Parents were celebrating their anniversary and wanted to either go out or come by our place for a just as good or better dinner. My brother Jason and started to plan it out as a Surf and Turf dinner. As you can see the menu changed and we think it turned out better. I wont be able to give exact instructions on this dinner since it was a fast paced dinner once the fire was going. Hoping this will inspire you to try it yourself and tweak the ingredients as you see fit.
The menu changed once we started shopping at the local fish market and turned into an Asian inspired menu sort of. We decided to cook on the fire pit in our backyard and get that perfect smoky flavor that fire and cast iron only gives. The veggie dish will be a Thai basil and beef with eggplant. The beef was marinated in mostly dry basil and oyster sauce for 24 hours along with other spices. I added red bell peppers and Japanese eggplant with fresh basil from my garden to give it that extra punch of basil. The color of the dish is beautiful.
The “surf” I’m making will be a shrimp and sausage dish that will have more bell peppers and a handful of cilantro. I used extra spices such as red pepper flakes and that route to make for a spicy and savory dish. I peeled some of the shrimp to make it easier to eat and left some of the shells on to keep that flavor as they cooked. For these two dishes I covered them to help cook evenly.
My brother was doing short ribs instead of the “turf”. This was really fun since we were able to come up with a plan and then change it all while we were going shopping on the fly. The short ribs were marinated in the Korean type BBQ sauce and then with the flames to get caramelized they were tender and crispy and oh so perfect.
Along with the short ribs there was more shrimp on the grill to get that smokey flavor. Our grill table is a 5 foot diameter and plenty of room to cook and maintain at different temps if needed.
Dinner is served!
There is a large spread of dishes and all look great. Three takes on shrimp and two on beef and asparagus to make it complete.
The shrimp and sausage dish turned out great and still kept the vibrant colors which was a plus.
The basil beef eggplant didn’t keep the purple but the bell peppers were still able to stand out just like the basil aroma which was heavenly.
The mountain of short ribs were the star of the dinner. Being cooked just right and tender but a little crunch on the outside from the caramelized BBQ sauce it made me eat more and more.
Buffet style and getting a little of everything was a full plate with a wide range of flavors and the desire for seconds.
One of the best parts of the dinner besides the quality family time was how my parents wanted the leftovers! Whenever we have them over for dinner or we host a cooking party we never have left overs in the fridge. That must be a good sign then. The original plan of Surf and Turf didn’t work out but we all had a great time over the fire pit and dinner table and the dinner turned out to better than we planned.
Written by Brian Holt