My Favorite Grilled Seafood Recipe: Simple but Exquisitely Mediterranean
By: Chef Calle, Resident Executive Chef
Over the past several weeks, my good friends at SmokinLicious® Gourmet Wood Products have allowed me to make their Tips & Techniques blog platform “my home away from culinary home” to highlight the cooking with wood style. I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Before I begin an extended hiatus overseas, as my thanks, I thought I’d leave you with a pretty easy and flavorful recipe that showcases all the virtues of wood grilling with a couple of my favorite seafood- squid and mussels. The cooking style is one that is very popular in the Mediterranean region. Give it a try and let us know how it fared!
Let’s start out with squid or “calamari” as my Italian friends remind me. Whether it’s squid or calamari, it’s got to be fresh! Prepare first by thawing and rinsing thoroughly with cold water. Drizzle with a good quality of EVOO.
Grilling the Squid
Grill over the hottest part of the wood fire, cover to get a shot of wood smoke flavor. It’s important to not overcook the calamari. If your grill is really hot (and it should be) cook just long enough to get a grill sear mark (30-40 seconds per side) Remove immediately when ready. Drizzle again with EVOO, season with salt and pepper. Spritz with a squeezed fresh quartered lemon section and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley. Plate and serve right off the grill!
Next, grilling the mussels in the shell! Rinse the shelled mussels with cold water. Remove the beard with a quick, firm yank. Working in batches, place shelled mussels directly on grill grate over the hottest part of the wood fire. When shells just begin to open, cover to allow for a wood smoke infusion. After a minute, uncover and remove with tongs. Make sure you discard any unopened mussels. Quickly but carefully, remove the mussel meat from the opened shells with a fork or spoon and collect the meat in a mixing bowl.
After shelling out the mussels, drizzle with a good amount of EVOO (1/8 cup), season with salt and pepper and a hefty spritz of a squeezed whole fresh lemon. Plate and serve right away. For a flavor option, if desired, before grilling the mussels, prepare a mixture of clarified butter (about 2 tablespoons per 1 dozen mussels) with equal amounts (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) of finely chopped garlic, oregano, and parsley. Season the grilled mussel meat with the mixture, plate and serve with wedges of fresh lemons.
I hope you enjoy these recipes. Keep on cooking with wood! Bon Appetite!
I’ve worked on a trio of recipes to take full advantage of the short seasonal harvest of strawberries we have here in Western New York State. I’ve already shared with you my Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie and my Creamy Smoked Strawberry Semifreddo. Now, it’s time for a refreshing cocktail that also features smoked strawberry.
Just grab a couple of quarts of fresh strawberries or even store bought when they are out of season in your area and pick your smoke technique: we have three options – the charcoal grill which is how I did my strawberries, the gas grill or the handheld food smoker. Then prepare to make our version of the strawberry Bellini which has a trademark smoked strawberry to balance the sweetness of simple syrup and Prosecco.
After smoking the strawberries using either a handheld food smoker, stovetop smoker, gas grill or charcoal smoker – we have instructional videos on all these techniques – the next step for our Bellini is to make the simple syrup. Taking 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, I add both to a saucepan set over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then I remove it from heat and allow to cool. At this point, I like to pour the simple syrup into a liquid measuring cup to make adding to our cocktail easier.
Time to start making the Bellini. I add ice cubes to a blender and pulse them into crushed ice. I then take my smoked strawberry juice which I reserved from my previous smoked strawberries and add about 1 cup to the crushed ice. If you’re using whole smoked strawberries, you can pulse these into the crushed ice. After adding my smoked strawberry juice, I add about 1 cup of simple syrup. Pulse the mixture until blended and make any necessary adjustments to ice, strawberry or syrup flavors until you have the consistency and balance of sweet and smoky that you like. Keep in mind, you will be pouring this mixture into the glass first, then adding the sparkling Prosecco so don’t over-sweeten.
Now it’s time to bring everything together for the final drink. First, grab a bottle of Prosecco. Take the glass of your choice and fill it about halfway with the smoked strawberry mixture. Fill the rest of the glass with chilled Prosecco. I like to top my glass off with some fresh mint. Serve immediately. Immensely refreshing on a hot day and festive looking too. The perfect way to use less than perfect strawberries. Cheers from SmokinLicious®!
Now, this is a drink base that easily can be adapted for other liquor content. Feel free to add tequila, rum, even vodka. Just reduce the hard liquor amount to 2 ounces.
Strawberry Semifreddo gets smoky is a “cool” treat with a little smoky taste for your BBQ!
STRAWBERRY SEMIFREDDO GETS SMOKY
My favorite fruit season is here! Strawberry picking and eating season. I’ve worked on a trio of recipes to take full advantage of the short seasonal harvest we have here in Western New York State. My first was a Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie. The second is another dessert option – Creamy Smoked Strawberry Semifreddo. The perfect slice of smoky, cool goodness on a hot day.
Just grab a couple of quarts of fresh strawberries or even store bought when they are out of season in your area and pick your smoke technique: we have three options – the charcoal grill which is how I did my strawberries, the gas grill or the handheld food smoker. Be sure to make plenty of extras so you can enjoy our other recipes. Let’s get started.
Ingredients & Prep
Once you’ve smoked your strawberries using one of our easy techniques, you’ll just need six ingredients to make the actual semifreddo. For a single semifreddo, you’ll need a standard bread loaf pan and either plastic wrap or press ‘n seal wrap. Line the loaf pan with the wrap so it hangs over the ends. This will allow you to easily remove the semifreddo from the pan once it sets up in the freezer. For the actual semifreddo, you will need 1-1/2 cups of whipping cream, 2 cups of smoked strawberries, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ cup of Greek plain yogurt. You will also need a hand or stand mixer for whipping the cream, two medium size bowls, and a small saucepan.
Start the semifreddo by whipping the 1-1/2 cups of whipping cream using a hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the ½ teaspoon of vanilla. I do this step first and place the entire bowl in the refrigerator to keep it chilled while I work on the rest of the recipe. Next, you’ll need to get your saucepan, smoked strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice ready as this step will be done on the stovetop burner or the grill’s side burner.
Smoke Meets Sweet
While the whipped cream is chilling, time to take the previously smoked strawberries and sweeten them up. Place the 2 cups of smoked strawberries in a small saucepan. Add the 1/3 cup of sugar to the pan and stir constantly. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for just about 5 minutes, again stirring constantly. The strawberries will thicken up and infuse the smoky, sweet flavor. Remove from heat and place in a bowl or container to cool. You can do a quick chill to the mixture by placing in the freezer for about 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Be sure the mixture is cool before working it into the cream.
Once the smoked strawberry and sugar mixture is completely cool, time to fold it into our whipped vanilla cream. Take the whipped cream from the refrigerator and pour the strawberry mixture into the cream bowl. Gently fold the strawberry mixture into the cream until completely combined. This will produce a beautiful pink coloring with speckles of the red strawberry seeds. Next, you’ll need the prepared loaf pan as we get ready to mold the semifreddo for freezing.
Pour the strawberry cream mixture into the prepared loaf pan ensuring that the overhang of the liner remains intact. Place the loaf pan in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. Once set, remove the semifreddo from the loaf pan by gripping the liner overhangs and lifting the entire loaf out of the pan. Place on a serving platter and slice into 1-inch thick slices. This can be served as is, or with additional whipped cream and mint leaves. Full of sweet and smoky flavor that is a great cooling dessert when the days are hot.
We hope this recipe inspires you to try wood-fired grilling techniques with your favorite foods. Tells us what is your favorite fruit to smoke or grill with wood and the perfect recipe to make? Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®. wanting you to “cool” off with our BBQ desert-Try our recipe–Strawberry Semifreddo gets smoky!
SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE is a great recipe for fresh or frozen Strawberries. The smokiness will add a special twist
THE MAKING OF A SMOKED STRAWBERRY HAND PIE
Summary: This strawberries recipes for smoked strawberry hand pie using cooking wood chunks; is the art of wood fired cooking with a two-zone cooking method is easy! Using pie dough and strawberries fruit! Add this to your strawberry dessert recipes or to smoked strawberries recipes so something to delight your guests.
It’s one of my favorite times of year – strawberry picking season! As my area of Western New York State has such a short strawberry season, I literally am consuming strawberries for three weeks straight.
Good thing they are packed with vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, as well as being low in calories and fiber-rich. They sure are great at filling you up which makes you eat less.
This season, I’ve got a trio of recipes all using the smoked strawberries that I’ve done on my charcoal grill. Get yourself a flat of strawberries, follow our easy smoking technique (we do have 3 to choose from that offer various levels of smoke flavor), and prepare to make simple hand pies, perfect for the hot days of summer or frankly anytime you can find strawberries.
Grill and Strawberry Prep
As I’m using a charcoal grill, I get that started first as I want a temperature of about 300°F or slightly more when the strawberries are placed on the grill. My grill has an insert system making it a bit easier to light my fuel. I place my Firestarter at the base of my chimney starter in the charcoal pan that has been filled with SmokinLicious® Charwood. I’ve also foil covered a brick to radiate additional heat to the strawberries, and placed that on one side of the charcoal area. I will use a two-zone set-up so I don’t burn the sugars in the strawberries. I light the Firestarter, place the chimney of charwood on top, and go to the kitchen to prepare the strawberries.
I’ll be preparing about 6 quarts for all three recipes I plan to make. Start with strawberries that are at their peak. Gently wash them and then trim the stem end. I cut smaller strawberries in half and larger in quarters to ensure the smoke vapor can penetrate easily. Tiny ones, I leave whole. I place my clean, trimmed strawberries into a disposable foil pan for the actual cooking on the grill, which makes clean up so easy.
Once the strawberries are ready for the grill, I place one chunk of hardwood on the charwood coals. This will add smoke flavor. I’ve used a double filet wood chunk to control the boldness of the smoke. The actual smoking process will only take about 15 minutes to know about halfway through, you will want to rotate your foil pan to prevent the pectin from burning. I’ll be collecting all that thicken juice after the cook and save it for a cocktail I’m making. Be sure to keep in mind that you’ll still have hot coals left when the smoked strawberries are done so use them for another cooking: maybe some charred peppers or onions, or even cook some meats as you’ll have plenty of heat left.
With the strawberries all smoky good, the juices thickened and rendered, it’s time to take these to the kitchen and make our hand pies. First, drain off as much of the juice as possible and capture in a container to use for other recipes. We have a great one for a strawberry marinade you should check out.
Next, you’ll need about 1 cup of the smoked strawberries, pie dough either homemade or store bought; 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons sugar, sanding or turbinado sugar, and one egg plus 1 teaspoon of water. You’ll also need a rolling pin if making your own dough and flour for rolling out the dough, as well as 4-5-inch round cookie cutter. Cut 10 rounds from your dough and refrigerate them on a parchment lined sheet pan while you prepare the filling.
Take the cup of smoked strawberries and add the tablespoon of cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons of sugar, mixing gently but well. If additional juices have rendered, pour off. Taking one dough round at a time while keeping the others refrigerated, add about 1-2 tablespoons of strawberries to one half of the round maintaining a dough border. Brush egg “wash” around the edge of the filled side of the dough round. Gently fold over the dough to make a crescent shape and seal the edges by pushing lightly with your fingertip to form a crimped edge.
To finish the pies for cooking, after folding and crimping the edge, brush the surface with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Make a small slit in each hand pie top to allow the steam to release during cooking. Make sure the hand pies are spaced out on the sheet pan to allow for juice spillage. Bake in a 400° F oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust browns. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the sheet pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
After a simple smoking of 15 minutes on a charcoal grill using a two-zone cooking method, pouring off the beautiful juice, and producing a pie filling, we stuffed 4-inch dough rounds with our smoked mixture producing the perfect size hand pie. After baking in the oven for about 25 minutes, although you can do that step as well on your grill of choice, we let them rest and then served them up a-la-natural though these are fabulous with a bit of fresh whipped cream or even a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie will be your easy dessert or snack recipe to whip up when those short-lived fresh strawberries come to town!
The equipment you use will reflect the boldness of the smoke. If you want a mild smoke flavor infusion, use a handheld food smoker. Medium boldness will be produced on the gas/LP grill, and Bold will be produced on the Charcoal grill.
We hope this recipe inspires you to try wood-fired grilling techniques with your favorite foods. Tells us what is your favorite fruit to smoke or grill with wood and what kind of recipe do you make? Bringing innovation to wood-fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®. Please try and leave a comment on our Smoked Strawberry Hand Pie recipe!