Chow Town

June Food Truck Friday lineup includes grilling demo by a Weber expert

The Filet Mignon Crostini With Balsamic Onion Jam mixes the luxurious buttery tenderness of the beef with slow-cooked onions and heady horseradish cream.
The Filet Mignon Crostini With Balsamic Onion Jam mixes the luxurious buttery tenderness of the beef with slow-cooked onions and heady horseradish cream.

Get ready to cloak yourself in a delicious haze of smoke when Weber chef Jamie Purviance demos grilling recipes from The Star’s parking lot during Food Truck Friday on June 2.

Purviance is a James Beard-nominated chef who has written more than 15 Weber cookbooks, including “Weber’s Way to Grill,” a New York Times best-seller.

Watch as Purviance grills up a few dishes from a compilation of 125 of the best recipes bound in the newest company cookbook, “Weber’s Greatest Hits” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99).

Weber1

The recipes — ranging from traditional burgers and ribs to grilled pizza, bruschetta and nachos — are drawn from the company’s archive of more than 2,500.

I will be interviewing Purviance during a Facebook Live broadcast starting at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome to join us at 18th and McGee streets. Purviance will share recipes for Caponata Bruschetta and Filet Mignon Crostini With Balsamic Onion Jam.

We’ll learn about grilling do’s and don’ts, as well as some of the stories that have helped make the charcoal kettle grill a backyard staple.

Weber is based in Palatine, Ill. The company was founded by George Stephen in 1952. Today, iconic Weber grills and other products are sold worldwide at home centers, specialty hardware and patio stores.

Our June food truck lineup includes great street eats from 16 vendors: El Tenedor, Cajun Cabin, Poppy’s Ice Cream & Coffee House, Street Wings, Beauty of the Bistro, Crave of KC, Bop N’Bowl, Vee’s Barbecue, CoffeeCakeKC, Cirque du Sucre, Torched Goodness, Drasko’s Food Truck, Pip’s Burgers, KC Pinoy, Pie Hole and Taste of Brazil.

Ollie’s Local will be serving Bud Light, 360 Vodka and Heartland Coca-Cola. Harvesters will be taking donations.

Food Truck Friday

The June event will be at The Star, 18th and McGee streets. 5 p.m. Jamie Purviance grilling demo starts at 5:30 p.m.

Caponata Bruschetta

Caponata, a Sicilian mixture of cooked eggplant and onion with tomato, olives and capers, makes an appealing side dish or relish. Mounded on toasted Italian bread with a smear of goat cheese, this tangy-sweet combination makes a terrific appetizer, particularly when you have grilled the eggplant and onions for extra flavor.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Grilling time: 11 to 13 minutes

Makes 4 servings (8 pieces)

Caponata:

1 globe eggplant, about 12 ounces

Kosher salt

1 small yellow onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium tomato, seeded and roughly chopped

15 Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon drained capers

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Freshly ground black pepper

8 slices Italian or other coarse country bread, each about 1/2-inch thick and 4 inches wide

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Remove about  1/2 inch from both ends of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant crosswise into  1/2 -inch-thick slices. Rub both sides of the eggplant slices thoroughly with salt. Let the slices sit in a colander in the sink or over a plate for about 30 minutes to draw out their bitter juices. Rinse the slices well and pat dry. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant and onion slices with the oil.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 degrees).

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the eggplant and onion slices over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until well marked and tender, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill.

When the eggplant and onion slices are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tomato, olives, basil, capers, vinegar and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill the bread slices over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until toasted, about 1 minute, turning once. Remove from the grill.

Divide the goat cheese evenly among the bread slices, spreading it with a knife. Spoon the caponata over the goat cheese, again dividing evenly. Serve at room temperature.

Filet Mignon Crostini With Balsamic Onion Jam

If an appetizer is gone in just a few bites, each bite needs to make a fabulous impression. That’s why we decided to splurge on filet mignon here. The buttery tenderness of the beef tastes luxurious with the tangle of slow-cooked onions and the dollop of heady horseradish cream.

Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 45 minutes

Jam grilling time: 13 to 16 minutes

Makes 10 to 12 servings

3 filet mignon steaks, each about 8 ounces and 1 1/2 inches thick

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Crostini:

1 baguette, cut into 25 slices, each about 1/2-inch thick

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Cream:

1/3 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Onion Jam (see recipe)

1 bunch fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 degrees).

Brush the steaks on both sides with the oil, then season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Lightly brush one side of each baguette slice with oil. Grill the slices, oiled side down, over direct medium heat, until toasted on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes (grill one side only). Remove from the grill, let cool, and rub the grilled side lightly with the garlic.

Combine the cream ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill the steaks over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to your desired doneness, 12 to 14 minutes for medium rare, turning once. (If flare-ups occur, move the steaks temporarily over indirect heat.) Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut the steaks across the grain into  1/4 -inch-thick slices.

Spread a layer of jam on each toasted baguette slice. Place a slice of meat on the jam and top with a small dollop of the cream. Sprinkle with the chives, if desired.

Balsamic Onion Jam

Makes enough for 10 to 12 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large sweet yellow onions, each about 12 ounces, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup dried currants or raisins

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and salt and cook until translucent and reduced in volume by half, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning.

Stir in the vinegar, sugar and currants. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions become jam-like and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. The jam will thicken as it cools. (The jam can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving.)

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