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Professor Lau's marinade is a lesson in East meeting West.

Professor Lau's marinade is a lesson in East meeting West

Meat eaters among the Chefs of the West can proudly claim a place at the top of the food chain--though if that metaphor is to make any sense, we must picture a chain standing upright on its bottom link, then rearing skyward like the rope in the old Hindu rope trick.

Next step down in this precarious linkage is the steer, which for its part has converted a small mountain of grass and corn into a compact package of delectable protein. Rationalists consider the steer a wasteful way to deal with the world's protein needs, and there's some truth in that. But who can be rational when offered a slice of tender steak, steeped in a subtle marinade and barbecued to perfection?

Mediterranean rosemary, thyme, and sage blend with Chinese oyster and soy sauces in Professor Lau's marinade-- despite Kipling's belief that East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet. The result--another rope trick?--is a subtle distinct flavor that plays up the steak's intrinsic beefiness.

Professor Lau's Barbecued Steak

4 beef tenderloin steaks, each 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick

1 to 2 tablespoons salad oil

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 teaspoon each rubbed sage, dry rosemary, and dry thyme leaves

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoons each sugar and brandy

Trim fat from steaks. Rub oil on both sides of each piece to coat evenly. In a small dish, combine pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; rub mixture into both sides of each steak, using all.

In an 8- or 9-inch square or round pan, stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and brandy until sugar is dissolved. Turn steaks in the sauce, one at a time, coating evenly. Set steaks side by side in pan; cover and chill at least 2 hours but not longer than 4.

Place steaks on a grill, 4 to 5 inches above a solid bed of medium coals (you should be able to hold your hand at grill level for only 4 to 5 seconds). Cook steaks, turning as needed, until browned on both sides and done to your liking (cut to test), 15 to 20 minutes for rare. Brush any remaining sauce over steaks as they cook. Extinguish any flare-ups with a spray of water. Makes 4 servings.

Stanford, Calif.

"Salad days' is a tasteful, old-fashioned expression referring to the greenness of youth. From the dietitian's point of view, every day should be a salad day, and Charles Shaffer agrees. Every dinner at his house includes a separate salad course following the main course; at times, a big salad, along with a beverage and dessert, constitutes the whole meal.

To many Americans, salad season is summer. But Westerners never lack the makings for salad, even though temporary dislocations of supply make produce prices fluctuate.

Chef Shaffer calls his creation 2/17 Salad after the date of its first concoction, February 17. Simple but sophisticated, it is happily easy to prepare, involving no tearful chopping of onions.

2/17 Salad

1 medium-size head romaine (about 3/4 lb.)

1/2 small head iceberg lettuce (about 1/2 lb.)

3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

1 small zucchini (ends trimmed off), thinly sliced

1/3 cup olive oil or salad oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dry tarragon

1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

Salt and pepper

Rinse romaine and iceberg lettuce leaves; drain well. If necessary to crisp, wrap in paper towels, enclose in a plastic bag, and chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Break lettuces into bite-size pieces in a large salad bowl (you should have 9 to 10 cups). Add peas and zucchini. In a small bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, tarragon, and onion powder. Pour dressing over salad and mix until greens are well coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Los Angeles

Largest of the flatfish, halibut can reach several hundred pounds in weight and can furnish large, thick steaks of fine, mild flavor. Baked halibut steaks, cut thickly or thinly, may suffer a loss of moisture if left exposed to the elements of the oven. To obviate this risk, John Peltier devised a coating which preserves the moisture of the fish, at the same time enhancing--but not overpowering--the halibut flavor.

Chef Peltier calls it "Halibut Alyeska,' Alyeska being a native name for our northernmost state.

Halibut Alyeska

2 pounds halibut steaks, about 1 inch thick

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced onion

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Rinse halibut steaks and pat dry. Arrange pieces side by side in a greased 8- by 12-inch baking dish or pan.

In a small bowl, stir mayonnaise, sour cream, and flour together until smooth; then stir in lemon juice, onion, and cayenne. Spoon the mixture evenly over the fish to cover completely.

Bake, uncovered, in a 425| oven until fish is opaque in center of thickest part, 12 to 14 minutes; prod with a fork to test. Sprinkle cheese onto fish topping and continue to bake just until cheese is melted, about 2 more minutes. Lift steaks onto a platter and serve at once. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Strawberries enjoy a good press. Izaak Walton mentioned that the 16th-century physician William Butler had observed that although God could doubtless have made a better berry, doubtless God never did. In the last century, the great preacher and reform advocate Sydney Smith said that his idea of heaven was eating strawberries to the sound of trumpets.

Even strawberry fanatics, however, must admit some strawberries are better than others. You can grow your own--or find a U-pick farm--and pluck them at peak flavor. With luck, cunning, and a fairish outlay of cash, you can sometimes buy near-perfect fruit in a market. You should enjoy such truly ripe fruits as Nature intended, with no accompaniment at all-- or, at most, with cream and a sprinkling of sugar.

But the exigencies of the marketplace require that many berries be picked when less than perfectly ripe so they can be shipped long distances. Should you be faced with those green-tipped berries that hold only a promise of true strawberry flavor, forget Nature's intention and invoke the aid of Art--as Eldon Riehm did in his recipe for Triple Strawberry Pie.

Triple Strawberry Pie

1/4 cup water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

3 cups strawberries, washed and hulled

1 large package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups strawberry-flavored yogurt Honey-graham crust (recipe follows)

Pour water into a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan; sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Place over low heat and stir until gelatin is dissolved; set aside.

Meanwhile, slice enough strawberries to make 1 cup; set aside. Whirl remaining berries in a blender or food processor until pureed; you should have about 1 cup.

In a bowl, beat cheese and sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth; then beat in the yogurt, pureed berries, and liquid gelatin mixture. Stir in the sliced strawberries. Cover and chill until mixture begins to set up, 25 to 30 minutes.

Spoon the strawberry mixture into the honey-graham crust and refrigerate until filling is firm to the touch, at least 4 hours; cover to store as long as overnight. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Honey-graham crust. In a 10-inch pie pan, combine 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine, and 1 tablespoon honey; mix well. Press crumbs evenly in pan. Bake in a 325| oven until crust smells toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool; if made ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to overnight.

Placentia, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1986
Previous Article:New game plans for cooking light.
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