredients. These sates are easy to make and aren't as time consuming as they seem. The results are truly dazzling.
2 hours for chilling the mousse
24 stalks fresh lemongrass, each trimmed to 6 inches long (see Notes), or 24 popsicle sticks, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained
For the Spice Paste:
4 large shallots, sliced
4 macadamia nuts
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 to 3 Thai or serrano chiles, sliced
1 piece (1 inch) galangai or fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 U2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 U2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste or anchovy paste, or 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 U2 teaspoon salt
1 1 U2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Fish Mousse:
12 ounces firm white fish fillets, such as snapper, mahimahi, bass, or catfish
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 U4 cup canned coconut milk
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into hair-thin slivers, or 1U2 teaspoon grated lime zest
4 teaspoons palm sugar or firmly packed light brown sugar
Salt, to taste (optional)
1. Prepare the spice paste. Combine the shallots, macadamia nuts, garlic, chile, galangai, coriander, pepper, turmeric, shrimp paste or anchovy paste (see Notes), and salt in a food processor and process to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the spice paste and saute until dark and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl to cool.
2. Prepare the fish mousse. Combine the fish and shrimp in the food processor and process to a smooth puree. Add the cooled spice paste, coconut milk, egg white, 1 tablespoon lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar and process until thoroughly blended. To test the mixture for seasoning, saute a small amount of it in a nonstick skillet until cooked through, then taste, adding lime juice and salt to the remaining mixture as necessary; it should be highly seasoned. Refrigerate the mixture, covered, for 2 hours.
3. Divide the mousse mixture into 24 equal portions. Lightly wet your hands with cold water, then take each portion of mousse mixture and mold it around the bulbous part of a lemongrass stalk to make a sausage shape about 3 inches long; place the sates as they are finished on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. Cover with more plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 6 hours.
4. Preheat the grill to high.
5. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the sates on the oiled grate and grill until nicely browned on the outside and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. If the fish mixture sticks to the grate, use a long spatula to help turn the sates.
6. Using the spatula, carefully transfer the sates to serving plates or a platter. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer, 2 as an entree
Notes: If you can buy large lemongrass stalks (about 12 inches long with bases 1/2 inch in diameter), the tops may be thick enough to use as skewers; then, because you'll be cutting the stalks crosswise in half, you'll need only 12 stalks.
If using fish sauce, add it to the mousse mixture along with the spice paste in step 2.
This grilled stuffed roast is one of the most colorful churrascuria offerings ever to grace a plate in Rio. Imagine a boneless beef rib roast generously larded with ham, cheese, carrots, peppers, and other vegetables, then roasted to fork-tenderness on a rotisserie (or using the indirect-grilling method). The stuffing serves a dual purpose, both flavoring the meat and forming a colorful mosaic when the roast is sliced. This recipe was inspired by the restaurant Porcao in Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro.
The easiest way to insert the various ingredients for the stuffing that goes into the meat is to use a larding iron, a sharp implement with a V-shaped metal blade that you may be able to find at a cookware shop.
Indirect grilling or rotisserie
1 boneless beef rib roast (31 U2 to 4 pounds), rolled and tied
2 long slender carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise in half
1 U2 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1 U2-inch strips
1 U2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1 U2-inch strips
1 medium onion, cut into 10 wedges
1 slice (1 U4 inch thick) smoked ham (about 2 ounces), cut into 1 U4 inch strips and frozen
1 slice (1 U4 inch thick) aged provolone or other firm white cheese (about 2 ounces), cut into 1 U4-inch strips and frozen
2 cloves garlic, cut into matchstick slivers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Using a larding iron or sharpening steel, pierce the roast from end to end in 16 to 20 places. The idea is to riddle the meat with slender tunnels that run along the grain.
2. Insert the carrot halves, bell pepper strips, thin onion wedges, and ham and cheese strips into these tunnels, gently inching them into the holes. The carrot strips will be long enough to transpierce the meat, but you'll need to double or triple up on the remaining ingredients; insert shorter items from both ends.
3. Make tiny slits, 1 inch apart, in the surface of the roast, using the tip of a paring knife; insert a sliver of garlic in each. Generously season the roast with salt and pepper (see Note).
4. Indirect grilling method: Set up the grill for indirect cooking, placing a large drip pan in the center. Preheat to medium. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Place the roast on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook the roast to taste: 1 to 11/2 hours for medium-rare (145 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer). 11/2 to 2 hours for medium (160 degrees Fahrenheit). If using a charcoal grill, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side every hour.
Rotisserie method: Set up the rotisserie. If using a gas grill, preheat the front and rear burners to high. If using a charcoal grill, light the coals and rake into rows in front and back, leaving a gap in the center. Skewer the roast on the spit. Rotisserie the roast until cooked to medium-rare (about 145 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer), 11/4 to 11/2 hours on a covered rotisserie. For medium (160 degrees Fahrenheit), cook for 11/2 to 2 hours. If using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals as needed.
5. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into thin crosswise slices, using an electric knife or sharp carving knife to serve.
Note: The recipe can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead to this point. Store in the refrigerator.
Gazpacho is Spain's culinary life blood, a refreshing puree of vegetables that blurs the distinction between soup and salad. Grilling adds a smoky dimension that transforms this warm-weather soup from the realm of refreshing to unforgettable. If using a food processor, puree the vegetables first, then add the liquids.
2 long bamboo skewers, soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover and drained
4 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered (but root ends left on)
1 U3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices (each 3 U4 inch) country-style white bread or French bread
5 fresh, ripe medium tomatoes (about 21 U2 pounds)
1 medium red bell pepper
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium cucumber, peeled
1 U4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, tarragon, and/or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 U2 to 1 cup cold water, or more as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the grill to high.
2. Finely chop the scallion greens and set aside for garnish. Thread the scallion whites crosswise on a skewer and add the garlic cloves. Thread the onion quarters on a second skewer. Lightly brush the scallion whites, garlic, and onion quarters with about a tablespoon of the oil.
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3. When ready to cook, oil the grill gate. Place the skewers on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the vegetables are nicely browned, 4 to 8 minutes in all. Transfer to a plate to cool. Add the bread slices to the grate and grill until darkly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside. Grill the tomatoes and bell peppers until the skins are nicely charred, about 8 to 12 minutes in all for the tomatoes, 16 to 20 minutes for the peppers. Transfer to a platter to cool. Using a paring knife, scrape the charred skins off the tomatoes, onions, and peppers (don't worry about removing every last bit). Core and seed the peppers.
4. Cut the scallion whites, garlic, onions, toast, tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumber into 1 inch pieces. Place the pieces in a blender, adding the tomatoes first, along with the herbs, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and the remaining oil. Process to a smooth puree. Thin the gazpacho to pourable consistency with water as needed, and season with salt and pepper.
5. The gazpacho can be served now, but it will taste even better if you chill it for an hour or so to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar if necessary. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped scallion greens.
Serves 8 as a first course