The Outdoor Grill Takes a Vacation This Summer

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Nothing evokes summer in my neighborhood like the smell of fresh-cut lawn and the aroma wafting from the grill.

Can you relate to any of these grilling scenarios? My husband turns on our gas grill to heat as I prepare the meat and veggies. About 15 minutes later he puts the meat on the grill, then the veggies are carefully placed on the grate. Halfway through cooking, everything is turned, and half the onions and other small vegetables fall through the grate. On more than one occasion when we lifted the lid expecting perfection—the grill was barely warm because the tank had run out of gas, and/or the backup tank hadn’t been refilled. We heat up the kitchen oven which takes 15 minutes, and around 30 minutes later, we’re finally ready to eat dinner.

On more than one occasion one of us left the propane turned on. The next time we go to use the grill, the gas tank is empty. The cost to exchange an empty for a full tank is approximately $25, and those absent-minded mistakes add up.

We gave up on grilling with charcoal several years ago because the prep to get the briquettes to temperature took too long, and moving them around to maintain temperature seemed more of a science experiment. It took our joy out of cooking. In addition, reports that charcoal grilling is potentially bad for your health and the environment—and it was quite easy to make the switch to gas.

If you live in a northern climate as I do, cooking outside is liberating, and evokes fun times with friends and family. Cooking is shared experience.

But there must be a better way to ensure a good experience for all.

A New Way to Grill

One of my favorite summertime meals from the grill is fish tacos. I’m rarely successful flipping the fish without it breaking up and having some of it fall through the grate, but I like cooking fish outside, so it doesn’t smell up my kitchen. Yes, I’ve tried the grill basket—but what a mess to clean.

The good news is, I’ll never cook fish on the grill again.

Since last fall I have been cooking dinner much more than ever—even during the week. This is due to Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven. As I have mentioned in various blogs, I cook salmon in this oven two or three times a week, because I can toss the fish and vegetables on one sheet and in 23 minutes we’re eating. Recently I cooked fresh halibut and it was outstanding. I have no idea why, but my kitchen doesn’t have that lingering fish smell after cooking with the Superheated Steam Countertop Oven.

Another summertime favorite at my house is pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables. There aren’t any specific challenges to cooking this meal on the grill other than those noted earlier. So, I decided to try it in my Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven. Could it match the flavor from the grill? Eureka!

Below are my recipes for cooking fish tacos and pork tenderloin in Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven. At the end of both recipes are additional notes and tips for cooking with this amazing little oven.

Cindy’s Two Favorite Summertime Recipes

Caption: Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Cherry Tomatoes, served with Spanish Rice and Mango Salsa

Caption: Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Cherry Tomatoes, served with Spanish Rice and Mango Salsa

Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Cherry Tomatoes, served with Spanish Rice and Mango Salsa

Serves: 2 – 3

Skill Level: None needed / Super Easy

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time: 23 Minutes*

Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven Setting: Broil/Grill 485°

Pan(s) Used: Broiling Pan

Rack Position in Oven: Top

Ingredients: Tacos (2 per person)

  • 1 pound fresh halibut filet
  • 1 package of 6-inch soft corn tortillas (usually 10 per package)
  • 2 limes (slice one, use other for squeezing over tacos)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 package fresh shredded coleslaw mix (green and red cabbage, and carrots)
  • Guacamole (8-ounce container of good quality store-bought or make your own†)
  • ½ teaspoon ground red chipotle
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients: Sides

  • 1.5 cups frozen corn (more or less as you like, preferably organic)
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes cut in halves (use as many as you like, preferably organic)
  • 1 box of Spanish rice (choose your favorite — cook as instructed)
  • Coleslaw (good quality store-bought or make your own†)
  • Mango salsa (good quality store-bought or make your own†)

Directions:

  • Using either tin foil or baking parchment paper,** line the bottom of the 12.5-inch square broiling pan and turn up the sides of the foil or paper (this is to keep pan clean). If using tinfoil or no liner on the pan, spray the pan (or foil) with cooking oil or rub with vegetable oil. If using parchment paper, you don’t need to oil the paper.
  • Place fish in middle of the pan, skin-side down
  • Add slices of lime to the top of fish
  • Sprinkle corn and halves of grape tomatoes around the fish
  • Add a few sprigs of washed cilantro
  • Sprinkle fish and vegetables with ground red chipotle, and salt

Cooking:

  • Be sure to fill the water tank
  • Place pan on top position of the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven
  • Turn knob to Broil/Grill, which automatically sets temperature to 485°
  • Set time for 23 minutes*
  • Push start

When fish is cooked to your desired doneness, divide the filet into four or six equal sizes (depending on how many tacos to serve).

Taco Assembly Suggestion

  • Place a small handful of coleslaw mix on bottom of tortilla
  • Add a sprinkling of chopped cilantro
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of guacamole
  • Place a serving of fish on top
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice on top of fish
  • Sprinkle with bit more ground red chipotle and salt

Place tacos on plate and serve with roasted corn and tomatoes from pan

Serve with your favorite salsa, coleslaw, and rice

Other serving suggestions: Mexican cheese (Cotija, queso fresco, añejo, or shredded blends), sour cream, beans, and shredded lettuce.

Enjoy!

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Caption: Pork Tenderloin with Sundried Tomato, Rosemary, and Roasted Veggies

Caption: Pork Tenderloin with Sundried Tomato, Rosemary, and Roasted Veggies

Credit: Cindy Davis

Pork Tenderloin with Sundried Tomato, Rosemary, and Roasted Veggies

This will be the easiest elegant dinner you’ll ever make.

Serves: 3 – 4

Skill Level: None needed / Super Easy

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time: 23 Minutes*

Sharp’s Superheated Steam Countertop Oven Setting: Broil/Grill 485°

Pan(s) Used: Broiling Pan and Crisper Pan

Rack Position(s) in Oven: Broiling on Top, Crisper Pan on Bottom

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 yellow, orange or red bell pepper (sliced lengthwise)
  • 1 head of broccoli (cut into small florets)
  • 1.5 pounds baby potatoes (red, purple and yellow, don’t cut)
  • 1 sweet onion (cut lengthwise)
  • 4 ounces of olive oil-packed sundried tomatoes (keep some for plating)
  • Six sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Extra virgin olive oil for coating pan and food
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Broiling Pan

  • Wash and cut vegetables as noted above (no need to cut potatoes)
  • Pull off the leaves from one sprig of rosemary and finely chop
  • Spray the bottom of the broiling pan (or foil if you choose to line the pan) with cooking oil or rub with vegetable oil.
  • Place tenderloin in middle of the pan and rub half of chopped rosemary on top
  • Place alternating strips of sundried tomatoes and slices of onions on top of tenderloin (see photo). You will have extra of each.
  • Place a sprig of rosemary on each side of tenderloin (touching meat)
  • Scatter rest of onions, peppers and potatoes evenly around pan
  • Lightly drizzle extra virgin olive oil over meat and veggies
  • Lightly salt and pepper

Crisper Pan

  • Scatter washed small broccoli florets on pan. No need to oil this pan.

Cooking:

  • Fill the water tank
  • Place broiling pan with tenderloin on top position of the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven
  • Place crisper pan with the broccoli on bottom position. It’s OK if the florets touch the top of the pan above.
  • Turn knob to Broil/Grill, which automatically sets temperature to 485°
  • Set time for 23 minutes (medium rare) *
  • Push Start
  • When the timer goes off, take the pan from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface. Insert an instant-read meat thermometer into middle of the thickest part of the meat. For medium rare, the thermometer should read 145° F* (my preference and what is shown in photo).
  • If the temperature is within a couple of degrees of your preference, let the meat rest for another three to five minutes, covered in foil before cutting. The temperature will continue to rise another few degrees.
  • The sundried tomatoes will have turned black during cooking. They’re still tasty but you might prefer to discard them and add the extra you set aside for serving.

Serving:

Cut tenderloin into ¾-inch slices on a diagonal and arrange with vegetables, uncooked sundried tomatoes and a fresh sprig of rosemary for presentation.

Enjoy!

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ADDITIONAL NOTES

Cooking Times

* Depending on the thickness of the fish or meat and the amount of vegetables you have in the oven, times will vary. My cooking times were 23 minutes for my desired doneness. When the timer goes off at 23 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and see if the fish or meat are done to your liking. If you need to cook it more, pop the whole pan back into the oven and reset it to Broil/Grill/485° for another five minutes. One of the beauties of the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven is that it quickly comes up to temperature.

Fish: Check the doneness using two forks and separate the middle of the fish. It should be flaky and juicy. Unless you are certain you purchased sushi-grade fish, there shouldn’t be any translucency.

Pork: When you take the pan from the oven, insert an instant-read meat thermometer to middle of the thickest part. The USDA recommends the internal temperature of pork should be a minimum of 145° F, which is medium rare (this is how I cooked the pork tenderloin). 160° F is well done and a matter of preference. If the temperature is within a couple of degrees of your liking, let the meat rest for another three minutes covered in foil before serving. The temperature will continue to rise another few degrees.

**Sharp does not recommend using baking parchment paper because of potential fire. If you are going to line the grill pan, Sharp recommends using tin foil. The surface of the pans provided with the Sharp Superheated Steam Countertop Oven are already easy to clean. Lining the pan will make your cleanup super easy.

†Make Your Own Sides

During the week, I’m all about speed from prep to table, and I search for high-quality store-bought sides. If I have time, I prefer to make everything from scratch. Below are some super easy recipes from my favorite sources.

A note about Coleslaws: You can save a lot of time by purchasing a package of pre-shredded coleslaw mix, which will have red and green cabbage and carrots. Where you’ll really shine is by making your own dressing. Take a look at the recipes below.

Vegetable Coleslaw (recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, Food Network)

Alice Waters’s Coleslaw (recipe courtesy of Jason Epstein, New York Times)

Simple Guacamole (recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless, Frontera)

Mango Salsa (recipe courtesy of Marian Burros, New York Times)

Click here for more tips from the Simply Better Living blog series.

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