Monday, June 7, 2010

Summertime Grilling

I happen to be blessed to live in an area that has multiple farmer's markets. I can visit nearby downtown Kansas City and enjoy the oldest market in the area, full of vegetable and fruit vendors along with shops selling Middle Eastern, Italian or Vietnamese spices and products. Or I can go to the smaller neighborhood markets closer by but not as much variety. Recently I visited the Overland Park Farmer's Market to check out the early spring offerings. Mostly it was bright flowers and vibrant herbs. Lots of non-food items that didn't hold much interest to me but then again, they have sell something when it's too soon for veggies. Still lots of folks shopping and when you have a ready crowd, it's always good to whet their appetite. That's when I found, Rachel, one of the good chefs of the Culinary Center of Kansas City doing a dish demo. Set up with her little gas burner and lots of space to chop and talk, I found myself doing a Pavlov's dog routine. The recipe she was making was grilled bison with couscous salad. Oh yes, it looked good. But no samples at the table, oh no, smart people that they are the recipe was a ticket back at their store where you could get a sample and shop or maybe sign up for a cooking class. You know I'm all about the free sample. It was wonderful, with the bison sliced really thin and the sweet tang of dried cherries. Turns out the sample wasn't enough so I decided to make my own. Happily they post their recipes online so if you'd like to try it out here is the recipe: Grilled Bison Steak with Caramelized Onions & Spinach Couscous Salad.


First a couple of notes. While it doesn't say it in the recipe, use the Israeli or large grain couscous. The smaller grain is fine but with something as robust as grilled bison, the larger grain seemed more appropriate.

Even if you don't use the large grain couscous, definitely add the dried cherries. Since you're already going to be at Whole Foods buying your bison steaks, go ahead and pop for their dried cherries. They are addictive by themselves but they really make this dish sing. That grilled bison is a hearty contrast to spicy mustard dressing on the couscous and the sweet zing of the cherries. This is really a great summertime dish. The couscous salad can easily be made ahead of time. Set it out while the bison is grilling and it should be room temperature by the time your meat is done .

bison and couscous

Definitely not your normal backyard barbecue pasta salad but if you like breaking out of the rut of potato salad and hot dogs, this is the dish for you.


Making Space said...

ohmyGAWD. That looks incredible.

Sharon Rudd said...

Yippee - I am all over that bison steak! Isn't buffalo a wonderful lean meat? And the couscous is a perfect accompaniment. I think the type you're referring to is also sometimes called pearl couscous.

Let's hope this dish is not in fact way too healthy for the midwest. Support your local bison farmers if you've got 'em. Did you know there's a nationwide shortage of bison? Not sure how that's measured, but I'm guessing that means more people are becoming interested in eating it.

Dani said...

Happy Birthday Shamy Girl!!! Luv yah.

Buzz Kill said...

That really looks good and simple. I'll bet you could substitute venison or lamb for the bison. The couscous looks pretty easy to make too. Nicely done.

Big Shamu said...

I have to admit bison is really tasty. I've had ground bison but not the steak. I tried both cuts that the recipe suggested and both were excellent. Good flavor and lean like Eggy mentioned. I didn't know it was in short supply. We have a supplier here in KC, there was even a vendor at that Farmer's Market, he just didn't have any that day which is why I hit WF. I think venison or lamb would work also and yes Buzz, that salad is pretty easy to put together.

Aww Dani, thanks.

moi said...

Mmmmm . . . bison. With cherries, it's perfection.

P.S. Drop by Moi's place when you get a chance. I have just a small giftee for you until the real one is hunted down and sent :o)

Syd said...

Oh HELL yeah. Looks fabulous.

And there just HAS to a LLP post in here SOMEWHERE. You know what I'm talking about. ;)

Big Shamu said...

Syd, it's a hella of a lot more fun that looking for Waldo.

Going to Moi's for hopefully a pair of squirrel pelt slippers.

Heff said...

Happy Burfday, yo.

Sharon Rudd said...

Happy birthday, Shamy!

narrow kitchen table said...

I missed grilling a lot! It has been a long time. I am so inspired with your photos!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the shout out! We're having a wonderful time at the farmer's market, and I'm so glad that you enjoyed the recipe! Come by again and introduce yourself I'd love to chat!
Dean of Deliciousness
The Culinary Center of Kansas City

Big Shamu said...

Snort! How can I resist someone with the title the Dean of Deliciousness?