Everything you’ve ever wondered about grilling, and then some, is answered in this photo-filled cookbook. Focusing on sustainable techniques, Seaver uses smoke as an ingredient and shows how to manipulate this flavor in everything from cocktails to soups to shellfish. Included in the basics are analysis of his favorite woods, a variety of salt mixes to complement the wine you are drinking, and a bevy of marinades, sauces and unique touches that are just genius. Grill masters and beginners alike can learn new methods, with a surplus of inventive recipes to try. Here is a sampling from the book.
Wood-Grilled Snap Peas with Smoky Aioli
When I was writing FOR COD AND COUNTRY, I included a recipe for aioli that I paired with pan-fried potatoes. In testing that recipe, I chose to make the aioli a little creamier by omitting some of the oil. Then, as I had all these batches of aioli around the house after recipe-testing sessions, I would add a little more oil to make it thick and voluminous and use it as a dip for whatever vegetables I had in the fridge, as well on sandwiches and in soups, pink salmon salad … just about everything.
Vickie Reh, one of the best chefs in DC and a good friend, serves a similar sauce with grilled young fava beans—the combination is incredible. In this version, I use sugar snap peas, but feel free to grill up almost any kind of vegetable—green beans, asparagus, young carrots, parsnips, whatever looks good at the market—and serve it with a crock of this smoky mayonnaise on the side. Note: You might be tempted to toss the snap peas with a little oil before grilling them; don’t. If the peas are given even a light coating of oil, the mayonnaise will slip off when you go to dip them. Also, be sure to use farm-fresh eggs for the mayo.—Barton Seaver
GRILL THE SUGAR SNAP PEAS
1 LB sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
Place the snap peas in a grill basket and set it directly over the coals of a small charcoal and wood chip fire. Grill until they begin to char and soften, 5 to 7 minutes, tossing them as necessary.
make the smoky aioli
1 large egg yolk
1 TB smoked sweet paprika
2 TB orange juice
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 CUPS canola oil
Place the egg yolk, paprika, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, and a healthy pinch of salt into a blender. Purée, making sure that the garlic is well incorporated. With the blender running on low speed, gradually add the oil in a steady stream. Do this very slowly at first to make sure that it is being incorporated. As the sauce begins to come together, you can gradually increase the flow of oil, but have patience; if you add it too quickly, the mayonnaise will break. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a few drops of cold water to thin it. Once all the oil is added, adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Place the grilled snap peas next to a crock of the aioli and serve immediately. Any leftover aioli can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to a week.
—Reprinted with permission from Where There’s Smoke © 2013 by Barton Seaver, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Katie Stoops.
See the complete menu and strategies for hosting weekend guests in style: 06 Three Day Party