Labor Day’s already over, a week behind us, and you probably think you’re done with barbecues until next year. You’ve spent the past two (three?) months reluctantly pigging out with wrinkled beef franks and shoe-sole patties prepared by self-proclaimed Grill Masters who swear by their kerosene-soaked charcoal briquettes. You’ve hung out in 100+ temperatures next to a burning hot charcoal fire when you could have been inside sitting in front of the AC. You’ve guzzled all the mediocre beverages that marketing campaigns have disguised as summer drinks just because they need to be served ice-cold (I’m looking at you, Provence rosé).
There is a better barbecue life out there, and it’s not too late! And no, I’m not talking about tailgating season.
Part of the secret of mastering the barbecue lies in coming up with new foods to grill — you can only eat so many burgers and hot dogs in your life. Last year, I blogged about Stalik’s Shashlyk Five Fingers. This time, here’s a shashlyk that’s less intimidating and simpler to prepare, made of the meaty combination of skirt steak and eggplant.
Skirt steak and eggplant rolls
Yields about 4 servings
36 oz skirt steak
2.8 oz olive oil
12 oz Japanese eggplants, cut into 1/4″ slices
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1.4 oz breadcrumbs
- Cut the skirt steak into 6″-7″ long pieces. If some of the pieces are thicker than 3/8″, pound them slightly between two pieces of plastic wrap.
- In a pan over high heat, sear the steak pieces in a little bit of olive oil until brown on both sides but still raw inside. Do not season with salt. Proceed in several batches to avoid overcrowding your pan, and reserve.
- Season the eggplant slices with the salt on both sides. In a pan over medium heat, sauté in olive oil until brown on both sides. Again, proceed in batches. Eggplants can absorb a lot of oil, but make sure not to go over my recommended amount too much. Reserve.
- Place each piece of skirt steak on a sheet of plastic wrap. Brush with beaten egg, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover with one (and only one) layer of eggplant slices, leaving about 1/4″ around the edges clear.
- Roll each piece into a cylinder, wrap tightly in the plastic film, and wrap in another sheet of plastic. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Cooking the shashlyks
Yields about 4 servings
skirt steak and eggplant rolls
3/4 tsp salt
black pepper, ground
- Unwrap the skirt steak and eggplant rolls, and cut into slices about 2″ thick. Arrange the pieces on skewers, leaving some space between them. If you’re using a mangal instead of a conventional grill, you can put each piece on two skewers (e.g., the skewers towards the rear in the above picture).
- Season the shashlyks with the salt and pepper. Sear both sides on a very hot grill, then let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. Return the skewers to the grill, and finish to desired doneness. Let rest for a couple of minutes, and serve.