It’s the small things…that I cook with my Caja China
All this talk about whole pig roasting in the china box I thought I would take a second to shed some light on some of the smaller things that can be done with the lacajachina. While the pig is cooking away, you have a perfectly good fire on top that can help make some amazing treats to keep your hungry guest happy as they patiently wait for the main course. I have invested over the years on a few very important accessories that help me get the most from my hog roaster, a top grill and a rotisserie kit. The appetizers and side dishes you can make are endless and really give you the most use of your roasting box. Here are a few of my favorites and real crowd pleasers for those hungry guest.
Grilled Red Onions and garlic cloves – talk about yummy, this combo gives a sweet side to any meal coming out of your cajun microwave.
- Cut large red onion in half and break it down into the rings, you can cut them down but don’t make them too thin because they will not cook well. I typically leave two or three rings together when I cook them on the grill. Guide yourself by the number of guests, red onions tend to be large so 1-2 should be ok for a few people.
- Spread them on a plate or large surface to season with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic powder, pepper and Emeril’s Bayou Blast Seasoning. You can add a little salt but be careful because the Bayou seasoning does contain salt.
- Gather the heads of garlic, you can portion out at least one whole head per guest. Cut the top of the garlic head exposing the cloves. Do not remove them.
- Season the garlic with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Bayou Blast seasoning.
- Place the onion and garlic (cut side up) onto the caja china top grill and let it cook for about 30 min until you start seeing the onion getting softer and the garlic cloves become a little darker and separate from the the paper.
- Serve and enjoy…the garlic is nicely presented as the entire head and the guests can use their fork to pick out the garlic clove.
- Gather some of your favorite vegetables such as zucchini, squash, eggplant, red pepper…
- Cut them length wise, 1/2 inch thick…you can cut the pepper in four
- Place them on the top grill of the roasting box and season with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper and garlic
- Cook for about 15 min, turning occasionally, you can also season the other side after the initial turn with the olive oil and garlic
I took the following recipe from Bobby Flay, it’s a twist to the regular Latin plantains that you can cook with your caja asadora/china box, I will be trying this recipe this weekend!
Grilled plantains with Rum Brown Sugar Glaze
Dark Rum – 2 cups
Dark Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup
A pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 very ripe plantains (should be almost black), peeled and sliced on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
Canola oil – 1/4 cup
Heat top grill to high. Place rum, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in the butter until melted. Remove from the heat.
Brush the plantains with oil on both sides and grill until golden brown and caramelized, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Brush with the glaze during the last few minutes of grilling. Remove from the grill and brush with more of the glaze before serving.
I hope these ideas and recipes come in handy for your future uses of lacajachina and keep your guest’s tummy’s happy as they wait for the main course. I know I have yet to hear a complain from my hungry guest with these treats and I can’t wait to unveil the new recipe for the plantains.
Happy roasting, until next time!