Grilled Asparagus with Bacon, Brie, and Crunchy Quinoa

Ingredients

Brie bechamel

  • 5 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)

Asparagus

  • 1/4 cup steamed red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1 bunch jumbo asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 or 5 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives, for garnish

Recipe

1 Set a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Place the bacon in the hot pan and cook, turning as needed, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spook, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

2 Add the flower to the bacon fat in the pan and mix together to make a roux. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Fold in the cubed Brie and remove the pan from the heat so the cheese softens slightly but doesn't melt completely. Set aside. (Don't add the Brie until the sauce is completely smooth; if you add it to early, the Brie will get too hot and "break," which'll leave you with gloppy sauce.

3 Meanwhile, place the cooked quinoa and the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until golden and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside in the pan.

4 Preheat a grill to high. While the grill is heating, remove and discard the woody ends of the asparagus stems. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill until well charred all over, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

5 Transfer to a large bowl. While still hot, add half of the bacon and all of the Brie béchamel sauce. Toss well to coat the asparagus evenly.

6 Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle with the toasted red quinoa and the remaining bacon. Garnish with the chives and serve. 

TIP: For real asparagus flavor and texture, you want something about the width of a thick pencil. And when they're going to be grilled, as in this recipe, make sure they're even thicker, so they can stand up against the heat of the fire. 

 

Paired with the 2014 Estate Pinot Noir

From Guy Fieri's 2016 cookbook "Fieri Family Food"  available here

Balsamic BBQ Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch to season the vegetables
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups Beef Stock (low sodium)
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses 
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup minced chives, for garnish

Recipe

1 Season the short ribs with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker over high heat until hot. Add the ribs and sear well on all sides until nice and brown, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2 Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Sauté the vegetables until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Deglaze the pan by adding the wine and beef stock and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

3 Tie the rosemary and thyme together tightly with kitchen twine and add them to the pot along with the vinegar, BBQ sauce, molasses, brown sugar, and chili flakes. Stir well to combine and make sure the sauce just covers the short ribs; add a little water if necessary. 

4 Cover with the pressure cooker lid and securely lock it in place according to your pressure cooker’s directions. Increase the heat to high and bring the cooker to high pressure; you can tell it’s there by the steam escaping from the valve or a high-pitched whistling noise. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a steady, consistent pressure 

5 Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let the pressure come down for 10 minutes. If the cooker has a dedicated steam or pressure release valve, carefully discharge any remaining gentle pressure by releasing it. If the cooker has just the top pressure regulator, wait for the cover lock to release, then carefully remove the regulator cap. Let the pot stand for 3 to 4 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.

6 Transfer the short ribs to a tray, taking care to keep the meat and bones attached (they will be tender and can fall off if not handled gently). Let cool completely, then refrigerate until well chilled.

7 Meanwhile, place the pressure cooker over medium-high heat and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the sauce is thick and syrupy, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Remove the balsamic BBQ sauce from the heat and set aside.

8 Preheat a grill to medium-high.

9 Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Grill the ribs meat side down until lightly crisped and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the ribs over, then baste with the balsamic BBQ sauce. Cook for 1 minute, then turn and baste rapidly 2 or 3 more times until the sauce has coated the ribs and is thick and sticky but not burned. Transfer to a serving platter when completely glazed.

10 Garnish with sliced chives and serve with extra sauce on the side. 

Paired with the 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel

From Guy Fieri's 2016 cookbook "Fieri Family Food"  available here