Monday, June 6, 2011

Dining Out(side)

As school draws to a close this week (the more you pay the less they go) thoughts of summer creep in.  One of my favorite things about summer is the ability to eat outside.  Whether it's an intricately prepared meal or sandwiches from the deli on the corner, food just tastes better out of doors.   Think about that the next time you dine al fresco.

And nothing taste better outside than food cooked on a barbecue.  Living in Manhattan I don't have much opportunity to grill unless I venture to our weekend place (a.k.a the in-law's).  But for two glorious weeks every August I am in possession of a house with a backyard.  And a grill.  Within walking distance of the beach.  And numerous ice cream stores.  And for two weeks I eat as many meals as possible outside (followed by ice cream of course).  Breakfast on the deck.  Lunch at the beach.  Dinner is on the deck unless it's eaten somewhere where I can smell, hear and see the water.  And the food?  It all tastes that much more delicious by virtue of eating outside.

One of my favorite items to grill is skirt steak.  It's a relatively inexpensive cut with great flavor and it's easy to find. As an added bonus now you can even find organic skirt which I prefer.  Plus it's a snap to cook.  It takes well to marinades but it's also good properly seasoned simply with salt and pepper.  And leftovers (if you are lucky enough to have any) are always delicious cold the next day as a the filling in a sandwich or on top of a big pile of greens. 

This recipe is easily adaptable to what you have on hand (just think salt, acid and aromatics) and is very flexible.  Marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or on the counter just before cooking for about an hour.    And if you don't have a grill stick it in a grill pan on your stove top or run it under the broiler.  Serve with a salad of peppery arugula and tomatoes and some barely cooked or grilled summer corn.  But, whatever you do, eat it outside.  You'll thank me.

Our little summer oasis

Yields 4 servings
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Juice and zest of one lime
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp dark sesame oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ lb skirt steak
  1. Combine first 6 Ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Adjust seasoning as necessary. Place the marinade and skirt steak into a 1-gallon sized Ziploc bag and marinate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  2.  If grilling heat grill
  3. If cooking stovetop - preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade and drain.
  5. If grilling cook to your desired degree of doneness.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Cut meat on the bias in thin slices and serve.
  6. If cooking stovetop heat a large oven-proof sauté pan over high heat and place the steak in the pan. If necessary, cut the steak into a few pieces. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until nicely browned.
  7. Place pan in 400 degree oven and cook 10-15 minutes. 
  8. Remove pan from oven, and remove steak from pan.  Allow steak to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

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