Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Green Fire Ribeye

It seems that chile heat is in vogue.  Turn on your television and your eyesight is burned with commercials for Wendy's Jalapeno Ghost Fries or Popeye's Ghost Pepper Wings.   The Ghost Pepper, officially known as the Bhut Jolokia, is one very spicy pepper.  The Scoville Rating for the Ghost Pepper, which is the official rating of piquancy, ranges somewhere from 855,000 units to 1,401,427 units.  By way of comparison, Tabasco sauce is approximately 10,000 units.

There is a part of me that loves the challenge of eating fiery foods.  I used to relish eating the spiciest food on the menu and my go-to dishes that I make usually involve combinations of various chiles.   However, as I have pursued cooking as a hobby, my desire to eat the fieriest food within reach has waned.  I think that, over time, it has become more about flavor than heat.  While I still love very spicy peppers and dishes, my attention has turned to ways in which I can highlight, complement or contrast the flavors of chiles.  It is very hard to pursue this goal when the chile, such as the Bhut Jolokia, could be used to simulate nuclear reactions in one's stomach.  

Consequently, I have looked to a wide range of other chiles, many of which have substantial, but not overpowering heat.  I have used Sanaam chiles, Piri Piri chiles, Scotch Bonnets, and others.   One of my most favorite chiles to experiment with is the Hatch chile.  It is definitely on the low end, with only about 1,000 to 2,500 units on the Scoville Scale. 

Sometimes less can be more.  When one uses a chile with a lower piquancy, it allows for other the flavors of other spices to shine in a rub or marinade.  This is what I tried to achieve with a recent rub that I made for a grilled steak.  I call it the "Green Fire" rub, because the backbone of the mix is ground green Hatch chiles.   I took advantage of the lower piquancy of the chiles to allow for other ingredients, such as coriander, garlic and cumin, to come through in the flavor of the rub.  The rub still packed a kick, because I made sure that a sizable amount of the ground chile was used.  About 1 teaspoon per per pound of meat.  This ensured a good amount of heat, without numbing taste buds or otherwise taking away from the dish.

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 1

1 ribeye, about 1 pound
1 teaspoon ground green hatch chile
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin

1. Apply the rub.   Combine all of the spices and herbs in a small bowl.  Apply the rub to all sides of the ribeye.  Let the ribeye stand at room temperature for about ten to fifteen minutes.

2. Grill the ribeye.  Heat the grill on high heat.  Grill the ribeye for about three minutes, shift by 90 degrees, and grill for about 3 minutes more.  Flip and repeat for a total of six minutes.  Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.


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