The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Things Really Panned Out

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This past weekend I picked up some new grilling pans that should make grilling easier and open up new paths for me. I couldn’t even wait a day before putting one to use. One of my goals has been to start doing multiple items on the grill and I have been headed in that direction for the last year. I’ve also stated this summer that I want to get into grilled veggies in a big way. A mailing I received from Williams-Sonoma has resulted in the purchase of two new tools that I am really looking forward to using. The mailing I received featured a stainless steel mesh roasting pan and showed a picture of a pork roast surrounded by a sea of grilled veggies. Just the thing to solve the multiple items/more grilled veggies wishes. I already own a pan from this line that looks a bit like a mesh wok although it is described as a grill-top frying pan. It is very well constructed, dishwasher safe and should last a lifetime. I hadn’t gotten around to using it yet, but planned to real soon. Knowing how well this item was built had me ready to buy the roast pan before I even spent any hands on time with it in the store.
 

“Second“Third

Williams-Sonoma makes a great line of grill pans, which are well made and dishwasher safe. The frying pan is on the left and the roast pan is on the right..


So last Saturday I made a run to the mall to hit Williams-Sonoma and pick up the pan. By the way, the reason I keep mentioning Williams-Sonoma is that these are their own creations. When I got to the store they had a display up for summer grilling. It featured the mesh roasting pan I was interested in plus, my mesh frying pan I own and a third pan which was the shape of a large sauté pan with a lid. This last grill-top chef’s pan isn’t new, but it is improved. Last summer when I picked up my grill-top frying pan, I’d looked at this lidded pan too. I’d rejected it because the lid was not removable. The new version uses a clever hinge/catch that allows the lid to come off. There was also a picture of potatoes and veggies being grilled in this pan that made me add it to my purchases without batting an eyelash. When I got home I found the recipe from the picture in the store was printed on the back of the packaging. Better yet there was a copy of the recipe on their web site along with a video. The website version meant I could import the recipe straight into my Yummy Soup recipe software without having to type it all out. After watching the video I knew I had to make this right away. This Saturday’s bill of fare was already set: grilled pizza. I knew I would have to make it Sunday for dinner or supper.

“Fourth

A colorful medley of food to prep. The potatoes get parboiled & the peppers and scallions got cut into chunks.


So Sunday morning I was at the supermarket bright and early getting the veggies. I would be doing a batch and one half to be sure to have enough. The single batch served 5-6 and there would be possibly as many as 7 or 8 people eating this. To the red & green pepper called for, I added a yellow one for the extra fifty percent. For the potatoes I bought both Yukon golds and red potatoes. In a happy coincidence the two bags of potatoes were exactly the new weight I needed. I would now also use up all the scallions in the bunch I bought. Now the grill pan could probably have handled a double batch, but I wanted to make sure I was able to cook everything through, so fifty percent more seemed doable.

“Fifth“Sixth

The potatoes were parboiled which means they are boiled until fork tender and then plunged in ice bath and drained. I didn’t have ice so I rinsed in plenty of cold water.


When I got home I started the prep. You needed to precook the potatoes to fork tender before grilling so I got that operation under way. There was a honey-mustard-vinaigrette dressing involved too, so I mixed that up while the water was heating. Once that was done I set about chopping up the peppers and scallions. When the potatoes were done, I drained them in a colander and rinsed them with some cold water to stop them from cooking any further. I let them cool and drain a bit and finished my other prep. Once the veggies were cut up they would be mixed in with the potatoes and tossed with some olive oil, Kosher salt & pepper. This presented me with a bit of a problem and I’m embarrassed to say I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of the solution sooner. You see I have 5 stainless steel mixing bowls ranging in size from small to large. Bowl number 4, the second biggest, was the same size as my largest round serving plate. To to toss food with oil and seasonings I would use one of the bowls 1 thru 4 and cap it with an appropriate sized plate and shake to mix. Well there were so many ingredients here that only bowl 5 would do. The problem is it was bigger than my biggest round plate. Eventually the little lightbulb (dim bulb I’d say in this case) went off. I would take bowl number 4 and invert it an put it inside bowl 5. This was a perfect solution. The rim recessed in about an inch, so it was easy to keep clamped in place and the double dome shape gave the food lots of room to maneuver in as I tossed it.
 

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The honey-mustard-vinaigrette dressing used red pepper flakes too & had a bit of a kick to it.


Once the veggies and potatoes were tossed, it was time to grill. I sprayed the pan on all sides with high temperature PAM for grilling. I tossed everything into the pan, latched the cover and headed out to the grill which was warmed up and set to high. The original recipe called for 15-20 minutes on high heat tossing several times while cooking. In between tossings the lid was to be kept closed. I figured fifty percent more food would mean about fifty percent more time on the grill. So I figured about 30 minute total and I would toss the food every 5 minutes. One thing I was glad for, was that I’d taken some time the evening before to read some of the comments on the Williams-Sonoma web page. It is often a great way to get some tips and avoid repeating other’s mistakes. Several people warned the handles get very hot, use two towels or double mitts. One woman’s husband burned his hands wearing BBQ gloves. While the handle getting hot is not a big surprise, the fact BBQ gloves weren’t enough was. So I was out there armed with BBQ gloves plus a thick pot holder.
 

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The potatoes and cut up veggies were placed in a large bowl (top left) & tossed with some olive oil, Kosher salt & black pepper (top right). The food is in the pan and headed out to the grill.

The smell coming off the grill was wonderful, and made me want to stick close by. When I began my first toss session I quickly saw what people meant. I picked up the handle with just the BBQ gloves and could feel the heat coming through right away. I found even with the addition of the pot holders, I needed to pick the up, shake it a bit and put it down rather quickly to let my hands cool off. So if you get one of these pans be very, very careful - the handles do indeed get HOT, HOT, HOT. Having the locking lid was nice because I was able to invert the pan to help move the food around and redistribute everything. At the 30 minute mark the potatoes and peppers were starting to get char marks on the edges and the skin on the peppers were beginning to blister. It was time to remove from the grill. I transferred the pan to a stainless steel sheet pan for it’s trip back to the Kitchen. I still wore gloves carrying the sheet pan in case the grill pan decided to share some of it’s heat with the sheet pan.

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The pan is on the grill where the food was cooked for 30 minutes on high direct heat with the lid down. It was tossed every 5 minutes. The smoky potato salad is ready to get the dressing & be served-the hotter the better in my book.


The next step was to pour everything into a serving bowl and coat it with the honey-mustard-vinaigrette dressing. I’ve gotta tell you hot off the grill it was amazing, even before I added the dressing. In fact I am making this again this Saturday and I think I will let people choose whether to add dressing or not. This combo is half way between a salad and a side dish and offers the best of both worlds. While it was great at room temperature, it was at it’s best served piping hot. After only one prep I’d have to say this has moved up to the very top of the list of veggies I made on the grill. I will put links at the bottom of this post for the grill pans and the recipe. In closing let me just say these three things:

  • Try this recipe-you’ll love it
  • Make extra, you’ll need it
  • Wear double protection for you hands the handle gets HOT!!

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SOME RELATED LINKS:
Here are some links for the grill pans and the recipe I described above. It is included as a side dish for the beer can chicken they are making.

  SMOKEY POTATO SALAD - Salads Photo Entry


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