With warm temperatures a given through mid-October and off-season rates in effect beginning in early September, late summer and early fall represent one of the best times of the year to try houseboating. Plus, nothing tastes better than a savory cookout in the great outdoors, and the fully equipped kitchens and outdoor barbecue grills on all of Forever Resorts’ houseboats make this prospect hassle-free.
On a recent episode of Vegas PBS’ “Outdoor Nevada” travel program, Chef Mark Purdy of Las Vegas’ Alizé at the Top of Palms Casino Resort showed host John Burke how to incorporate haute cuisine flair into a laid-back barbecue—all while aboard a houseboat on Lake Mohave in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Purdy’s crowd-pleasing menu includes grilled lobster, accompanied by a grilled corn-and-asparagus salad, a potato salad torchon, and, for dessert, grilled-peach Melba. He stresses that the various condiments and seasonings he uses, often the source of the “fancy” in the otherwise strikingly simple recipes, can be made at home and brought to the houseboat ready-to-use. His mouthwatering tips include:
For the Potato Salad Torchon
Mix together cooked and cubed potatoes, chopped onions and celery.
Add Dijon mustard—instead of mayo—but elevate it by adding garlic and shallots and puree the mix. This improved mustard can be prepared at home before the vacation, saving cooks more time on the water.
For a truly jaw-dropping element—the torchon—cut a cucumber into thin slices lengthwise; lay approximately 12 of these slices onto plastic wrap, slightly overlapping each one, to form a sheet.
Spoon the potato salad along the bottom end of the cucumber sheet and then roll into a cylinder, wrapping snugly in the plastic wrap.
Chill the cylinder for 30 minutes to an hour and then slice into individual portions to serve.
For the Lobster:
Poach 1.5-pound Maine lobsters (one per person) before preparing for the grill; do this at home and then pack the lobsters in ice to bring to the houseboat and keep chilled until ready to grill.
Cut each lobster half lengthwise, keeping the shell intact on each half; it preserves the lobster’s flavorful juices during grilling.
Brush each lobster with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon oil infused with rosemary, garlic and shallot (this infused oil may be prepared in advance).
Don’t overcook; note the lobster will continue to cook in its shell after it’s removed from the grill.
For the Grilled Vegetable Salad:
Brush peeled asparagus with olive oil and add salt and pepper before placing on the grill.
Wrap corn in foil so it doesn’t burn; add to the grill.
When vegetables are finished, cut the corn from the cob and dice the asparagus.
In a bowl, combine the grilled vegetables and add Chef Mark’s exquisite truffle and yuzu dressing to taste: homemade aioli (similar to a garlicky mayonnaise) mixed with exotic black truffle shavings and yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) juice.
For the Grilled Peach Melba:
Brush peaches with powdered sugar so they caramelize on the grill.
Spoon homemade raspberry syrup in the bottom of the bowl, which can be prepared before your trip by cooking down fresh raspberries with water and sugar; strain into a jar or covered dish and keep chilled.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with a grilled peach.
Top with toasted almonds, if desired.
And the real secret ingredient that makes this houseboat-friendly cookout memorable? As Purdy says, “Everything just tastes better outside!”
In the Lake Mead NRA, Forever Resorts’ houseboats are available for rent at both Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina on Lake Mohave and Callville Bay Resort & Marina on Lake Mead. In the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, houseboats rentals on Lake Powell are available out of Antelope Point Marina