Tri-tip steak with a brussel sprout and pancetta side (and grilled corn! and tomato/cucumber salad!)

We eat a lot of grilled corn around these parts. Especially in the summer. It is a specialty of Hubs and often requested by friends and our extended family.

Our lovely au pair has family in town this month and, on the night her best friend arrived, we invited him to join us for dinner. I found a lovely looking tri-tip steak at the local natural food store, too. We also had some brussel sprouts and pancetta that was reaching its life limit. And, as said before, our tomatoes are abundant. With that, a meal was made.

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Ingredients:

The steak

  • one large tri-tip steak
  • soy sauce (about a 1/2 cup)
  • hoisin (two tablespoons)
  • tomato paste (about a tablespoon)
  • worchestshire sauce (about a tablespoon)
  • sesame oil (one tablespoon)
  • rice wine vinegar (one tablespoon)
  • brown sugar (two tablespoons)
  • lime zest
  • salt/pepper
  • lime juice (one lime)
  • grated fresh ginger (about one inch of a knob)

The brussel sprouts

  • one cup of cubed pancetta
  • one pound of brussel sprouts, ends cut off, outer leaves removed and cut in half
  • half of a vidalia onion, cut against the grain
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic
  • toasted pine nuts

The corn

  • as many ears of corn for as many people you have
  • one lime per four ears
  • sprinkling of salt

Tomato/cucumber salad

  • tomatoes from the garden, cut into rough chunks
  • two cucumbers peeled and cut into one inch chunks
  • basil to taste
  • balsamic to taste
  • salt/pepper

In a large glass baking dish, whisk all ingredients for the marinade (everything but the steak). Once thoroughly mixed, add the steak, fat side up, and let it sit, covered for as long as possible. Flip halfway through the amount of time you have available. I didn’t have too much time (about an hour) but it was still enough to get the flavors intermingled.

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While that marinates, cut your brussel sprouts and onion. In a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or grapeseed) and add the onions. When softening, add the pancetta and cook until done. Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon (leaving as much of their grease as possible) and put them on a paper towel to drain.

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Add in the cut sprouts, cut side down and let that cook until the cut side is browning. When you see a bit of brown, add a splash of wine and a splash of balsamic and mix until all are covered.  Once the sprouts are cooked, add the pancetta and onions back in to the sprouts. This is often best if it has been sitting for a bit in the pan, letting the flavors meld together. Heat up in the pan right before serving.

When ready to cook the tri-tip, turn on your grill to the lower temperature setting. You will use the burners for the corn and the steak will be on indirect heat, on the rack above. Grill the steak on the upper rack for 15 minutes on each side with the lid closed. When the internal temperature (using an insta-read) reaches 135, take it off and let it sit covered in tin foil for 15 minutes more.  While the steak is resting, turn the heat up on grill and put the corn on. Turn only when the kernels begin to char. When charred on all sides (about 15 minutes, but maybe quicker depending on the corn), squeeze a lime over the corn and sprinkle with parmesan.

Chop the tomatoes and cucumber and mix with basil and balsamic, salt and pepper. Turn the heat up high on the sprouts to quickly heat through. Add the pine nuts now (otherwise they can get soggy).  Slice the steak into thin slices and serve!  This tri-tip was so good that we made it again a few days later.

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Fish “Tacos” with Shaved Brussel Sprout, Apple and Pine Nut Salad

Hubs requested Fish Tacos last night and I was craving fish, too. But I had a MAJOR craving for something savory…so the side had to hit that note and still work with the mexican inspired flavoring on the fish. Also, since we are avoiding PPB&R, I decided to use lettuce “cups” as the torilla. The final meal? Cumin seasoned tilapia with cliantro and lemon wrapped in lettuce with shaved brussel sprouts, apple slices and toasted pine nuts.

Something you should know about me. I have ZERO issue with “short cuts”. If I find yummy “fixings” or frozen whatever that is healthy? I use it. Doesn’t apply here, but I have no problem with frozen broccoli, stir fry mix or peas, canned beets or corn, etc. And in this case? We’d just been to a great market and picked up delicious organic, fresh guacamole and salsa…neither of which were cooked by me 🙂

  • Brussel sprouts
  • 2 apples
  • 1 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 meyer lemon
  • 5 tilapia filets
  • Cilantro
  • Ground cumin
  • lettuce of choice for wrapping

Trim the brussel sprouts and then thinly slice lengthwise. Discard ends and outer leaves, put sliced sprouts in a big bowl and separate out the leaves. Toast pine nuts over medium heat, keeping constant watch until golden brown. I looked away for a second and burnt some of the pine nuts. Thankfully, only a few were inedible. Put them aside.

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Put a bit of canola oil in the pan (I didn’t want the olive oil to overpower the nuttiness of the pine nuts) and, once hot, add in the brussel sprouts. Let them cook down for a bit. While they are cooking, cut the apples halfwise, core and the slice into thin pieces.

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Meanwhile, sweat the tilapia with salt, pepper and sprinkle with cumin. This is also a good time to zest the lemon and set the zest aside.

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In batches, because the filets are usually quite large, saute the fish in olive oil until almost cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside. Cook the rest of the filets. Keep stirring the brussel sprouts, too. When those have wilted and are getting a more bright green, add a bit of balsamic and coat evenly.

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Once all of the fish is cooked mostly through, add all of the filet back in, breaking them into chunks. Add in the chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lemon onto the fish and add the zest. Mix thoroughly.

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With the fish finished, I put the salad together. The apples, pine nuts and brussel sprouts were combined in a big bowl and garnished with freshly grated parmigiana.

I set up a serving area on our table for people to make their own tacos. The salsa and guac were front and center. I had lettuce for wrapping the tacos up, too. Here is the finished plate.

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Mom’s Salmon

On Tuesday I made my “mom’s” salmon (she surely got it someplace fabulous but I don’t know the source) and it was easy and delish (and pleased my very picky with fish hubs):

  • skin on salmon filets (I cooked for 4 adults with some leftovers…so almost 3 lbs)
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup panko/breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain dijon
  • vegetable oil

First, preheat oven to 425. In a bowl mix panko, parsley, zest, salt/pepper. Drizzle mixture with oil until it is soft and combining. Heat vegetable oil in ovenproof pan (I had enough salmon that I had to use two pans — my cast iron and my stainless steel frying pan). With skin side down on a plate or cutting board, brush the salmon flesh thickly with mustard and then pat mixture on top (mine ended up about 1/2″ thick). Sear skin on the stovetop for about 3 minutes on med/high heat. Then put the pan in oven (being careful not the spill the oil) on a higher rack for 5-7 minutes (my salmon took a bit longer to cook but my oven SUCKS).

I sided it with sauteed brussels (with balsamic and white onion) and broccoli with parm, and all of the above covered with some toasted pine nuts.

No picture on this one (I stupidly deleted it) but let me tell you….it was GORGEOUS!