October Blog

Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Lemon Saffron Aioli

Black-and-Blue Sashimi Tuna Steaks with Wasabi-Soy Dipping Sauce

Grilled Vegetables

It’s Indian summer and I look forward to the days of “feels like summer” every fall. Besides being the most beautiful time of year, it allows me at least one more night of grilling out seafood and lighter fare before I go whole hog into squash and pumpkins and sage.

This menu has 3 of my favorite things.  Grilled shrimp with a rich garlicky aioli dipping sauce, a “Black & Blue” rare in the inside tuna steak and the end-of-summer/early fall Greenmarket vegetables—all you need is olive oil, salt and pepper and the magic of the grill to make the best grilled veggies that anyone has ever tasted!  Buy what you like and follow the simple instructions to great grilling—and I won’t say a word if you sneak in some early delicata squash or some new apples!

Happy Fall!

Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Lemon Saffron Aioli

Grilling Method: Direct/Medium Heat


Juice and zest from 1 large lemon about 3 tablespoons

¼             teaspoon saffron stems, crumbled and dissolved in a little lemon juice

6              large cloves garlic, roughly chopped about ¼ cup

1              heaping tablespoonDijonmustard

1              whole egg

1              egg yolk

1 ½         cups vegetable oil, plus a little extra if needed

1              cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil

½             teaspoon kosher salt


24           Jumbo shrimp in the shell, not E-Z Peel shrimp

2              tablespoons Olive oil

2              tablespoons Morton Kosher salt or use coarse sea salt

1 ½      teaspoons coarse ground pepper, preferably freshly ground


Make the Aioli: In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine lemon juice, saffron and garlic and pulse until garlic is pureed and saffron is dissolved (about 15 seconds).  Add the mustard and pulse again until combined.  Add the egg, egg yolks and lemon zest and process for 10 seconds, (if you are concerned about the raw eggs, use pasteurized eggs). Very slowly add the oil in a trickle through the feeding tube of the food processor until sauce is thick and well combined (emulsified).  As the aioli becomes thicker, the machine sounds more like a purr than a whirr and you know it is done.  If you like a firmer texture, add a little more oil, if you like your sauce softer, stop at the 2 ½ cups.  Add the salt and process until well combined.   If the aioli seems like it needs a little salt, resist the urge because the shrimp will more than compensate.  Set aside.  Note:  You may have some leftover aioli but once you’ve tasted it, you’ll want to slather it on everything from grilled asparagus to a ham sandwich!  It will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

Meanwhile, prepare the shrimp.  If frozen, thaw in cold running water just before cooking.  Blot shrimp dry and place in a large non-reactive bowl.  Toss with the olive oil to coat lightly all over. Just before putting on the grill, mix the salt and pepper together and sprinkle evenly over the shrimp and toss well to make sure each shrimp is thoroughly coated in a crust of salt and pepper.

Place the shrimp in the center of the cooking grate, 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the shrimp is pink and the flesh is opaque (white).   When cool enough to touch, peel shells with fingers and serve immediately with aioli.

Serves 4-6

Fishmonger tip: It is important that you use the largest shrimp you can buy.  The difference in price is only a couple of dollars a pound.  The larger shrimp will be more tender, and large enough to benefit from this crusting technique.  With smaller shrimp, you run the risk of disturbing the balance between salt and shrimp meat. 

Black-and-Blue Sashimi Tuna Steaks with Wasabi-Soy Dipping Sauce

Grilling Method: Direct/High Heat

1          tablespoon dark brown sugar
1          teaspoon dried ginger
1          teaspoon kosher salt
2          cloves garlic, minced or pureed
4          2-inch thick sashimi-grade tuna, toro or yellowtail  fillets (cut from center piece of             tuna)
Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper

Dipping Sauce:

1          tablespoon Wasabi powder
1          tablespoon fresh grated ginger

½         cup low-sodium soy sauce
Zest and Juice of one orange

Combine sugar, garlic, ginger and salt to make a rub. Set aside. Coat fish with olive oil and rub liberally with spice mixture. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by combining all the ingredients and mix well. Set aside. Place fish directly on the cooking grates and grill for 5-10 minutes, about 3 minutes on each side.  If the tuna pieces are shaped more like a cube, sear on all the sides that are exposed. Ideally, remove the fish when it is seared on the outside and still a bit cool in the center, about 5 minutes total cooking time.  Cook longer if you prefer it more done.

Remove from grill and serve with Wasabi Soy Dipping Sauce.

Serves 4

Grilled Greenmarket Vegetables

1.  Slice all vegetables at least ½ -inch thick.  If the vegetables are small, grill whole and chop after they have been grilled or thread on a soaked bamboo skewer before grilling.

2.  Coat the vegetables with a thin layer of olive oil.  Use my plastic bag trick to do the job quickly and efficiently.  Plastic Bag Trick:  Place the sliced vegetables in a re-closeable plastic bag; only fill the bag half-way full.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the vegetables, about 1-2 tablespoons.  Seal the bag and massage the vegetables to coat with oil.

3.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt or sea salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.  The salt is essential since it will help to draw out the natural sugars and promote caramelization.  I prefer Morton kosher salt for grilled food because it is larger grained and it doesn’t melt as quickly as Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

4.  Preheat your gas grill or wait until your charcoal is covered with gray ash; and reduce the heat to medium or else the vegetables will burn on the outside and be raw on the inside.  Make sure your cooking grates are clean.

5.  Place vegetables on the grill going the opposite direction of the cooking grates.  This will prevent the veggies from falling through the grates.

6.  Turn with a pair of locking chef tongs, I recommend the 12-inch OXO tongs.  Slide the tongs gently under the center of the food in the thickest part when turning.

7.  Turn only once halfway through the cooking time.

8.  Remove veggies when they are crisp tender, they will continue to cook a little once they come off the grill

9.  Taste the grilled vegetables while still hot and if they need more salt, add a bit while still warm.  Do not try to season the vegetables once they have cooled.

10.  Experiment with all kinds of vegetables.  Even Brussels sprouts taste better from the grill.

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a food fanatic and the Grill Girl from North Carolina who has seasoned, basted and tasted my way across the country. Please join me on my non-stop, culinary journey...

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