Monday, May 07, 2007
Grilling Season Begins!
Ah, grilled corn. One of my favorites. This corn was grilled and then I added a salt, a little mayo and a little queso blanco (actually available at Zabar's!), and served it up for dinner. The only problem is that I live in the middle of Manhattan in an apartment. So how did I get this mildly burned yet excellent tasting corn? Simple: the stove top grill!
Although many people in New York have an actual gas grill as part of their fancy stoves (including me, to be honest), these units often don't get hot enough. There are poor grill marks, long cooking times and a whole lot of complaints. As for vegetables, forget it. Vegetables need higher grilling temperatures than meat.
Enter the stove top grill. This device, essentially a griddle with ridges (a corduroy griddle?) has been around for years. You can buy a double wide version from Caphalon or All-Clad for about $100, or you can buy a cast iron one for about $30. I have a cast iron one made by the Typhoon Company, which I got at Zabar's. Because it is cast iron it gets incredibly hot, making it an excellent grilling source. My only problem with it is its low lip. If you try to grill fatty meat, you can have a fire, a mess, or both (tonight with steaks I managed both). But the regular broiler does a good job with those meats anyway, and you can cook the meat there while you prepare your vegetables.
Because of their lower fat content, vegetables produce much less smoke when cooked. This makes them ideal for apartment grilling. The char and flavor produced by a seasoned tabletop grill is similar to gas, but not as good a charcoal. I will go into details at a future date, but the tabletop grill works well for peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and garlic. The model I have works on gas, radiant ring and solid top ranges. Even for vegetables, its a bit smoky, so decent ventilation is a must.
Summer is approaching fast. The beach calls. I'm starting to eat vegetables again. But grilled ones.