Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rosemary Skewers

The piney aromas of rosemary pair particularly well with grilled meats
and Mediterranean flavors. The herb is a wonderful addition to
focaccia bread, lamb roasts and chicken dishes. However, rosemary is
also one of the few herbs that can do double duty as both a flavoring
and as a skewer. Using rosemary as skewers imparts a great deal of
flavor to roasted or grilled meats and vegetables. Try skewering
chicken with cherry tomatoes and Greek olives, or lamb with eggplant
and bell peppers or even chunks of feta cheese. In this preparation, I
used large cubes of beef in a simple marinade.

1 1/2 pounds grassfeed bison/beef tenderloin or sirloin, at least 1-inch think
10 to 12 rosemary sprigs
5 to 6 garlic cloves
olive oil

Select rosemary sprigs that are 6 to 8 inches long with a woody stem.
Examine each sprig and look for the place where the stem goes from
being soft, green and pliable to more rigid and woody. With one hand,
grasp the sprig at this spot while stripping the leaves downward from
the woody portion with the other hand. (Reserve the stripped leaves
for that focaccia bread or for stuffing a roasted chicken.)

Cut your meat into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Marinate at least 15 minutes
with about five cloves of minced garlic, about a 1/4-cup of olive oil
and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper (adjust these seasonings to
taste). Stir to coat the beef evenly with all the seasonings.

Carefully skewer two or three chunks of meat on each rosemary sprig,
leaving at least a 1/4 inch between. To make this job easier, you can
whittle the end of the rosemary sprig to a slight point or pierce the
meat through with the tip of a paring knife. To prevent the rosemary
sprigs from burning, they can be wrapped in foil before cooking. I,
however, am not so finicky.

Once your skewers are all prepared, they can be grilled outdoors
(charcoal or mesquite briquets lend a wonderful smoky flavor) or on
the stove top using a grill pan. They can also be roasted in a
400-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. This time, I pan fried the
skewers in a piping hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil.
Three to five minutes per side allowed the meat to sear and just cook
through for medium doneness.

Serve with pita bread and a green salad for an easy spring or summer dinner.

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