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Posted by jwdineline in Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Thanks, Dad

No!  Bringing home a slab of beef for Dad to grill is not acceptable for Father’s Day!  Take Dad to the slab instead.  Treat Dad to a special meal on June 19th, to show him you appreciate all the love, guidance, allowance, education, clothes, oh, and overlooking that fender-bender when you drove his car, and some of the other youthful indiscretions you surely foisted on him along the way.

Great meals abound for Dad.  So, let your conscious, your budget and your geography be your guide.  I’ll just do a stream of consciousness now on some of my favorite beef emporiums in the area.  Let your fingers do the walking through OpenTable.com and setup something (right away) to make a reservation:

  • Pappas Bros. Steak House
  • Stephan Pyles (that 21 oz Cowboy bone-in ribeye is a show stopper)
  • Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House
  • Charlie Palmer at the Joule
  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
  • Perry’s
  • The Place at Perry’s
  • III Forks
  • Morton’s
  • Al Biernat’s
  • Bob’s
  • Kirby’s in Southlake
  • Ranchman’s Cafe in Ponder is always a favorite.  The steak is free.  You pay for the baked potato.  At least that’s the way the story used to go.  The pies are outstanding, too.
  • Dunston’s

Just a thought starter.  Now, if Dad is intent on staying-in and cooking-out and wants something besides beef, remember it’s Copper River Salmon season.  This is some of the yummiest wild salmon anywhere, and it’s only around for about a month.  The flavor is outstanding this year, and the price is pretty good.  Averaging around $23 a pound.  That may sound expensive, but it’s about half the price as it was when the season started last year, and it easily serves two.  If you follow the federal dietary guidelines four people could each have 4 ounces.  You’d pay upwards of $30 for a 5 or 6 oz portion in a restaurant.  So, be the hunter gatherer and bring home some of this great Alaskan salmon for Dad, splurge on a nice bottle of wine to go with it.  I suggest a Carneros or Santa Barbara Pinot Noir.  Other thoughts on this delicacy:

  • Make sure your fishmonger removes the bones–they are tiny but not very savory
  • Leave the skin on!  It helps keep the fish moist and pulls off easier than plastic wrap on a dish once the salmon is cooked
  • Leave the fish in one piece (one pound, two pounds, whatever).  It also helps keep it moist and prevents the fish from falling apart on the grill.
  • Don’t cook it too long.  This is personal preference, but for a one pound fillet I (about an inch thick), I never cook it for more than 8 minutes, or about 4 minutes per side.  Of course, remember the chefly quarter turns about every two minutes to produce those cool grill marks on the flesh.  Cook the skin side first.
  • I use a great fish seasoning from Hawaii that my wife and I love.  It’s an organic seasoning and rub from Aloha Spice Company.  You can order it online and have it here in time for Father’s Day.  It also comes for chicken and pork, and for beef and lamb (just in case Dad is intent on cooking his steak for Father’s Day).  Maui Wowie notwithstanding, a very simple seasoning for this (or any fish) is to oil as mentioned above, and then sprinkle Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper on the fish.  Then, add a healthy dose of tarragon on the skin free side and pat it down.  After it’s grilled I add a lemon-butter and caper sauce.  If you’ve got particularly briney capers, use less Kosher salt, or your fish will be too salty.  Delectable.

Here’s a grilling tip that Chef Chris Ward taught me:  mix 2/3 cup of canola or other high heat oil (I use grapeseed oil) with1/3 cup olive oil and then toss in your favorite herbs, spices, and garlic cloves.  Brush the mixture on whatever you’re cooking before it goes on the fire, and continue to baste the product every time you turn it.  This keeps it moist, tender and delicious.  Try it.  One word of caution, this can cause flareups when you turn the meat or fish, so be ready to spritz the flames or move the protein to another part of the fire so your prized entree doesn’t scorch.  Also, be sure to keep the oil refrigerated between uses.  It should be OK for at least a month, but I use it so quickly in the summer, it never has a chance to turn rancid.

Grilled peaches for dessert-Go Texan!

Now, since it’s peach season, be sure to get some Parker County peaches and try this while the grill is fired up.  Cut the peaches in half; as many of them as you’d like to have.  They’re small.  Have at least one whole peach per person.  Spray the peach surfaces with a little non-stick cooking spray (canola, etc.) and grill for about 3 minutes per side (skin side first).  But first, reduce about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar and add some Texas honey to it (couple of tablespoons is fine).  Then, baste the peaches lightly as you grill them, and then drizzle the remaining mixture over the peaches when you serve them.  I like to add some fresh Texas blueberries to the plate to add additional flair and taste.  Oh, and the sauce is larrapin, so you will need to adjust the amounts mentioned above if you are grilling more than about 4-6 peaches.  You can add your favorite vanilla ice cream, but believe me the peaches and the sauce are sweet and delightful on their own.  Even better if  you get some peach balsamic vinegar from Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company.  By the by, the Parker County Peach Festival is July 9th.  Enjoy!

Savor the Flavor with Jim White, “The Wining and Dining Guy” May 24, 2010

Posted by jwdineline in Home, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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Grilling season is in full swing!

All thoughts turn to grilling with the approach of the Memorial Day weekend.  When asked, “Which barbecue/grilling book do you like best?”, I always recommend any volume from Steven Raichlen.  Called America’s “master griller” by Esquire Magazine, he is the author of numerous bestsellers including The Barbecue Bible, How to Grill, Beer-Can Chicken, and BBQ USA (a dog eared and sauce covered tome I consult to check temperatures, techniques and noteworthy recipes from all across America).  His television show “Primal Grill” is entering its third season with the official start of barbecue season (it’s here!)  His latest book is called Planet Barbecue (he’s covered the USA, now it’s time to tackle the globe!).  Check out his website for grilling tips, recipes, his blog, and to find out about “Barbecue U”.  This guy has made an entire industry out of barbecue and he’s the best!  Enjoy.

I’d be thrilled to toss some of the divine Copper River Salmon from Alaska on my grill.  It’s only in the stores for about a month-now through about mid to late June.  And boy, are they proud of it!  The best price I have seen so far is about $33 a pound.  As much as I crave the heavenly treat-especially paired with a fabulous Pinot Noir from Carneros, discretion is the better part of valor these days on extravagant food costs.  I may have to wait a week or two and see if the price drops to a more manageable level.  Look for it in better stores, and by all means, let me know if you find a better price.  Have tongs will travel!

It’s barely been hot and already I am dreading summer!  Cool, light summer fare helps relieve the stress.  David Bull has a new summer menu at Bolla in the Stoneleigh Hotel.  Menu items include Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad, Seven Grain Club Sandwich, Penne Pasta Primavera, and Chicken BLT Sliders.  Cool.  Reservations: 214-871-7111.  2927 Maple Avenue, Dallas, TX 75201.

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