by Kim Rush Lynch
If you are a griller, hopefully you stopped by the Greenbelt Farmers Market last Sunday for a sample of Rita Calvert’s grilled turkey with smoked tomato charred corn salsa. This recipe is a delightful addition to Rita’s book, The Grass-fed Gourmet Fires It Up! This chef, author, photographer and farm-to-table food activist partnered with Michael Haller, a pasture-based farmer and manager of Clagett Farm, to deliver this must-have for your summer cookout collection. Rita and Michael teach you the art and passion of grilling grass-fed or pasture-raised meats.
You may ask yourself, what’s the big deal about pasture-raised meats? Because the animals are well cared for and raised in their natural (or at least as close as possible) state, they are healthier to eat than their non-pastured counterparts. Corn and other grains are not a natural part of a ruminant’s (i.e. cattle, goats, bison and sheep) diet. Exclusive feeding of grains to these animals will make them sick in time. Non-ruminants (i.e. pigs, poultry) eat some grains as part of their diet, but they, too, have digestive systems designed to graze on grass, weeds and insects. Sunshine and pasture are what make these animals healthy.
In fact, studies show that pasture-raised meats contain a balanced omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acid ratio, less saturated fat and more conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin D and vitamin E. Rita used pastured turkey from Ferguson Family Farms for the demo and it was delish! Greenbelters are fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase Lynne Ferguson’s pastured-raised meats each week at the Greenbelt Farmers Market. Most consumers find that pasture-raised meats are more flavorful than their conventionally raised counterparts.
More Cooking Demos Coming Up
If you missed Rita’s demo, not to worry. She’ll be back again this fall. Stay tuned to the Greenbelt Farmers Market website for details. Also, the market will have two demos this August as part of its Chef at Market Series. The fabulous Stacy Brooks will be cooking up something tasty on August 12th while Rasheed Abdurrahman of Wild Onion Catering will be giving customers a taste of his upcoming cooking classes at the Greenbelt Community Center, “Farmers Market Lunch,” on August 19th. Both demos will take place at 11 am.
See you at the market!
Kim Rush-Lynch is a health coach, nutritional consultant, PLAYcoach and the owner of Cultivating Health, a business that’s been providing coaching, education and support for individuals and organizations to learn and practice healthy eating, playing and loving life since 2007. Click here for her full bio.
Below, Rita’s recipe from her book. Market-goers loved it!
Grilled Steak, Pork Chops or Poultry Breast with Smoked Tomato Charred Corn Salsa by Chef Rita Calvert
(makes about 3 1/2 cups)
- 1 pound-5-medium vine-ripened tomatoes, red, orange, or both
- ½ pound smoked tomatoes (recipe below)
- 2 cups grilled corn on the corn, kernels removed
- 1 fresh serrano or jalapeño pepper
- ¼ medium onion, preferably white
- ½ cup fresh ﬁnely chopped cilantro sprigs, optional
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Quarter and seed tomatoes. Cut tomatoes into ¼-inch dice and transfer to a bowl. Wearing rubber gloves, seed, and ﬁnely chop the pepper. Finely chop enough onion to measure ¼ cup. Finely chop the cilantro. Stir the corn, chopped pepper, onion, cilantro, and garlic into tomatoes with the lime juice, salt, and pepper. Salsa may be made 1 hour ahead and kept at cool room temperature.
Rita’s Indoor Stovetop Smoking Method
Here in the Mid-Atlantic, the winters are fairly mild (2010 being a major exception) so I keep my grill active, even through a bit of snow. It always has been my modus operandi to grill year-round. However, with my love of smoky grilled foods, I have also adapted some indoor smoking techniques to create that deep, rich, earthy character without creating a room full of smoke. I originally developed this process for the Stovetop Smoked Tomatoes I prepared on an Emeril Lagasse television show.
My stovetop smoking method is excellent for tomatoes and perfect for a number of veggies, poultry, or seafood. I use a simple wok set-up, a small rack (close to the size found in a toaster oven), heavy aluminum foil, and aromatics, such as green herbs, rice, and white sugar (brown sugar would burn too quickly), for adding scent to the smoke.
In a small bowl, create the smoking mixture by combining a small amount of rice, tea leaves, and sugar. Line the wok with a sheet of heavy foil (enough to ﬁt inside the wok) and spray the foil with an olive oil cooking spray. Place the wok over high heat and add the smoking mixture, then add fruitwood leaves and sprigs; make sure not to make the pile too heavy because air circulation is necessary. Cover with a lid.
When small bursts of smoke begin to rise, place the rack holding the tomatoes or other food over the smoke source, cover with the foil—allow a small, gentle wisp of smoke to escape—and cook about 12 minutes on medium-high heat.
Remove the entire set-up from the heat, but leave covered an additional 5 minutes or longer to infuse with smoky ﬂavor.