Grilled Beef Skewers with Green Chile Sauce

Lean into the heat with these spicy grilled steak skewers:

When the weather is hot and shouty, then why not shout back with skewers of fiery meat? These steak skewers are not only cooked over a flame, they are bathed in a heady lime and garlic marinade that tenderizes and infuses the meat with bold flavor and kicking spice. And don’t stop there: Raise the flavor and heat bar further by serving the skewers with a feisty sauce inspired by Zhoug, a green herb condiment hailing from the Middle East. It’s a heat-spiked herbaceous blend that’s a cross between chimichurri and harissa – arguably a match made in heaven. You can keep the steaks in large pieces, or, better yet, cut into strips and thread on skewers for fun party food. Serve the sauce on the side, so the meat can be dabbed or generously swiped – leave it up to your heat threshold to dictate the amount. 

Skirt steak, flank steak, or hanger steak are great cuts that love a marinade, which helps to tenderize their natural toughness. When cutting the meat into strips, be sure to slice across the grain (the way that the muscle fibers are aligned). By doing this, you will cut up the muscle fibers which would otherwise increase chewiness. Grill the meat quickly over direct high heat for best results.

Grilled Skirt Steak Skewers with Green Chile Sauce

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes plus 4 to 6 hours marinating time
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course

Marinade:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds skirt steak, cut against the grain in 1 inch strips

Sauce:
1 large poblano pepper, stemmed, coarsely chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 cup (packed) cilantro sprigs
1 cup (packed) Italian parsley sprigs
1/2 cup (packed) mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare:
1. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place the steak strips in a resealable plastic bag or glass container with a lid. Pour the marinade over and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

2. Make the sauce: Place the peppers and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the cilantro, parsley, mint, lime juice, cumin, and salt and process to blend. With the machine running, add the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is thick but pourable. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if desired.

3. Remove steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Thread the strips on pre-soaked bamboo skewers and discard the marinade.

4. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Grill the skewers over direct heat until charred and cooked to your desired doneness, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Serve with
 the spicy green chile sauce.

Grilled Halibut and Vegetable Skewers

Maximize char-grilled flavor by skewering your fish:

Grilled Fish and Vegetable Skewers

Weekends are made for grilling, and this weekend was no different. California halibut is in season, and while halibut’s firm flesh is ideal for roasting thick filets on the grill, I prefer to cut the fish into chunks, quickly marinate them, and thread on skewers. By doing this, more of the fish flesh is exposed to the flavors of the marinade, and there are more edges and corners exposed to the flames of the grill to crisp and char (which are the best bits). I like to thread the fish with vegetables, such as colorful bell peppers and onion. The vegetables add flavor to the fish and bright color and freshness to the skewers – plus they are a great way to stretch pricey fish to feed a crowd.

The key to these skewers is the marinade, which has an unlikely ingredient: coarsely grated yellow onion. The onion pulp and juice add natural sweetness and bite to the marinade and nicely balance its salt and acidity. Any thick firm-flesh fish, such as halibut, tuna, swordfish, can handle a longer marinating time, upwards of 2 hours, but 30 minutes to 1 hour is sufficient to infuse flavor.

When assembling the skewers, make sure all of the ingredients are cut in uniform size, 1 to 1 ¼ inches, including any vegetables that may be threaded along with the fish, to ensure even cooking. Bamboo skewers should be soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes before assembling. This will help to prevent them from burning while grilling.

Grilled Halibut and Vegetable Skewers

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour for marinating plus 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

Marinade:
1/4 cup coarsely grated yellow onion with juices, about 1/2 small onion
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds halibut, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 red, yellow, and/or green bell peppers, seeded, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut in 1-inch chunks
Parsley sprigs for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedges for serving

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the halibut chunks and gently turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

2. While the halibut is marinating, soak 8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers in warm water for at least 30 minutes.

3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Thread the fish on the skewers, beginning and ending with the halibut and alternating with onions and peppers. Lightly brush the vegetables some of the marinade.

4. Grill the skewers over direct medium heat, until the fish is charred in places and just cooked through, about 8 minutes, turning as needed. Arrange the skewers on a serving platter, garnish with parsley sprigs and serve warm with lemon wedges.

Pomegranate Chicken Skewers with Yogurt, Mint, and Pistachios

pomegranate chicken skewer tastefood
The secret ingredient in this recipe is pomegranate molasses, a viscous syrup made from the juice of pomegranates. Sweet, tart and sticky, it adds a unique flavor to marinades and sauces. I like to use it with chicken breast meat, because it gives a welcome flavor boost to the mild white meat, and the sugars help to caramelize the chicken while grilling. Pomegranate molasses is a popular Middle Eastern condiment, and can be purchased in the international section of your supermarket or at specialty stores.

I made these skewers for a cocktail party I catered a few weeks ago and posted a photo without a recipe on Facebook and Instagram. They were a huge hit with the guests – and my followers – and a number of you asked for the recipe. At last here it is.

Pomegranate Chicken Skewers with Pistachios and Mint
Serves 4 to 6

Marinade:
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

Sauce:
1 cup whole milk Greek style yogurt
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted pistachios
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

1. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside about 1/4 cup for basting. Place the chicken in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and stir to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
2. Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until use.
3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Thread the chicken on pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Grill the skewers over direct heat, basting once, then turn and continue to cook until the chicken is lightly charred and thoroughly cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning again as needed.
4. Arrange the skewers on a serving platter. Lightly drizzle with oil and sprinkle the pistachios and mint over the skewers. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Grilled Fish and Vegetable Skewers with Barramundi

Grilled Fish Skewers TasteFood

~ Grilled Fish and Vegetable Skewers with Barramundi ~

Weekends are made for grilling, and this weekend was no different. On the menu were these fish skewers with chunks of barramundi, sweet peppers and red onion. I’ve been having some fun with barramundi lately, generously provided by the folks at Australis who are raising barramundi in some of the world’s most innovative fish farms located in Massachusetts and Vietnam. Australis is considered to be a pioneer in the use of close-containment farming (systems that are considered the “gold standard” for sustainable aquaculture). Their greener way of farming has been recognized by leading environmental organizations, including Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, Environmental Defense, and Blue Institute, while their Smart Aquaculture practices have earned Australis the prestigious “Seafood Champion Award” by Seafood Choices Alliance. It’s no wonder they refer to their product as The Better Fish.

I enjoy the mild and buttery flavor of barramundi, and now I can attest to how well it holds up on the grill.  I used my favorite go-to marinade to coat the chunks of fish. Its secret ingredient is grated onion which adds a sweet and tangy depth of flavor that enhances the barramundi without overpowering its mild flavor.

Grilled Fish Skewers TasteFood

Grilled Fish and Veggie Skewers with Barramundi
This marinade works well with most firm-fleshed fish, including swordfish, halibut or salmon. Serves 4 to 5.

Marinade:
1/4 cup grated yellow onion, grated, with juices
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds barramundi, cut in 1 1/2″ chunks
1 red onion, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 large sweet red or yellow bell pepper, cut in 1-inch chunks

8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes or metal skewers.

Whisk the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add fish and gently turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (or preheat oven broiler.) Thread fish on skewers, alternating onion and peppers. Grill over direct medium-high heat, turning, until fish is charred and just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Arrange on a platter and garnish with parsley sprigs.

Australis’ barramundi is currently available in Northern California Costco stores. If you live elsewhere, check out the Australis Facebook page for your nearest retailer, updates and news on Australis Barramundi.

australis barramundi

Disclaimer: Australis provided me with a free sample of Barramundi for review purposes, and I am being compensated for this post via the NoshOnIt Partner Publisher Program. My opinions are entirely my own.

No-Fail Sriracha Marinade and a recipe for Grilled Chicken Skewers

No-Fail Sriracha Marinade and a recipe for Grilled Chicken Skewers

~ Grilled Chicken Skewers with Sriracha Lime Marinade ~

I would like to share my favorite no-fail marinade that will carry you through the summer grill season. It’s downright addictive with a blend of spicy Sriracha, tangy lime and thick Dijon mustard. I made this last week for a mess of shrimp we grilled up for our Solstice party, and they disappeared before you could say “Sriracha Shrimp.”  It left me craving more, so I made another batch the next day and used it to flavor these chicken skewers and another round of shrimp for an easy outdoor dinner party. What I love about this marinade is that it tastes great on everything it coats. Try it on skirt or flank steak, firm fleshed fish, portobello mushrooms and provencal vegetables. Just like a best friend, it won’t let you down. Continue Reading Grilled Sriracha Marinated Chicken Skewers

Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers with Spicy Green Pepper Sauce

Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers with Spicy Green Pepper Sauce

~ Chil-Lime Chicken Skewers with Spicy Green Pepper Sauce ~

A pedicure was the inspiration for this recipe. I rarely sit and thumb through a stack of fashion and lifestyle magazines – except when I am captive in a chair for a pedicure. As I picked up a well-read issue of O, I did what I always to with a magazine: I began at the back in search of recipes. And there I spied  an article with a recipe by Cat Cora for chicken kebabs.  Since my next stop was at the market to buy ingredients for a dinner, I immediately knew what I would make. With the image of the kebabs in mind, I came up with this recipe. Thanks to Cat and Oprah for the inspiration!

Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers with Spicy Green Sauce

There is big flavor and little effort in this recipe for Chili-Lime Chicken Skewers, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal. If you can, marinate the chicken for several hours or overnight and let the chili, lime and sriracha marinade do the flavoring work for you. While the chicken sits in the refrigerator, all you need is a few extra minutes to blitz the ingredients for the green sauce. Weeknight dining doesn’t get better than this. Serves 4-6.

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha or hot sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch chunks
Bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water 30 minutes

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together. Place chicken in a bowl and toss with marinade. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to 24 hours. Prepare grill for high heat. Skewer chicken on pre-soaked bamboo sticks; discard marinade. Grill over direct high heat until nicely charred on all sides and thoroughly cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve with Spicy Green Pepper Sauce.

Spicy Green Pepper Sauce

The beauty of this sauce is that you may use whatever fresh green herbs you have on hand and tinker with the flavor. It always tastes great. Try to make it a few hours before serving to let the flavors develop. Makes about 1 cup.

2 garlic cloves
1 small poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, to taste, coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh mint leaves
1 handful fresh oregano leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pulse all of the ingredients in a bowl of a food processor to achieve a chunky sauce. Taste for seasoning. (May be prepared up to 6 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate).

This post and recipe from TasteFood was featured in Women’s Health Blog: What We’re Reading.

 

On a Stick! and a recipe for Chinese Meatballs

~
Here’s the thing: It’s fun to eat with your hands, and Matt Armendariz has figured this out. In his new book On a Stick! it seems that every food you may think of is fair game for skewering. It might be simple:  Crudité Skewers with Latin Green Goddess Dressing or Caprese Sticks with Mozzarella, Basil and Tomatoes. It might be more complex: Deep Fried Ravioli or Spaghetti and Meatballs anyone? Or perhaps you are craving something sweet. How about Frozen Bananas Dipped in Chocolate or Strawberry Shortcake? Yes, that’s right – all on a stick.

On a Stick! puts the fun in food, taking ordinary and exotic recipes and sticking it to them, so to speak, along with an assortment of dipping sauces – because, after all, dipping a stick in a sauce, dressing, salsa or chutney is half the fun of eating food on skewers.  If you would like to enjoy a little simple pleasure, if you need to entice your kids to eat their veggies, or if you wish to invite your 20 closest friends to a party, you will appreciate this book.  There’s something in it for everyone, and fun doesn’t get more tasty than this.

~
For my first recipe, I tried the Chinese Meatballs, which are a spicy, savory concoction of ground turkey, cilantro and spices. Fragrant with ginger and garlic, these addictive little morsels are served with a sweet and sour chili sauce. I pan fried them rather than deep fried them before dutifully skewering with bamboo sticks. And you know what? They really do taste better on a stick.

Chinese Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce
Makes about 12 meatballs

3/4 pound lean ground pork or turkey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons peeled and minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands to thoroughly combine. Form into 12 small even balls. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the meatballs in one layer without overcrowding. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Skewer with toothpicks or bamboo sticks. Serve with Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minced lemon grass
1/2 bunch mint, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon seeded and minced red jalapeño
1 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger

Stir vinegar, sugar and lemongrass in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until sugar dissolves and liquid reduces by one-third. Strain into a bowl and cool completely. Stir in mint, cilantro, garlic, red jalapeño and ginger. Serve warm or at room temperature, alongside the meatballs.

Recipe reprinted with permission from On a Stick! Written and photographed by Matt Armendariz. Published by Quirk Books.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of On a Stick! from Quirk Books.