Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grilled Beef Heart with Herbed Viniagrette

As I continue my culinary journeys, there are a few people who I follow.  One of those individuals is Michael Ruhlman. Michael is an author, food writer and blogger.  He is one of the writers behind Thomas Keller's cookbooks.  However, Michael has several cookbooks of his own, including Ruhlman's Twenty.  The fact that Ruhlman is from and promotes Cleveland, where I grew up, is just another reason to listen to what he has to say.

One (of many) Ruhlman's recipes that I have wanted to make is his Grilled Beef Heart with Herbed Vinaigrette.  As I continue to expand my cooking knowledge and skills, I have become particularly interested in cooking with ingredients that are a little out of the ordinary. Offal constitutes a category of such ingredients.  Brains, hearts, kidneys, livers and more.  I recently discovered that a local grocery store carried beef hearts, so I bought a two and one-half pound heart, pulled up Ruhlman's recipe and began to cook with this ingredient for the first time.

Beef heart is a relatively healthy choice for someone looking to cook beef.  It has less fat than most other cuts of beef, and it is packed with protein.  Beef heart contains several B vitamins, lycopene, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc.  Beef heart also has Coenzyme Q10, which is said to boost energy levels, help improve the immune system and act as an antioxidant.  Coenzyme Q10 is also believed to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease.  That's right, eating beef heart may help improve your heart ... or so they say.  It is important to note that beef heart, like other organ meat, does have a lot amount of cholesterol.  (I tried to figure out the levels of good and bad cholesterol in beef heart; however, I was not successful in that endeavor.)

Overall, this is a great recipe.  The grilled beef heart was delicious, but the vinaigrette really put the dish over the top. 

Recipe adapted from one by Michael Ruhlman
Serves 6

Ingredients (for the beef heart):
1 beef heart, trimmed and cut into slices or chunks
1/2 large shallot, chopped or diced
Salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
Olive oil, as needed
Arugula or Spinach, one handful per serving

Ingredients (for the herbed vinaigrette):
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon of oregano, parsley, chives or 
     1 tablespoon of basil, parsley and rosemary
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1.  Marinate the beef heart.  Liberally salt and pepper the beef heart, add the shallot and oil.  Toss the ingredients to combine.  Refrigerate the beef for at least one hour and up to overnight.

2.  Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, shallot and salt.  Let sit for five to ten minutes.  Stir in the herbs.

3.  Cook the beef heart.  Grill the beef over hot coals or over high heat on a gas grill.  Thread the pieces on water-soaked skewers.   Grill the beef heart for two to three minutes on each side for medium rare (maybe one to two minutes if the pieces are smaller).

4.  Plate the dish.  Arrange the arugula or spinach on a plate, top with the beef heart and spoon some of the vinaigrette over the beef heart. 


There is not a lot out there about pairing beef heart with either wine or beer.  And, I have to admit that when I ate this dish, I did not drink a beer or wine with it.  So, it is fairly hard for me to suggest a pairing.  Nevertheless, I think that there are a couple of obvious suggestions. Just as red wine pairs well with beef, a red wine -- such as a Pinot Noir or a Chianti -- could pair well with this dish.


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