Sat 22 Sep 2018
Read other related stories: Appetizer/Snack , Marinades, Rubs. Toppings & Sauces , Mushroom , Pepper , Toppings/Condiments , Vegetables
MUSHROOM TAPENADE ON THE WOOD GRILL
I’m the type of person who likes to put their own spin on a traditional recipe and make it my own. I’m also one to take liberties with traditional ingredients in that recipe. That’s why I found a great way to use all those peppers I have growing in my vegetable garden in a recipe take on the traditional tapenade.
I’m using a combination of Hungarian and cubanelle peppers in this great topping that will include portabella mushrooms as well.
Grab some of your favorite peppers and learn how easy it is to make great recipes on the gas grill with hardwood for another flavor level.
Where to Start
Normally, tapenade is made with very precise cuts to the olives, usually a fine dice. I’m not going to be as precise with my cuts but will be doing a dice on the peppers and a rough chop on the portabella mushrooms. Before getting the main vegetables started for the tapenade, I want to heat up the grill so my wood chunks will already be smoking. I turn the burners on medium for one half of the grill only. On that side, I place a metal smoker box that has a couple of hardwood chunks, directly on my heat shield of a hot burner. Close the lid and let the grill get to 325°F.
Meanwhile, I’ve picked some fabulous sweet and hot peppers from my garden and purchased some great looking portabella mushrooms to be the main component of my tapenade. I carefully remove the seeds and membranes from about ten peppers and dice fine. I coarse chop the mushrooms and add this to a pan. Then I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil, I’m using avocado oil, on the vegetables and one stick of melted butter to the pan. I season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper and mix. This pan will go on the unlit side of the grill. Close the lid and allow to wood grill for 45 minutes.
Tasting Notes: Since I’m taking liberties with what can go in a tapenade, feel free to experiment with other vegetables you may have available like eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, etc.
Although tapenades are usually oil based, I’m making mine with more of a creamy undertone to balance the hot pepper flavor. I start by placing 1 cup of ricotta cheese in a bowl. I add about ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar – I’m using a tangerine flavor. Then in go my fresh herbs – rosemary, tarragon, and oregano. Mix together and prepare to add to the grilled and wood smoked vegetables after they’ve cooked for about 45 minutes.
With the sauce constructed, it’s time to add it to the buttery wood-fired vegetables. Place the sauce in the pan of vegetables and mix it well. Let this cook on the grill for another 15 minutes. The creaminess of the ricotta will counter the spicy peppers to make this a refreshing topping. Obviously, this basic recipe can be used with a variety of vegetables. Simply alter the sauce ingredients to balance what your vegetable focus is. I prefer this tapenade version on crostini for an appetizer, directly on animal proteins whether beef, turkey, chicken, pork or game. It also works extremely well on an animal protein sandwich such as brisket and pork shoulder. And, on pasta – well, let’s just say, make a lot! This is just another example of how easy the two-zone method using wood for flavor is on just about any food.
Tasting Notes: If you prefer not to use a cheese in the sauce, you can make this with Greek yogurt. I recommend you add about 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or another thickener to bring the consistency in line with a cheese-type sauce.