The latest in our "Cool Meals for Hot Nights" series comes from Caroline Lewin Barrett. She's an occasional contributor to albanykid.com. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her ever-hungry three children and very grateful husband.
There are some nights so hot that it causes us to move slowly. Hot nights where my dog Agnes won’t come out from the cool shady spot under the deck, even if she hears food fall from the table. It will be that hot.
There was a evening recently, where it wasn’t particularly hot outside, but it was hot in my kitchen. Sticky. I stood in front of the refrigerator, door open, staring at the uncooked food, willing it to be put together and on the table. No, I wouldn’t be turning on the stove. We’d be dining on the tasty flank steak I purchased, plus tons of the fresh veggies hanging around from the farmers market. With that decided, I pulled the cold bottle of Pinot Grigio from the shelf, poured a glass and put the bottle back. All while standing with the refrigerator door open. Yes, it’s what we all tell our children not to do. But it just felt so good and cool in my stuffy kitchen.
Once it was decided what we’d eat for dinner, the rest was easy. I pulled a shallot out and sent Elliot out to pick herbs from the garden. That’s been my #1 little boy job since he was 3. At 8, he still happily goes out, kid scissors in hand, to cut rosemary, tarragon or chives. I set Lucy up with a bowl of vegetables, a knife and a pretty plate to arrange them on. She trimmed and cut up sugar snap peas, carrots and peppers. Another perfect job match: the creative, bookish type gets to make a beautiful plate of colorful veggies. Finally, I set Zoe to work pouring olive oil and vinegar for a light dressing, to put over an olive, parsley and tomato salad. She splashed in a bit of oil, a little vinegar, then had fun stirring in the olives and tomatoes. I didn’t tell her what to do, just told her to think about a balance between the sweet tomatoes and the salty olives. She’s not a big olive fan, but still liked this task and tasted here and there. Zoe is a steak lover, and she knew all this work would bring her closer to the juicy bites of beef.
While all three were content in their jobs, I whipped up an onion-y rub for the steak, and lit the grill. Elliot and I spooned the rosemary and shallot mixture over both sides of the steak. Once the steaks were on the grill, all we did was toss up a simple green salad, put out the vegetable plate and Zoe’s parsley salad, and wait.
The steak turned out crisp and flavorful and I even managed to cook it just right – medium rare. Lucy is a vegetarian, so we spooned a bit of the shallot mixture over a portobello mushroom, and grilled it alongside the steak (Lucy stood close to be sure they didn’t touch.) Kids ate up almost every bite of the steak – I had to fend them off to save a few pieces for Paul, who was working late. This steak was very good leftover as well as right off the grill.
Shallot-Crusted Flank Steak
Note: This rub works beautifully on lamb chops, too.
- 1lb flank steak
- 2 large shallot bulbs
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed (about 1 t.)
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 t. sea salt
- 1 t. black pepper
Puree the rub ingredients in a food processor. Spread over both sides of the steak and let rest for 20 minutes. Light a grill to medium heat. Cook the steak for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Serve with Olive and Parsley Salad.
Olive and Parsley Salad
- 1 c. pitted calamata olives, chopped
- 2 c. parsley
- 1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 t. olive oil
- 2 T. red wine vinegar
- black pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Stir and serve with the steak. Can be made 1 day ahead.