Norman’s Cast Iron Filets and Italian Grilled Vegetables

Norman Gray w filets
Norman Gray otherwise known as “The Normanator,” is a grill master. He has been in Healthcare Engineering for over 35 years, and is by his own admission, the world’s biggest UNC Tar Heel fan. He plays lead trumpet for the Spirit of Soul Dance Band, and also plays trumpet with the Johnson City Community Concert Band and the Wesley United Methodist Church Brass and Orchestra. He is a constant source of comical entertainment for Spirit of Soul and their audiences. The thing I appreciate most about him is that he is genuine, has a big heart and loves to have fun!

He and Melanie Aldridge invited “Doc” and I over for his famous cast iron filets and Italian grilled vegetables. This sharp grill master uses the side burner on his grill to contain the mess to the outdoors. Lucky for us he shared his recipes!

Norman's cast iron filets
Cast Iron Filets– makes 2 filets. Recipe can be doubled. See Tip below.

Two 8 ounce filets, 2 inches thick
Himalayan pink sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Remove filets from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you plan to cook them. Trim any fat from filets. Salt and pepper the filets on both sides.

Turn grill side burner to high. Heat dry cast iron skillet until wisps of smoke come out of the pan. Add 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil. When oil ripples put the filets in the pan. They will sizzle and sear. Cook first side 3 minutes. Lower grill heat to medium high. If you have a mesh splatter screen place it on top of the skillet to contain the mess. Flip filets. Cook second side 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the pan. As the butter melts spoon the sauce over the filets for 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and plate filets. Let filets rest 10 minutes to redistribute the juices.   Cooking time for two medium rare filets is 6 minutes total or 135F.

Tip: For four filets increase olive oil and unsalted butter to 3 tablespoons each. Cook four filets as follows: First side 4 minutes. Lower heat. Flip. Second side 3 minutes 30 seconds. Add butter and baste for 30 seconds. Cooking time for four medium rare filets is 8 minutes total or 135F.

Norman’s grilled vegetables

Grilled Italian Vegetables

New potatoes, parboiled until done
Zucchini, 1/4 inch slices
Yellow Squash, 1/4 inch slices
Sweet onion, cut in large wedges
Large mushrooms, halved
Red pepper, sliced in 1/2 inch strips
Tomato, cut in wedges
Italian dressing, your favorite brand

Parboil potatoes. Set aside. Clean and cut enough remaining vegetables (everything but the tomato) to fill whatever size, grilling skillet you have. Soak vegetables in Italian dressing until ready to cook. When ready, pour vegetables into a perforated grilling skillet. Reserve any leftover Italian Dressing, (or use more out of the bottle) occasionally pouring a small amount of dressing over the vegetables to coat the vegetables and produce steam while cooking. Grill vegetables for 15 minutes or until desired doneness. Add tomato the last minute of cooking. Remove from heat and pour in a serving dish.

Published in The News and Neighbor on July 20, 2016

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