Photos by Julia Gartland
Burgers and hot dogs on the grill are fine for a casual cookout, but some occasions require turning things up a bit. Chef Alex Raij of Txikito and La Vara specializes in Basque cuisine with no shortage of skills behind the grill.
In this recipe, the chef and restaurateur walks us through grilled veal loin chops served with mojo picón (a Canary Island tomato vinaigrette), charred scallions, and paprika butter. Bright, summery and seasonally satisfying, Raij fires up all 733 square inches of cooking space — including a side burner — on the KitchenAid 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill.
To perfect the dish, you'll need a standout grill. The KitchenAid 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill, sold exclusively at The Home Depot, has you covered: it's built with premium corrosion resistant materials, has a total of 733 square inches of cooking surface over stainless steel wrapped main cooking grids, and it comes with a premium grill cover.
2-4 veal loin chops, 1¼-inch thick; 1 cup salt; ½ cup sugar; canola oil; black pepper and salt
1 dead of garlic, top trimmed, brushed with oil, wrapped in foil; 4 plum tomatoes cored; 1 onion, halved; 1 red pepper seeded and quartered; ½ teaspoon diamond kosher salt, plus more for the grilling; 3 tablespoons Sherry or good vinegar; ½ cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil Canola oil for the grill and brushing
1 cup good quality butter; 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika de la Vera' ½ teaspoon salt; juice of half a lemon
Arrange the chops in a baking dish or bowl just large enough to accommodate them. Mix the sugar and salt with 6 cups water and stir to dissolve. Pour the salt mixture over the chops, and let stand at room temperature for half an hour.
Season the garlic, tomatoes, pepper, onion and two bunches of scallions with salt, and drizzle with canola oil lightly.
Place them on the hottest part of the grill.
Allow them to char and become tender. Remove scallions (they will cook much faster).
While the rest of the vegetables continue to cook, remove the chops from brine, pat dry and sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked fresh black pepper. Brush lightly with canola oil on both sides.
Place the seasoned and oiled chops on the hottest part of the grill avoiding any flare-ups. Cook for 4 minutes and flip (always move it to a part of the grill that wasn’t used so it is still hot). Cook the second side for 4 more minutes, and then move to indirect heat and cook 2 more minutes.
Using tongs move the vegetables to a small pot or bowl off heat and cover them with plastic or a dish towel until cool enough to handle.
Make the mojo picón: Remove the onion skins and squeeze the garlic cloves out from the bottom of the head to release them. Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pureé until combined, but not smooth. Pulse in the vinegar and add salt. Then, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream.
Move the veal chops to a cutting board or rack to rest before serving with mojo picón. While they rest, melt 1 cup of good quality butter in saucepan, combined with smoked Spanish paprika de la Vera, ½ tsp salt and the juice of half a lemon. Whisk over medium heat until solids are mostly dissolved. Remove from pan.
To serve, place the mojo picón on the bottom of the plate, top with a veal chop, some charred scallions and a drizzle of the paprika butter. Squeeze lemon juice all over.
Recipe courtesy of Alex Raij. All rights reserved.