I cling to summer. It seems the shortest of seasons. Winter must be six months longer. And while I do love my snowshoeing, I can wait. I treasure the idea of enjoying grand summer meals for just another month or two.
I can’t win this war of the seasons. But we can all still win a weekend battle or two. You can still get watermelon, the peppers are perfection, and your butcher just may have a grand cut stashed away.
This is a hot meal, with chili flavor adorning both the steak and salad. You are in control, though, because the suggested amounts of chile, ginger, peppers and honey can all be adjusted by you. The flavors added to the steak — hot and sour — combine with the caramelization of the grill to give you satisfaction. The salad, with the heat of peppers and coolness of the watermelon, is self-contrasting and serves to balance the heat of that steak.
This is a great Saturday night recipe. Easy to prepare, yet satisfying complex in flavor.
If you are grilling this weekend, and you notice leaves falling around you, just ignore them. They are all going away.
Grilled Flank Steak with Spicy Pepper and Watermelon Salad
Yield: 4 servings:
For the Flank Steak:
- 1½ tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon rich mushroom soy sauce
- 1½ pounds flank steak
For the Pepper and Watermelon Salad:
- ¼ cup chili sauce (such as sriracha)
- ¼ cup olive oil or grape seed oil
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1¼ teaspoons honey
- 2 large bell peppers, preferably assorted colors, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced red chili peppers
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, diced
- Fresh mint, chopped
For the Steak:
Whisk all ingredients except flank steak in a baking dish or bowl large enough to accommodate the steak. Add steak; turn to coat. Cover and let marinate at room temperature up to 2 hours; turning occasionally.
For Pepper and Watermelon Salad:
Whisk hot chili sauce, oil, vinegar, and honey in small bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Place peppers and chiles in large bowl. Toss with 6 tablespoons dressing. Set aside.
Preparation and Assembly:
Prepare barbecue or stove-top grill pan over high heat. Grill steak with some marinade still clinging until cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for rare. Transfer to work surface; let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak against grain; transfer to platter. Drizzle with some of remaining dressing from salad.
Toss watermelon into pepper salad. Serve flank steak and salad with remaining dressing alongside.
Source: Dorie Greenspan in Bon Appetite
Here’s a salad filled with favorite flavors, but I doubt you’ve ever seen them combined this way. From The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega, I recently served this dish at a party. I put it down, turned around, and found that it almost instantly disappeared. There’s something here for everyone: watermelon, tomato, vinegar, pistachios, and goat cheese.
Your mouth is not overwhelmed with all the flavors, but it’s working the whole time you enjoy this Spanish treasure. It is a great party dish, one you can easily scale up for 10 or 20 or more people.
Fresh micro greens from a farmers’ market and truly good sherry vinegar will help to make this a treat.
Watermelon Salad with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Pistachio
Yield: serves 4-6
- ½ cup Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 quantity cherry dressing, recipe follows
- ½ small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into four 2 x 4″ blocks, approximately 1 inch thick
- 4 teaspoons chopped the pistachios
- 6 ounces soft goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons micro greens
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Bring the Ximinez sherry vinegar to a boil in a small pan. Lower the heat and cook until it reduces by more than half and turns to a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the diced tomatoes with the sherry dressing. Slice the watermelon blocks into ¼-inch slices and fan the slices on a serving plate. Spoon the tomato mixture over the top of the watermelon. Sprinkle with the pistachios. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Garnish with the micro greens and fresh thyme. Sprinkle with sea salt. Spoon a streak of the Ximinez reduction down one side of the plate, and follow with olive oil. Repeat for the remaining servings and serve immediately.
- ½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
Whisk the vinegar, olive and oil and salt in a blow. Set aside.
Source: The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega