Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
Episode: 313 :: Primal Grill for a Crowd
Mexican Fish Tacos
Method: Direct Grilling
Advance
Preparation: 
15 minutes for marinating the fish
Category: Seafood
Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds grouper (or mahi mahi or other fresh fish fillets)
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh lime or sour orange for squeezing

For the cilantro butter:

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) salted butter, melted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for serving
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

To serve:

8 to 12 fresh corn or flour tortillas
Pico de Gallo, Salsa Verde, or Chiltomate (recipes follow)
1 cup sour cream and/or grated cotija or Jack cheese
1 small head or 1/2 large head green cabbage or iceberg lettuce, shredded or thinly sliced (optional), and/or pickled onions (page 000)
1 to 2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced or diced (sprinkle with a few drops lime juice to keep it from discoloring), or 1 cup guacamole (see page 000)
Lime wedges for serving

Directions:
Generously season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange in a baking dish and squeeze the lime juice or sour orange juice over the fish. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes while you make the salsas and light the grill.

Make the cilantro butter: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the cilantro and garlic and cook until sizzling, but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Warm the tortillas on the grill, wrap them in a cloth or napkin, place them in a basket, and keep warm. Have the Pico de Gallo, Salsa Verde and/or Chiltomate in attractive serving bowls with spoons. Place the sour cream, cabbage, avocados, and lime wedges in attractive bowls. The hard part is over.

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Arrange the grouper pieces on the grill grate, running diagonal to the bars of the grate. Grill until nicely browned and cooked though, 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning with a spatula. Start basting the fish with the cilantro butter after 2 minutes and several times on both sides. Transfer the fish to a platter and thinly slice.

To serve, have each eater place a slice of fish on a tortilla. Top with sour cream or cheese, lettuce or cabbage, Pico de Gallo or other salsas, roll it up, and pop it into your mouth.

 
pico de gallo
Serves: makes about 2 cups
Category: Sauces
Ingredients:
2 ripe, red tomatoes, finely chopped
2 to 6 serrano or jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped (for a
hotter salsa, leave seeds in)
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, chilies, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, oil, and salt and toss gently. Correct the seasoning, adding lime juice or salt to taste.
 
Salsa Verde
Method: Direct Grilling
Category: Sauces
Ingredients:
1 pound fresh tomatillos, papery husk removed
2 to 4 jalapeno or Serrano chiles or 1 poblano chili
1/2 medium onion, cut in half, each half skewered with a toothpick
3 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered on a toothpick
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-1/2 tablespoons lard or olive oil
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Mexicos ubiquitous green salsa, made with a ground-cherry like fruit called tomatillo (its available in most supermarkets) and prized for its refreshing tartness. Tradition calls for the tomatillos to be roasted on a comal (flat skillet) or boiled, but youll get even more flavor if you grill them.

Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Grill the tomatoes and chilies until darkly brownedeven blackenedand blistered on all sides, 2 minutes per side, 6 to 8 minutes in all. Grill the onions and garlic until darkly browned and tender, 3 minutes per side, 6 to 9 minutes in all. Position the garlic in a cooler section of the grill so it browns without burning. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a plate.

Seed the chilies. Remove and discard the toothpicks. Puree the tomatillos, chiles, onion, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Dont worry about a few black specks of charred vegetable skintheyll add color and flavor.

Heat the lard or oil in a large saucepan. Add the tomatillo puree and fry over high heat until the mixture is thick, slightly darkened, and highly aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the stock and boil the salsa until thick and flavorful, 5 minutes. Whisk in the sugar and salt and pepper to taste: the salsa verde should be highly seasoned.

 
Chiltomate (Grilled Tomato Habanero Salsa)
Serves: about 2 cups salsa
Category: Sauces
Ingredients:
1 medium sweet onion (skin on)
2 large or 4 medium ripe red tomatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds)
4 to 8 habanero chiles
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons sour orange juice or 1-1/2 tablespoons each fresh lime juice and fresh orange juice (or to taste)
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)


Directions:
If you have a charcoal grill, light a chimney of coals and rake them out in a singer layer. Lay the onion on the embers and roast until charred on all sides and easy to pierce with a skewer, 8 to 12 minutes in all, turning with tongs. Transfer to a foil pan. Lay the tomatoes on the embers and roast the same way, 6 to 8 minutes in all. Transfer to the pan. Lay the habaneros on the embers and roast the same way, 2 to 4 minutes in all. Transfer to the pan.

If using a gas grill, preheat it to screaming hot. Grill the vegetables to char the skins.

Scrape off the burnt skins with a paring knife. You dont need to get off every last bita few specs of black will add flavor. For a milder (but still ferocious salsa), seed the chiles. Cut the vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Finely chop or coarsely puree in a food processor. Work in the cilantro, sour orange juice, and salt, running the machine in short bursts. Correct the seasoning, adding sour orange juice or salt to taste: the salsa should scream with flavor.



 
Guacamole
Source: Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen
Serves: Makes 2 cups
Category: Sauces
Ingredients:

1/2 medium sweet onion, finely diced
1 to 4 jalapeno or Serrano chiles, seeded and finely diced (for a hotter guacamole leave the seeds in)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
2 medium ripe avocados,
peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 coarsely cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Molacajete method:
Place half the onion and chile, the garlic, and the salt in the stone bowl and mash to a coarse paste with the pestle. Add the avocado and coarsely mash. Work in the remaining onion, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and pepper if using. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or lime juice: the guacamole should be highly seasoned. Dont over-mashthe guacamole should be quite coarse.

Food processor method:
Place onion, chilies, garlic, salt, and avocados in the food processor and run the machine in short bursts to coarsely mix the ingredients. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and pepper and pulse just to mix. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or lime juice: the guacamole should be highly seasoned. Dont over-processthe guacamole should be quite coarse.


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