May is Grilling Month at Food Republic, where we are offering Pro Tips from chefs and other well-known grilling gods.
At the recent New York Culinary Experience, Paul Liebrandt (chef and co-owner of Corton) taught a class on using seasonal ingredients to their best advantage. While he was busy showing a room of students how to sous-vide white asparagus, we couldn’t help but think how the veggies would taste on the grill.
We caught up with Liebrandt after the class to ask him for his seasonal grilling advice and what amateur mistakes we should avoid making. After all, he was there to instruct…
What are you using in your restaurant now?
We’re using white asparagus right now, which is in season, and obviously a lot of the blooming herbs and plants.
What vegetables do you like to grill?
We like onions very much. Anything from the allium family. We like to experiment with different ways of grilling whether it be a char grill, a Japanese-style grill, a direct heat, a Tandoori-style grill where it’s indirect hot, dry heat. So we use a lot of different techniques.
What’s the biggest mistake that home grillers make?
Controlling the heat.
So how do you control it?
It depends on what you’re grilling, but pay close attention when you’re doing it. When you barbecue it’s the same idea — you can’t just grill. You have to really focus on the heat and make sure that you turn everything so that’s it’s evenly done and you get really good results.
What proteins are you using now?
We have really beautiful black bass, which is in season right now and we’re sourcing it locally from the country. It’s very impressive stuff. The black bass we do almost Tandoori-style with dry heat. Very, very hot; very quick, very dry.
Obviously making sure that the heat is always correct, but paying attention to what you’re grilling is very important as well. If it’s a protein make sure it’s very high quality and that it’s the right cut for grilling. Certain things are better than others. For instance, you wouldn’t want to grill a whole leg of lamb.