GINNA PARSONS: B’ham trip inspires new recipe

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Last week, my husband and I took a few days off work to spend with our teenage son during spring break. That Patrick enjoys hanging out with us is nothing short of amazing, and for that we are blessed.
Toward the end of the week, we made an overnight trip to Birmingham to eat at Highlands Bar and Grill, one of Frank Stitt’s restaurants. Charlie and I have been enjoying the Highlands for years and we introduced our kids to it about four years ago.
The three of us shared two appetizers and then Charlie ordered braised rabbit with foie gras, dried figs and Swiss chard, Patrick had flounder with an artichoke, fennel and olive relish served over farro, and I chose the black grouper with an onion pirlau, leeks, Brussels sprouts and pea tendrils.
There is a reason Frank Stitt is named one of the best chefs in the Southeast.
Before we left B’ham, we stopped at a Whole Foods to buy some specialty items and as we passed the meat counter, I spied a particularly pretty piece of London broil. We picked it up, thinking we’d grill it as usual, but after we got back home, I started poking around in cookbooks looking for something different.
I came across this hoisin sauce recipe for grilling chicken or pork, but decided it would be good on grilled beef as well.
It was.
We served the thinly sliced steak over basmati rice and drizzled the sauce over the top. Steamed green beans with sliced almonds rounded out the meal. It wasn’t Frank Stitt quality by any means, but it was good.

Hoisin Grilling Sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch Chinese five-spice powder
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
Whisk together hoisin sauce, vinegar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, pepper flakes and five-spice powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place water in a 2-quart saucepan; pour sugar in center of pan, taking care not to let sugar crystals adhere to sides of pan. Cover and bring mixture to a boil over high heat; once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until syrup is golden amber, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Quickly remove saucepan from heat and whisk in hoisin mixture. Return to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until caramel has dissolved and sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl to use for basting when grilling meat. Set aside remaining sauce for serving.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.