Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grilled Texas Sushi; "Oscar Roll!"

Ok, I'm not going to lie, this is a big recipe!  When I first described the concept to my buddy Jarrod a month or two ago, he asked, "Aren't you flying a bit too close to the sun, Icarus?"  He knows how to challenge me...  Anyway, I had this idea that sushi didn't have to be all about fish and rice.  What if you flattened out a Filet and stuffed it with lump crab meat or shrimp, some asparagus, seasoned it, then rolled it up, wrapped it in bacon, grilled it lightly, then smoked it over indirect heat and ultimately buried it in Hollandaise sauce and garnished it with crispy bacon bits and diced jalapeno? 

I tried it today... There are MORE of these in my future, I will tell you.  Probably tomorrow....  Please read through this entire article before you venture into your kitchen.  You'll need to set your brain to thinking about it.

You will need:

  • 1 small Filet Mignon (4 or 6 oz is best, thin cut)
  • 4oz (small handful) of fresh (not pre-cooked) shrimp or lump crab meat
  • 2 slices of THIN bacon with a lot of fat on it
  • Seasoning:
    • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
    • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
    • 1 Tbsp high quality chili powder
    • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1/2 Tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 large batch of Hollandaise sauce
  • 2 or 3 fresh sprigs of asparagus

First, go outside and run about 5 miles because that's how much energy you'll have to burn to safely consume one of these beauties!  Personally, I opted for a cup of coffee rather than the run. Personal preference....  This recipe makes one roll, because it was an experiment for me.  I came up with this one completely from scratch  and I wanted to make sure it worked, to see how much time it took, etc, before I started making them a dozen at a time.  You'll have some ingredients left over, like the seasoning and the rest of your Hollandaise.  Sorry.... Adjust accordingly.

When you're back from your run (or your coffee break), whip up a batch of Hollandaise.  This is a standard recipe that is easily googled (bow your head and say a quick "Thanks" to the French or this).  Pour the whole batch into a pre-heated food or drinking Thermos and set it aside.  Hollandaise is a pain in the ass (leave it to the French...), it pouts and separates and sticks and settles and has to be constantly whisked and kept at a consistent temperature.  This is fine if you have a sou-chef to handle it for you, or you could just pour it into a Thermos where it will keep for hours.  Trust me, you'll have better things to do than to time your Hollandaise perfectly to the meat coming off the grill...

Now, go outside and build a fire in your grill/smoker.  You'll want a nice white hot bed of coals to work with.  Once your fire is going, come inside and pound your meat!!  It's all very exciting.  Start with your standard, garden variety petite filet and cover it, top and bottom, with a large piece of plastic-wrap.  Then, using the smooth side of your meat mallet, gently but firmly pound the meat from the outside edges in, until it's as thin as you can get it, without splitting it apart. 
Be patient.  Do NOT just pound the crap out of it or it will tear and split!  Notice the before and after pictures here.  Next, you'll want to rotate the steak to your best advantage for stuffing.  In this case, look at the picture on the left and notice that I have a nice long "edge" on the side by the Sharpie.  That's the edge I'll pack my shrimp into for rolling.  Speaking of shrimp....

Clean, peel, and bring a small handful of shrimp up to room temperature.  This is important because you're only going to cook it for one minute!  If they're super cold, they'll just bring down the temperature of the water and not get any cooking time in.  Drop them into boiling water and cook them for 60 seconds, no more, no less.  They won't be completely cooked, but they'll have a good head start.  Then, take them out of the boil and shock them in an ice bath of super cold water to stop the cooking process.  Let them swim and chill out for another minute.

Now, chop them coarsely as shown.  If you're using lump crab meat, you won't have any chopping to do... I like them coarsely chopped and they sure roll better this way, so take the time to do it.

My buddy Karl gave this Ulu curved knife from Alaska... it chops like hell and is an awesome knife to have in the arsenal.  I haven't cut myself with it yet, either!

Time to roll!  Place your shrimp on the side you chose to start rolling from, and add your springs of asparagus on top.  Put all of your spices together into a shaker and mix them up thoroughly.  Season the shrimp and the steak at this point, giving the whole thing a good shake.  Keep the rest of your seasoning for the 5 or 6 of these rolls that you'll be cooking for your friends later...  Now, roll it up tightly, taking care to tuck in the sides as you're rolling.

You're looking for a nice tight roll, with sealed edges.  The most common mistake I will predict is "over-stuffing."  It's tempting, I know, but don't do it!  You want an even roll so that it all cooks evenly and the heat gets to everything inside at a consistent rate.  What now?  Well, wrap it in bacon, of course!!

Take your two thin pieces of bacon and stretch them out.  This is why you bought cheap, thin bacon!  The temptation is to always get thick bacon... don't get me wrong, I *LOVE* thick bacon, but when it comes to wrapping foods to render fat and keep them moist, you can't beat the stretchy, flexibility and "sticky" quality that thin bacon has.  I'd use caul-fat netting, but that's pretty hard to come by if you don't know a good butcher who loves you.  Wrap one piece around from left to right, spiraling as you go, then use the other piece to back from right to left.  Season it and use a couple of toothpicks to hold it together.

Head out to the fire!  You want to sear it first, over super high heat for about 60 seconds on each side.  I have a fire-grate in my firebox so this was easy for me.  If you're running a pellet grill, I'm not sure what to tell you.  If you're running a YODER pellet grill, it has a sear setting so you'll be good to go. Regardless, you'll need to find a "hot side" somewhere on your grill to crisp up the bacon and get the ball rolling.

Then, onto the smoker!  Place the roll in a smoker at 225 degrees and insert a reliable temperature probe so that the tip is right in the center.  Close your smoker and leave it in there at 225 for about thirty minutes or until the center hits 130 degrees. 

Now, take it off and cover it with foil to let it rest.  While it's resting, take your crispy bacon out of the fridge, heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, and coarsely chop it into bacon bits.  You *DO* have bacon in your fridge, right?  Already cooked for such an occasion?  I certainly do... You can also take this opportunity to dice up a fresh Jalapeno chili.

Time to assemble the dish!  Place the roll in the middle of a plate.  Take the top off of your Thermos and pour on a generous helping of Hollandaise.  Let it cascade down the sides of your "Sushi" roll and onto the plate.  Now, pull the toothpicks and gently slice it open in the center with a serrated knife.  Open the roll so folks can witness what's going on inside.  Garnish the top with a hefty sprinkling of coarsely chopped bacon  bits and dice Jalapeno.  Come on, how good is this:

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