Thursday, February 25, 2010

Squash Pureé. BBQ Tri Tip.

I love cooking tri tip. It's cheap, it's flavorful, and it's easy. Most often I use a recipe from Scott's Kitchen in which you roast it in the oven, I definitely recommend that you try it out. Today, though, I wanted to grill. It was a beautiful February afternoon in Santa Cruz and it begged for glowing mesquite outside my front door. The Greatest BBQ Recipes website has lots of great tips and information for grilling tri-tip (and other Q-able fare). Here are the main tips that I employ. The first thing you want to do is take your meat out of the fridge an hour prior to cook-time. Your grill should be very hot when you put the meat on, so you can start up your mesquite (or coals or gas) a good half-hour before you're ready to Q. Next, you want to season your meat nicely. I used a mixture of salt, pepper, thyme, mustard, and paprika. Once the charcoal is uniformly gray, you'll want to dump it to one side of your cooker. This will allow you to maintain a hot part of the grill as well as a less hot (indirect heat) part of the grill. You will want to sear the meat over the hot part of the grill for 5 minutes or so, turning every minute. Be careful to brown but not burn (like I did) your meat. Then move the tri-tip to the less hot part of the grill. Put on the lid, open the vents, and cook for 20-30 minutes. I like my meat medium-rare, so I would pull the meat off when the temperature reaches 125°, tent it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before you carve it up.

While the meat was coming up to room temp, I roasted some squash in the oven...350° for a half an hour or so got me some fork-tender squashes. I used a butternut and an acorn, and they were destined to be pureed into a beautiful soup. Onion, garlic, the squash meat, and a sprinkle of curry powder get sauteed before chicken broth is added. After it comes to a boil, the heat gets turned down to a simmer and the soup bubbles partially covered for 15 minutes or so. Salt, pepper and coconut milk are added just before an immersion blender renders a silky smooth finished product. A handful of the roasted seeds make a delicious garnish and an artful drizzle of oil makes it really shine.

I served a wedge of butter lettuce on the side drizzled with an avocado vinaigrette and some cherry tomatoes. As for libations, a wonderful bottle of Sella & Mosca Cannonau (granache).

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