One of my Thousand Things to do this summer is to buy an outdoor grill and learn how to effortlessly use it for summer entertaining. What better instruction than from a chef in his own backyard grilling for his friends? Ludo has a brand new shiny outdoor kitchen courtesy of DCS Appliances – being in the market for a grill myself, I have to admit this piece of gear is drool worthy. Like a new car, says Ludo, it takes a little bit of getting used to – and this grill has a lot of fancy settings to learn. Ludo took it out for a test drive and invited over a few friends for the ride.
Those select few were lucky enough to christen it last Sunday and at the same time get a first taste of his brand new spice line – a little Ludo-bird tells me he will be appearing on HSN on August 6th, which will be the first place we mortals can buy some of Ludo’s spice.
As we sipped rosé and caught up with friends Ludo entertained us with his cooking and freely passed along tips about getting the most out of an outdoor grill.
Intermittently Ludo would be upstaged by his son who enjoyed serving us all chilled water from the refrigerator conveniently located under the counter and a certain Princess in fairy wings who certainly knew how to make an entrance or two. My kids would place the grill second to the trampoline and constantly lobby us to buy one for the garden.
As the kids worked up an appetite on the trampoline Ludo grilled up a feast. First up some cauliflower cooked in a nifty “grill bowl” similar to this GrillPro 98121 Porcelain Coated Square Wok Topper with some of the special Ludo seasoning. Cauliflower is a great canvas for different spices – be it curry or herbs de Provence – and grilled to a golden brown it’s a summer favorite.
The bright peppers and onions were then added to bread that had also been grilled to perfection and some fresh herbs to make a delicious panzanella – Ludo used something similar to this GrillPro 98130 Porcelain Coated Round Grill Topper. Valerie Bertinelli declared it was better than any Italian panzanella she’d ever tasted – could it be that Ludo has some Italian in his heritage? Or is it just another dish shared by France and Italy through the ages – come to think of it most cultures have a dish that uses up stale bread with a fresh salad – like a Lebanese fattoush and even closer to home a good old classic American Caesar salad with crunchy croutons.
The 14 day dry aged bone in rib eye beef was marinated in herbs, some Ludo spice and oil and then grilled on the top of the shiniest pristine grill.
The delicate smoke drifted up and as the light streamed through the hedge some would say there was divine intervention.
Top tip for Valerie from Ludo – cook the meat and then let it rest before you cut it to serve.
To top the beef Ludo made up a sauce similar to the ‘onion soup’ reduction that may or may not be topping steak frites at Petit Trois when it opens this Summer. I really hope this makes it through the testing phase and on to the menu. A certain JT posted his vote of two thumbs up on Instagram – celebrity endorsement must help the cause to make it a keeper.
An easy and delicious heirloom tomato and burrata salad with chiffoned basil goes particularly well with the beef and is an excellent addition to any summer feast – I love the way Ludo always cuts the tomatoes horizontally into thick slices – about 1/2 inch thick.
A final rearranging of the dishes and we were called “A table!” The giant butter mountain was presented on a very special French Revolution plate celebrating liberté, égalité fraternité – good for everyone if you aren’t Louis XVI or his cake loving wife.
To round out the feast there was a green salad and a gorgeous cheese platter – which I only took photos of Jo Stougaard and Krissy Lefebvre taking photos of it – and teaching Valerie how to get the best shot!
As we ate and drank and laughed and drank some more the four of us – Jo, Valerie, Krissy and I – decided it was time to set up a counter to the @YouDidNotEatThat Instagram account – so pop over to Instagram and check out our new account @OfCourseWeAteIt.