So what if I were French and wanted to do a July Fourth picnic? Well, let’s see, I’d ….
Wait a minute! I am French! And I want to do a Fourth of July Picnic! And I just wrote a book called French Grill!
So, here’s the menu that I have chosen for the Fourth of July, which I will celebrate in Normandy! It was devised because I couldn’t make up my mind.
The first dish I’ll make is “brochettes,” here flavored with a touch of curry. Why? Because brochettes, or what we called “kabobs” when I was growing up, are fun, and delicious. You can eat them right from the skewers they way we used to, or you can be more sophisticated (like the French) and swipe the meat and vegetables off onto your plates.
Then I chose The Best Burger You Ever Ate because, draped with Camembert and laden with apples and onions, it IS the best burger you can hope to eat.
I’ll make Romesco Sauce (p.74) with grilled peppers and almonds, for baby leeks or onions, whichever I find at the market.
Then I’ll grill Tomates Provencale (p.52), because tomatoes are coming into their own, and dusted with breadcrumbs and herbs then drizzled with olive oil, they shout out le Quatre Juillet!
I couldn’t decide for dessert either, so it will be shortcake (p.227) AND the flourless chocolate cake (p.210) everyone is raving about. Cut up a double amount of strawberries and serve those, and the cream, with both. Now, that’s a July Fourth picnic!
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BEEF BROCHETTES WITH ZUCCHINI - BROCHETTES DE BOEUF MARINES AUX COURGETTES
ASTUCE: note that the onions are cooked separately, because they take longer than the zucchini and the beef. You might say “Why include them, then?” Because they go so we-e-l-l with the beef and zucchini. You might just want to slide them on the skewer to make life easier, but it won’t make what’s in your mouth more tender or delicious, nor will leaving them out of this recipe. Sometimes things in life are just a little more complicated than they are simple. Note too that yellow zucchini makes this recipe sit up and sing. Milder than their green cousins but equally delicious, they add a festive note to the brochettes. I like to remove the ingredients from the skewers before serving, which works particularly well here since the onions are skewered and cooked separately from the beef and the zucchini.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Long metal skewers, gloves, tongs, platter for serving
PREPARATION AND GRILLING TIME: for the marinating: up to 2 hours; for the grilling, 12 minutes total
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple
1pound (500g)beef tenderloincut in small (.75 x 1.5 x 1-inch; 2 x 3.25 x 2.5cm) cubes,
One4 ounce;120gmedium yellow or green zucchinitrimmed, cut in half, lengthwise, then cut into ½-inch (1.25cm) half-moons,
Onerecipe for Grilled Onions(see below)
5 to 6teaspoonscurry powder
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the beef, the zucchini, and the onions in a large, non-reactive bowl. In a small bowl, mix together 5 tablespoons of the oil and the curry powder, and pour it over the meat and vegetables. Toss the meat and vegetables with the oil mixture so they are thoroughly combined, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, covered. You may also marinate the ingredients in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.
Build a medium fire in the grill. When the coals are red and dusted with ash, spread them in a tight, single layer; they need to emit concentrated heat.
Thread the beef and the zucchini onto the same skewers, alternating several pieces of zucchini with the beef, beginning and ending with beef. Thread all of the onions onto one or two skewers, as they will cook longer than the other ingredients.
Place the grill over the coals. When it is hot, add the onion skewers and cook until the onions are golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until the onions are golden on the other side, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover the grill and cook until the onions are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the onion skewers from the grill and add the beef and zucchini skewers. Brush them with the reserved oil and season them with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the meat and vegetables are golden, about 3 minutes, then turn the brochettes and repeat. The meat will be quite rare at this point, which is ideal. If you like your meat cooked more, leave it on the grill another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer all of the brochettes to a serving platter, and serve immediately.
Build a medium-sized fire in the grill.
Pour the oil onto a flat plate or platter. Add a pinch of salt, mix, and place the onions on the oil. Roll them around so they are coated.
When the coals are red and dusted with ash, spread them in a tight, single layer; they need to emit concentrated heat. Place the grill over them.
When the grill is hot, place the onions on it, cover, and grill until they are golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and repeat, testing them for tenderness, for a total grilling time of 8 to 10 minutes.
When the onions are tender, transfer them to a serving plate or platter. Season them with pepper, and they’re ready to go!