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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2007
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Chef Bobby Flay uses a rub with ingredients such as ancho chili power, garlic and barbecue spices to add flavor to grilled shrimp.
Daily photo by Patrice Stewart
Chef Bobby Flay uses a rub with ingredients such as ancho chili power, garlic and barbecue spices to add flavor to grilled shrimp.

Flavor Flay
Chef's spice rubs and grilling skills
add tasty Southwest to seafood

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com · 340-2446

NASHVILLE — Chef Bobby Flay says he layers flavors and textures to achieve the best taste.

“Getting flavor into the food is what America is all about now,” he said during a recent grilling demonstration in Nashville as part of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center’s celebrity chef series.

“People are demanding more flavorful food,” said the Iron Chef and television food celebrity. He is the author of cookbooks such as “Boy Meets Grill” and “Grilling for Life.”

His six restaurants include American Southwest flavors at his Mesa Grill in New York, Las Vegas and the Bahamas, plus the first Bobby Flay Steakhouse in Atlantic City.

One way to get that flavor while grilling is with a spice rub, which Flay uses when grilling shrimp, salmon, tuna and other seafood.

“You can buy a rub you like, or make one of your own,” he said. Your own version can be part of a holiday gift package for friends.

Flay includes ancho chile powder, which he describes as “kind of fruity and spicy,” in his rub. Then he may add a bit of paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander seed, salt and black pepper, and perhaps some brown sugar.

“And be sure to throw out those old spices in your cupboard,” he said, “because they lose their flavor after about a year.”

Flay also likes to make glazes by combining ingredients for touches of sweetness, acidity, fruitiness and heat. That often means using sugar, vinegar, orange juice, mangos and habanero chiles.

Before grilling shrimp on skewers, he soaks wooden skewers in water, “because they burn less that way.”

Rubbing shrimp with a spice rub and then using a glaze may give them a crusty type appearance, which is tasty, he said.

Get intimate with grill

Because every grill is different, with hot spots and cold spots, Flay said, “You’ve got to get intimate with your grill. And you can’t do that by using big tongs from a few feet away.”

The sauce that’s his personal favorite is Mesa Grill BBQ Sauce, which is available through his Web site, www.bobbyflay.com, and includes chipotle chiles.

“When I opened the Mesa Grill in New York 17 years ago, no one knew what chipotle was,” he said.

He believes charcoal grilling brings out “the purest flavor, but there are times when you just want to get it on the table fast,” and a gas grill is handy.

Grilled veggies

Flay said he likes to grill vegetables, too.

“I just season them with salt, pepper and oil and cook them whole; then I cut them up later,” he said.

“Corn is one of my favorites to grill,” he said, and then he uses the cooked kernels in corn soups, salads and tamales.

First he peels back the husks to remove the silks. He turns the grill down to medium for cooking corn. “The intense heat brings the natural flavor out,” said Flay. “They may char a bit on the outside, but that’s OK.”

He likes to make fresh basil butter to go on corn, and he recommends using fresh herbs as often as possible.

“To me, basil is the herb of choice,” Flay said. “And whenever I get out a lot of butter, I feel like Paula Deen.”

He uses soft, unsalted, sweet butter “so you can season it as you like,” and add salt, pepper and perhaps herbs.

“Can we stop making believe we’re trying to be healthy?” he asked.

“The great Julia Child ate butter and good wine and good red meat, and I’d like to live as well and as long as she did,” Flay said.

Here are some of his recipes:

Shrimp with Green Onion, Garlic and BBQ Spices

1/4 cup smoked sweet paprika
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds (21-24) large shrimp, shell on
6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
12 cloves coarsely chopped fresh garlic, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

Whisk together the paprika, ancho powder, brown sugar, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Place the shrimp in a large bowl; add the spice rub and stir well to coat each shrimp.

Heat your grill to high. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil on the grates of the grill over high heat in a large cast iron or sauté pan; add half of the shrimp and half of the garlic and cook until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in half of the green onions and transfer to a large platter or turn out onto brown paper bags. Wipe out the pan with paper towels and repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Tuna with Red Chile, Allspice and Orange Glaze

Glaze:
3 cups orange juice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place orange juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup.

Transfer the reduced orange juice to a blender and add the vinegar, allspice and ancho powder and blend until combined. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuna: 4 tuna fillets, 8 ounces each Canola oil Salt and freshly ground pepper Glaze

Heat grill to high. Brush tuna with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the tuna on first side, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Brush with the glaze and continue cooking and brushing with the glaze until cooked to medium-rare doneness, about 2 minutes longer.

Flip the tuna over, glaze the other side and cook for 30 seconds longer. Remove the tuna from the grill and brush both sides of the tuna with more of the glaze. Serves 4.

Red Chile Rub for Fish and Seafood 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon light brown sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Perfectly Grilled Corn

8 ears corn Kosher salt

Heat the grill to medium.

Pull the outer husks down the ear to the base. Strip away the silk from each ear of corn by hand. Fold husks back into place and tie the ends together with kitchen string. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.

Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, or until kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Remove the husks and eat on the cob. Serves 4.

Basil Butter

2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the butter, basil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl. Can be prepared 4 hours in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Red Chile Butter

2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened 2 tablespoons ancho, pasilla or New Mexico Red chile powder 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika 2 teaspoons honey 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the butter, chile powder, paprika, honey, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl. Can be prepared 8 hours in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Red Chile Rub for Fish and Seafood

3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Red Chile Butter

2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 tablespoons ancho, pasilla or New Mexico Red chile powder
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the butter, chile powder, paprika, honey, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl. Can be prepared 8 hours in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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