If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Smoked Prime Rib on the Grill, Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto and Tortini of Zucchini


The lovely and extremely
talented Elizabeth Karmel

The 4th of July is upon us and there’s never a better time to fire up the grill and celebrate the joy of being an American.  And there’s almost nothing more American than beef.  And today I am talking serious beef, not your hamburgers and sliders but a big beautiful rib roast.  And what could be more 4th of July than cooking this King of all Roasts on the grill. So today I repeat a post from our first year: It’s a menu that celebrates the holiday with the beef served with some incredibly flavorful tomatoes and a zucchini recipe that turns every plate into a piece of art. What’s exciting to me is that since I first wrote this post, I came to know the author of the Prime Rib recipe, Hill Country Barbecue’s Executive Chef, Elizabeth Karmel.  Elizabeth may well be familiar to those of you who watch Chopped Chef where she’s been regularly pressed into service as a judge.  It turns out that Elizabeth grew up with a great friend of ours. David has had the good sense to invite Elizabeth to the Hamptons for the weekend and with her arrival, his dinner parties have topped our list of most-appreciated invitations.  Her pimento cheese, her 7 layer salads and her artichoke and spinach dip are all ambrosial.  But even before I met Elizabeth, I fell in love with her grilled Prime Rib.

       Regular readers of Chewing the Fat have heard that I do not run outdoors on the first decent day and fire up the grill.  I have the grill pans to prove it.  As a matter of fact, it sometimes takes me a little while to bring the grill up to the deck from its winter storage place in the garage.  This is fundamentally because I do not feel in complete control of the Weber.  And to me, gas is out of the question because if you’re going to use a grill, surely half of the desired result is some smoky flavor to announce where whatever you’ve cooked has come from. But not too long ago, we were having quite a big group for dinner and I wanted to serve Prime Rib. 
        Prime Rib is the key to Christmas.  I happily serve it all luscious and pink with its jus and of course, Yorkshire Pudding.   But here we were in the depths of June and I had a Prime Rib on my hands.  This is, of course, prime season for every food magazine to publish their annual Grilling Guides. And lo and behold, Saveur had a recipe for Prime Rib done on the barbecue.  Eureka!  Now our dinner would seem more seasonally appropriate.  I include Hill Country’s recipe for Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce.  This is absolutely delicious but not absolutely necessary.  I am sure your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce will be fine.  Although, if you have the time, this one was a big hit.

It’s still early in the tomato season, but our local farm stand gets a big head start by growing some really good soil grown Plum tomatoes in their greenhouse. They’re still stand-ins for the sun-ripened beauties to come.  But one way to bring flavor to the earliest entries is to roast them.  From Ina Garten’s “How easy is that?” (Clarkson Potter 2010) comes a wonderful recipe for Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto.  Since Basil is flawless this time of year, I made my own Pesto.  Ina assures her readers that commercial will be just fine.  I am not Sandra Lee enough to believe that.  And making pesto is simple and versatile, in that you can alter the nuts you use, the hard cheese you incorporate—you can even substitute the Basil for Cilantro or Parsley or Spinach.  It keeps forever in the freezer if you make a batch that’s large enough.  So I do include the recipe for Pesto. 

Finally, there are the “Tortinos of Zucchini”.  This recipe came from the late lamented magazine “La Cucina Italiana” which I loved to read but which died earlier this year, a victim of the battle between print and new media.  La Cucina lost.  But I’ve kept every copy.    “Tortino” means little pie in Italian.  Minus the pastry, these cheese and zucchini treats are very pretty.  They are, however, quite labor-intensive especially when being made for 12.  However, if you are entertaining a smaller crowd, they make a great impression.  And they gave me a chance to use my stainless molds that I bought at L’Atelier des Chefs on my last trip to Paris. Here are the recipes:


3 thoughts on “Smoked Prime Rib on the Grill, Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto and Tortini of Zucchini”

  • Patrick and I were two of the very fortunate guest that night at Monte and Andrew's home. The meal was superb, everything was delicious ! I particularly enjoyed the "Tortinos of Zucchini", they were amazing. Andrew's lemon tart was the perfect ending to a wonderful dinner. What a treat to be with such sweet people on a beautiful summer evening…….. Jay Strongwater

  • HI Monte!
    Well, it sounds like your 4th of July was a blast with some mighty tasty food I might add! Too bad I won't be visiting the city until August, lol…(and that's still up in the air:)

    I have to ask you, did you change your blog URL? I ask because I had such a problem getting here with the link I had in my sidebar. I did a google search to find you, lol and I did!

    Your celebration meal sounds wonderful with all the trimmings. I'm sure everyone was happy that you made the trek down to dig out the grill! Thanks so much for sharing, Monte. Now, of course, I'm in the mood for some Prime Rib! (although, Ina's tomatoes sound pretty darn good too:)

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