To make tomato concassé, place fresh tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skins, then peel them, remove as many seeds as possible, and squeeze out the juice. Then dice them as finely as possible. Serve this intensely-flavored bisque with a good red wine and sourdough bread. Read Dave DeWitt's entire spicy spring soup article here.
This vegetarian consommé can be substituted for vegetable stock in any recipe. The flavor of peppers dominates this powerful, spiced up broth. It is an elegant example of a first course soup that can precede any entree. Read Dave DeWitt's entire spicy spring soup article here.
This sweet and sour fish sauce dip is made spicy with chopped chilies and garlic, while fresh-squeezed lime or lemon gives it a sour edge. Called nuoc cham or nuoc mam cham in Vietnamese, it is the ubiquitous condiment of the Vietnamese table. Drizzle it over grilled meat set atop thin rice noodles tossed with shredded vegetables for refreshing fare, perfect for summer.
The first food I prepared with a salt block was a Szechuan citrus scallop and shrimp appetizer (this could also be an entrée if you increase the number of shrimp and scallops per serving). Following the manufacturer’s recommendations I placed the dry, room temperature salt block on an unheated grill and turned the grill on to its lowest temperature allowing the salt block to warm (this also removes any moisture that might be on the block). Then I slowly increased the grill’s temperature until the salt block reached the desired temperature… for me the process took about 45 minutes until the block reached 550 degrees F. The key is to slowly increase the temperature, otherwise the block may shatter.
Once the block is at the desired temperature, add the food and cook until done. For the shrimp and scallops, it only took about two or three minutes per side until they were done.
This is a style of smoking that hails from China’s Sichuan (formerly Szechuan) region, which is known for its hot, spicy cuisine. Serious Chinese food geeks may be familiar with Zhangcha duck—a tea-smoked Sichuan delicacy that’s tough to make but impressive as hell to anyone who’s never had it before. This is the recipe Mark Masker used for his rib experiment. Read the entire article on the Burn! Blog here.
The technique of soaking a food in a liquid to flavor it—or in the case of meats, to tenderize the cut—was probably brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. A marinade is easier to use than a paste, and when grilling your jerk meats, the marinade can also be used as a basting sauce. “In Jamaica,” notes food writer Robb Walsh, “like Texas barbecue, jerk is served on butcher paper and eaten with your hands.” Serve this version of jerk with a salad and grilled plantains.