'High Heat' Chef

Waldy Malouf is no stranger to our Chef on a Shoestring challenge.

Malouf admits he's always loved playing with fire, ever since he roasted his first marshmallow. Since then fire and food have captured his imagination, which is good for all of us.

He is the executive chef at Beacon restaurant in New York, where his menu is centered around a wood-burning oven. He is also the author of a new cookbook, "High Heat."

Malouf lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. He co-wrote "High Heat" with popular food writer Melissa Clarke.

(Click here to read an except from "High Heat.")

Malouf's first cookbook, "The Hudson River Valley Cookbook," (published in 1998) was nominated for an IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award. He is also one of the founders of the "Windows Of Hope" foundation, which benefits food, beverage and hospitality workers who died in the World Trade Center. Malouf worked with many of those who died at the towers' Windows On The World restaurant.

On The Saturday Early Show, Malouf created a three-course meal for four for $30.

The menu: an appetizer of Grilled Summer Vegetables; an entrée of Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic served with Spicy and Sweet Pepper Potato Salad; and for dessert, Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar and Roquefort.

Recipes:

Grilled Summer Vegetables
Excerpted from HIGH HEAT, Broadway Books, May 2003
By Waldy Malouf and Melissa Clark
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal
1 Asian eggplant or 2 small Italian eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal
1 large tomato, halved and seeded
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large Portobello mushroom cap, sliced into 4 strips
chopped fresh basil for garnish

Light the grill or preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to whisk until smooth. Set aside half of this dressing.

Place the zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant slices in a large bowl. Place the tomato, onion and mushroom slices in 3 separate bowls. Drizzle enough of the remaining dressing into each bowl to coat the vegetables and toss well.

On the Grill:
Lay the vegetables on the grill (or use a grill basket) and grill, turning occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, removing each vegetable when it is soft and browned.

In the Oven:
Lay the vegetables in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets and roast, tossing occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, removing each vegetable when it is soft and browned.

Serve the vegetables on a platter, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, drizzled with the reserved dressing and garnished with basil.


Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic
Excerpted from HIGH HEAT, Broadway Books, May 2003
By Waldy Malouf and Melissa Clark
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
3 heads garlic, halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish
1 flank steak (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the halved garlic heads and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain well. Place the garlic in a small oven-proof dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the dish with foil and roast for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven to 325 degrees F and continue to roast until the garlic is completely tender (about 35 to 45 minutes). Microwave the garlic instead, if you wish.

Let the garlic cool slightly, then squeeze the cloves from their skins into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the garlic into a rough puree and stir in the chopped rosemary. Season with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper.

Using a sharp knife, lightly score the steak across the grain at 1/4-inch intervals on both sides. Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. Set aside half of the rosemary-garlic paste and rub the rest all over the steak. Wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap. If you are pressed for time, let the meat marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or, preferably, refrigerate it for 4 hours or overnight.

Light the grill or preheat the broiler.

On the Grill:
Place the meat on the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for rare.

In the Oven:
Put the meat in a broiler pan and place it as close to the heat source as possible. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes for rare.

Transfer the steak to a board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the steak to reabsorb the juices. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining garlic-rosemary puree with the mustard.

To serve, slice the meat into 1/4-inch slices on a diagonal across the grain. Serve with the garlic-rosemary mustard, garnished with the rosemary sprigs.


Spicy and Sweet Pepper Potato Salad
Excerpted from HIGH HEAT, Broadway Books, May 2003
By Waldy Malouf and Melissa Clark
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 and 3/4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the peppers
coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 hot chile such as Serrano, Thai bird or Scotch bonnet
1 and 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped black Moroccan oil-cured pitted olives for garnish (optional)
2 anchovies, chopped, for garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Lettuce leaves for serving (optional)

Preheat the broiler or light the grill. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

In the Oven:
Halve the bell peppers and chile lengthwise. Seed and stem them, then spread them, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the pepper skins with olive oil. Broil the peppers as close to the heat source as possible, until well charred, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer the peppers to a large bowl and cover with a plate. Let steam for 5 minutes. Turn the broiler off and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning every 5 minutes, until crisp on the outside and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

On the Grill: Lightly brush the whole bell and hot peppers with oil and grill them, turning, until charred on all sides, about 5 minutes for the chile and up to 15 minutes for the bell peppers. Immediately transfer the peppers to a large bowl and cover with a plate. Let steam for 5 minutes.

Spread the potatoes on the grill (or use a grilling basket) and cook them with the grill cover on, turning occasionally, until crisp on the outside and cooked through (about 15 minutes).

Peel the peppers using a spoon or your fingers. Be sure to wear gloves while working with the chile. Seed and stem the peppers if necessary and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil. In a large bowl, toss the warm potatoes with the peppers and enough of the dressing to coat the vegetables. Gently mix in the hard-cooked eggs, olives, and anchovies, if using. Taste and add more dressing and/or salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature on lettuce leaves.


Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar and Roquefort
Excerpted from HIGH HEAT, Broadway Books, May 2003
By Waldy Malouf and Melissa Clark
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 large ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F or light the grill.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar with 2/3 cup of water and the vanilla bean and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 2 minutes, then set aside.

Score the peach halves with an X-mark on their skin sides. Put them in a large bowl and add the sugar syrup, vanilla bean and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Place the almonds in a small pan with a heat-proof handle.

In the Oven:
Arrange the peaches skin side down in a single layer in a 9-inch by 13-inch roasting pan. Pour the balsamic syrup over the peaches and roast, basting once or twice (for 8 minutes). Turn the peaches over and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the peaches are soft and their skins look caramelized. Meanwhile, place the pan of almonds in the oven and toast, tossing them frequently, until they are golden and fragrant (about 3 to 5 minutes).

On the Grill:
Let the peaches sit in the syrup for 15 minutes. Use tongs to pull the peaches from the syrup and place them on the grill, cut sides down. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes, basting with the balsamic syrup. Turn the peaches over and baste, filling their cavities with syrup. Grill for another 2 to 4 minutes, until the peaches are soft and the syrup has begun to caramelize. Place the pan of almonds on the grill and toast, shaking, until golden and fragrant (2 to 4 minutes).

To serve, place two peaches, skin side down, on each plate. Sprinkle with blue cheese, drizzle with more of the balsamic syrup and garnish with the toasted almonds.


Read an excerpt from "High Heat."

I've always loved playing with fire, ever since I incinerated my first marshmallow over a campfire as a kid. As I grew up, this fascination stayed with me, from the oyster roasts and barbecues of my high school and college years to the more refined techniques of brûléing and roasting in cooking school. No matter how the fire is applied, it seems to me that food cooked with very high heat always tastes best.

I think most people would agree that there are very few foods as compelling as a piece of meat or fish charred over open flames. Something almost magical happens: the skin contracts and crisps, turning crackling and brown; the juices drip and run; the flesh becomes sweet and intensely flavored. More than the complex sauces, seasonings, rubs, and techniques of my training as chef, searing temperatures unlock the boldest characteristics of foods, whether it's the savory crunch and flavorful juices of a roasted chicken, the musky taste of a grilled steak, or the melting sweetness of caramelized onions.

Another thing that I love about cooking with high heat is that it's sexy and exciting, especially compared to more moderate techniques like poaching. There is something primal and innately satisfying about cooking foods this way. In our hands-off, information-based culture, cooking food over an open fire brings people together. And given the omnipresence of outdoor and indoor grills and a national move toward simpler, more healthful foods, it's exactly how people today want to eat.

Since these are the flavors that I love the most, writing High Heat was a natural and very personal process. This kind of cooking is the basis of the menu at my Beacon restaurants, and more important, it's how my family likes to eat at home. High-heat cooking is ideally suited to home kitchens and backyards. And it's also a very fast way to prepare any kind of meat, fish, vegetable, or even fruit, which is key when making dinner comes at the end of a long day and everyone's hungry (and isn't that always?). The methods here are simple, developed with the home cook in mind, and I made sure to test every recipe in a home kitchen and backyard.

"High Heat" isn't about cooking like a restaurant chef. But once you've tried a few recipes I hope you'll find that they make good use of the influences and ideas that inspire me at Beacon, yet are easily brought home, into your kitchen and backyard. If this book can encourage a sense of comfort and community and an enjoyment of the primal urges and flavors of open-fire and high-heat cooking, then it's doing its job.

Excerpted from HIGH HEAT, Broadway Books, May 2003
By Waldy Malouf and Melissa Clark

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