KCTS COOKS: On the Grill

“I forgot my lid.”
Dave Senestraro of Brier confessed his faux pas. He broke into a hardy laugh. Minutes earlier, he had been sandwiched between co-hosts Chef Kathy Casey and Channel 9 KCTS ON-AIR personality George Ray.

Senestraro buoyant after appearing on live KCTS TV, cooked his now-famous grilled veal tenderloin, with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, in a brown sauce.

Senestraro was among the lucky few (of more than 200 entries) chosen to appear on the station’s 11th viewer cooking special,” KCTS Cooks: On the Grill.”

“I would do it again,” the 44-year-old said. “I love the cooking shows and never miss them.”

His children, Aja and Ian, had pleaded with him to enter his recipe, which Senestraro said he discovered while trying to find a match for a Bolla Italian red wine. His recipe will now be compiled into the latest KCTS viewer’s cookbook.

Wearing a navy-blue shirt and gray shorts, Senestraro looked calm and relaxed during the taping. Minutes before going on air, Ray practiced saying Senestraro’s Italian name, and Casey revealed that they would have potatoes mashed before airtime.

Once the show started, Senestraro began to prepare the veal. Casey observed that the dish was well-seasoned and that most home cooks are shy of the salt and pepper.

Program host Chef Brian Poor, who also hosts a radio program called “The Poor Man’s Kitchen,” finished brushing the grill down with a stiff wire brush. He then wiped the grill down with an oiled cloth to keep the grill clean and well-seasoned.

He placed Senestraro’s tenderloins on the grill. Poor had his handy squirt bottle of water ready do to double duty by dousing any unwanted flames and keeping the grilling meat moist. The meal was now ready for presentation. Senestraro placed his grilled asparagus, artfully arranged, next to the potatoes and veal.

Kathy and George eagerly awaited a bite. George remarked on the rich colors and the wonderful presentation.
Senestraro said he learned the joys of cooking from watching his Italian grandmother. He also learned from studying cookbooks and watching cooking shows where he soaked up all the experience he could.

Animated and expansive, Senestraro looks like a man who finds life very good indeed. His personal passion is one day buttoning himself into a chef’s jacket and opening a restaurant in Bothell where he would serve his own creations, such as grilled filet of salmon presented on a bed of fresh, pure raspberries, with cracked black peppers and topped with pistachio pesto-made with sheep cheese-instead of parmesan.

And that lid that he forgot? The lid is actually a 2-inch metal cooking ring that, in the presentation, he uses to fill with the roasted garlic mashed potatoes. He then smoothes the surface with a knife removing the ring. It leaves a perfect circle of flattened potatoes, which he tops with the veal and morel gravy.

Fortunately, many mistakes are correctable, and Casey oiled a ramekin dish to substitute for his lid, and no one would have been wiser.

Dave Senestraro’s Grilled Veal Tenderloin
Serves 4
1 -1/2 veal tenderloin
4 to 6 thin slices prosciutto (the Italian word for ham sold in transparently thin slices)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
3 to 4 grinds of fresh black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 pinches of sea salt
Slice veal tenderloin into four medallions 1 to 1- ½ inches thick. Wrap with enough prosciutto to go entirely around the medallion. Tie with cotton string.

Place on a plate and sprinkle oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper on both sides.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate for at least an hour—grill over medium to high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until medium-rare to medium.

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