Iron chef

Chef Guy Peretz prepares entire meals on the grill

Grilled pineapple (photo credit: BEN YUSTER)
Grilled pineapple
(photo credit: BEN YUSTER)
If you think that the grilling season is over, think again. It is now, when the heat has mellowed (slightly), that spending time cooking outside may be just bearable. With the holidays just around the corner, the idea of cooking a whole meal for the family outside – leaving the oven and sink clean – may be very appealing.
Chef Guy Peretz, who comes from a family of butchers from Casablanca, Morocco, studied at some of the best culinary institutions in the world and won many prizes at international competitions. The co-owner of a culinary group and chef of a few leading hotels, his cooking style combines Mediterranean cuisine with the North African, mixing the traditional with the innovative.
Peretz recently published a cookbook called The Grill Book, which offers recipes for everything barbecued – from meat, poultry and fish to vegetables and desserts. Here are a few recipes we especially loved.
✔ 1 eggplant ✔ 2 onions, peeled ✔ 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only ✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Juice of half a lemon ✔ Salt and pepper Grill the eggplant over medium heat until charred on all sides. Let cool, cut in half and remove the flesh, using a spoon. Don’t worry about a few pieces of burnt skin – they actually add delicious smoky flavor.
Cut the onions in half, rub with a little oil and grill until cooked through. Test with a fork to see that the onion is soft.
Remove from heat and chop. Chop the eggplant flesh and mix with the onions, lemon juice and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Serves 4 This is a real treat – a modern version of the traditional Moroccan fish cakes.
✔ 600 gr. fresh white fish fillet, chopped with a knife ✔ 1 onion, chopped ✔ 4 cloves garlic, minced ✔ Zest of 1 lemon ✔ 1 chili pepper, minced (or to taste) ✔ ½ cup chopped parsley ✔ ½ cup chopped cilantro ✔ Salt and pepper ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil For the salsa ✔ 4 tomatoes ✔ 1 green chili ✔ 1 red pepper ✔ 4 garlic cloves ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Salt and pepper For garnish ✔ Parsley or cilantro In a bowl, mix together the chopped fish and the rest of the kebab ingredients until well mixed. Shape flat fish cakes, about 50 grams each. Place the fish cakes on a tray and cover. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the salsa: Grill the tomatoes and the peppers until cooked. Place in a plastic bag to sweat for 15 minutes.
Remove from the bag, peel and chop.
Place a heavy skillet on the grill, add chopped vegetables, garlic and oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 8 minutes until salsa is thicker and more jamlike.
Remove from heat and season to taste.
Remove the fish kebabs from the refrigerator and grill on very hot grill until 80% cooked.
Return the skillet with the salsa to the grill and place the fish cakes in the salsa.
Continue cooking for 4 more minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve in the skillet.
Serves 4 Ask the butcher for a whole chicken breast, bones removed.
✔ 2 whole chicken breasts (cut open like a butterfly) For the marinade ✔ 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard with seeds ✔ 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only ✔ 6 basil leaves ✔ 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only ✔ ½ cup white wine ✔ 4 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Kosher salt and pepper Marinate the chicken overnight.
Heat the grill, drain the chicken and grill for 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with pasta or grilled vegetables.
Serves 4 The mustard and mayonnaise marinade with coarse seasoning gives the salmon a crunchy crust that envelops the delicate fish.
✔ 4 200-gr. fillets of salmon ✔ ½ cup good-quality mayonnaise ✔ 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard with seeds ✔ 2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning ✔ Kosher salt ✔ Coarsely ground black pepper Mix mayonnaise and mustard. Cover the fish with the mixture and sprinkle with plenty of Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the grill well and grill the fish for 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with the mayo-mustard sauce on the side.
Makes a small 22-cm. round dessert Regular knafeh is made with salty cheese.
In this version, chef Peretz replaces the cheese with tart apples. The knafeh is baked in an iron skillet on the grill. The kadaif noodles are available at special bakeries in the shuk.
Use a 22-cm. iron skillet.
✔ 300 gr. kadaif noodles ✔ 4 green apples ✔ 1 Tbsp. sugar ✔ 2 Tbsp. raisins ✔ ½ tsp. cinnamon ✔ 100 gr. butter-flavored margarine For the syrup ✔ 1 cup sugar ✔ 1½ cups water ✔ 1 cinnamon stick ✔ 2 slices lemon ✔ 1 slice orange ✔ 2 anise stars Grease the skillet with the margarine.
Spread ½ cm. layer of the noodles on the bottom.
Spread a little more margarine. Grate the apples and mix with the rest of the ingredients, except the noodles, and spread evenly on the noodles. Cover with the rest of the kadaif noodles and a little more margarine.
Place on a medium heat grill to cook slowly.
Prepare another skillet to turn the cake on.
After 6 minutes, cover the skillet with the other one and flip the kadaif to the other one.
Cook the other side for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by mixing together all the syrup ingredients. When the kadaif is cooked, pour the hot syrup on top and serve.
Fresh pineapple is now available in the markets. This is the easiest dessert to make, and it’s delicious.
✔ 1 large pineapple ✔ 4 Tbsp. maple syrup Peel the pineapple and slice into 1-cm. slices Grill about 2 minutes on each side. Spread a little syrup on each side and serve with lemon sorbet and mint.
Photos and recipes courtesy of chef Guy Peretz, author of The Grill Book.