Chile Monkfish Skewers

Hope you’re ready to stoke up the barbecue because it’s only a box of sparklers away from the Fourth of July. And we all know a barbecue is a legal requirement on the 4th. Okay, maybe not a law that’s actually written down or something mentioned in the Constitution but it might as well be. So let’s get your shopping list sorted: warm beer, burned burgers and some dodgy potato salad with sun-kissed (aka food-poisoned) mayo. Top it off with ice cream that some numb-nut forgot to put in the freezer and you’re sorted.

Gonna be fun, right?

Or you could try – just try – and be classy for once in your life. Skip the beef and barbecue fish instead. Radical? Mad? Totally bonkers? Hear me out: monkfish is a dream to grill – full of flavour and firm enough to hold its own. Or you could use swordfish or splash out on tuna. Not feeling fishy? Go for chicken thighs. Put some rosé on ice to chill, crank the tunes and dazzle your guests.

Better yet, don’t invite any guests. Channel your inner curmudgeon. Just because you’ve got to barbecue doesn’t mean you have to share.

Serves 2-3

1 monkfish tail, skinned & boned, about 1 lb.

small knob of ginger, about ½ oz., peeled and finely grated

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

½ tsp turmeric

½ tsp chile molido powder hot

½ tsp Chimayo blend New Mexico chile

½ tsp salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil

zest and juice of 1 lime

To garnish (optional):

Chopped dill and/or cilantro

Lime wedges

Chile pequin

Mix the ginger, garlic, spices and salt together in a bowl, large enough to hold the fish. Add the olive oil, lime juice and zest and give it a good stir. Slice the monkfish into hefty chunks – about 1½” cubes, add to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for about an hour – no longer or the acid from the lime starts to ‘cook’ the fish.

Insert the chunks onto several skewers – if using wooden ones, make sure and soak them in water before hand. Grill over a medium hot fire, turning occasionally until all the sides are nicely charred. In total, about 8 minutes.

Serve with your choice of garnishes – you decide! Eat, enjoy and revel in summer.

Slow cooked chile tomatoes with burrata & basil

In life, there are classics. Think Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Or Bert and Ernie, if you’re more of a Sesame Street kind of person. Or peanut butter & jelly, for those of you who don’t get out of the house much.

The point is, there are certain combinations – pairings– that just sing. They work. They’re tried and tested. Are you with me?

Mozzarella and tomato salad is one such classic. It takes the very best mozzarella cheese, pairs it with the finest tomatoes and tucks in some fresh basil for good measure. A lick of extra virgin olive oil and you’re done. End of story, culinary happiness and everyone rides off into the sunset.

But we like to mess around with classics, here at the ranch. Not too much, but enough to give it the kiss of life. And no, I don’t mean mouth-to-mouth resuscitation – I’m talking about the kiss of chile. For this one, we top tomatoes with a mix of chile, a bit of brown sugar and some salt. Slow cook them in the oven until the flavor is intense and lip smackin’ good. Then plate them up with some burrata – kind of like mozzarella on steroids – basil leaves and you’re in business.

Any extra tomatoes can be placed in a glass jar, topped up with oil and popped in the fridge – ready for the next time you feel a classic coming on.

Preheat oven to 250°

3 lbs plum tomatoes

1 Tbsp mild chile molido

½ Tbsp hot chile molido

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sea salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways. Make a small v-shaped incision to remove any core. Place the tomatoes snugly together cut side up on a large baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over them.

Mix together the chile powders, brown sugar and salt and sprinkle over the tomato halves. You’ll probably have more chile powder mix then you’ll need but stop complaining – you can dust it on pasta, mix some with mayonnaise for a sandwich or keep it in a jar for your next batch of tomatoes.

Cook the tomatoes for a couple of hours, then gently flip the halves so they’re now cut side down. Cook for a couple hours more – we’re talking 4-6 hours in total. They should have lost most of their moisture.

Serve with burrata (or plain old mozzarella), some basil leaves, and a healthy glug of olive oil and a few flakes of chile pequin, if you’re so inclined.

 

Caramelized chile pears & pecans

Well it’s official. And we knew it was coming. It’s like your mother-in-law who comes around every Christmas whether you invite her or not. It’s Autumn. Or Fall. Call it what you will. It’s officially here and it’s not going anywhere for awhile.

Come to think of it, you ask, why do we call it Fall? Well our good friend, the world wide web has a thing or two to say about this. Apparently, Fall comes from the Old English feallan which means “to fall or to die”. Well isn’t that cheery? Eventually, some smart so-and-so shortened feallan to fall. The Brits stick with Autumn while we say Fall.

And there you have it. Death. Fall means death. Summer is done and dusted and Fall is here with lots of dead things. Like leaves that fall faster than you can shake a rake at. Or that tomato plant that’s on its last hurrah. It’s over folks. Hunker down like a hibernating bear because this is it until Spring.

But hold on. It’s not that depressing, is it? Fall is pumpkins. And fires in the fireplace. And that cold nip in the air that makes you breath in deeper. It’s Halloween and that obnoxious kid from down the street who always tries to grab all the candy but you get there first and yank the bowl away. C’mon, you love. You know you do.

And finally we can cover up the BBQ and quit pretending we like to blacken everything, including our eye brows. We can go inside and turn on the oven without passing out from the heat. We can eye the box of Christmas decorations and wonder if it’s really naughty if we put the Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving this year.

And there are pears and caramel and red chile. And heck, if that’s not enough to get you smiling, then I don’t know what is.

Carmelized chile pears & pecans

4 pears

¼ cup brown sugar

2 oz. unsalted butter

¼ cup pecans

½ tsp Chile Molido Powder Hot

Pinch of salt

squeeze of lemon

COYO Coconut Milk Yogurt

Place the butter and sugar in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the chile, salt and pecans.  Slice the pears in quarters or sixths (depending on the size) and add to the mixture. Stir gently to coat. Continue to cook until the pears are tender but still retain their shape. Add a generous squeeze of lemon, taste and add more chile if you so desire.

Place a healthy serving of COYO into four bowls and divide the pears equally (well not equally, give yourself more) along with the caramel sauce. Devour and go to bed, it’s Fall for heaven’s sake.