Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cool kitchen supper #3

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled garlicky flank steak
  • grilled flatbread
  • grilled romaine salad
Hey! I haven't posted in over a month! How'd that happen? I have no idea, y'all. With the kids home for the summer and not only making their own damn dinners, but breakfasts/lunches/snacks as well, the kitchen is always an absolute mess and I've sort of lost my cooking mojo. If you click on the "grilling" link over there in the right-hand sidebar, you can see some of what we've been eating -- the usual summer fare around here.

However, this is the first time this summer that I've made my grilled garlicky flank steak, which has been a staple in summers past. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to make it this season, because it's so easy and delicious! Just bash up a few cloves of garlic in the mortar and pestle with some kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, the juice of one lemon and some extra virgin olive oil. Make some diamond cuts in a nice piece of flank steak, then rub the garlic slurry over both sides of the meat, smooshing it into all the cuts and crevices. You can let it sit like this for a bit but there's really no need -- just whomp it right onto the grill and cook it over high heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Let it rest for 5 minutes or so, then slice thinly across the grain. So yummy!

I'm not sure what took me so long to throw some raw bread dough on the grill, either. I'd heard of people grilling flatbreads and pizzas and whatnot like this -- just slapping the uncooked dough right onto the grill grates -- but I guess I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it really worked. And it does! Honest! I used a hunk of the master recipe dough from ABin5, lightly flouring it and rolling it out into an oval about 1/4-inch thick. Then I really did just toss it right onto the grill grates! The grill was nice and hot and the dough started bubbling pretty quickly. When it looked sort of dry around the edges (like a pancake), I flipped it over with a pair of tongs and cooked the other side. I would say it took maybe 5 minutes total to grill up a nice big hunk of flatbread, which I then cut into squares for serving. The kids love this -- they say it tastes just like pizza crust!

I've made grilled lettuce before but it's been quite a while. I love lettuce this way -- it has such a sweet, earthy flavor when it's cooked. All I do is take a head of romaine lettuce, remove the tough outer leaves (sometimes I just buy packaged "hearts of romaine" in the produce department and have done with it) and give it a good rinse. After drying it thoroughly, I cut it in half lengthwise, drizzle it with a bit of EVOO, then slap it on the grill. You have to watch it closely and turn it with tongs every minute or so -- what you want is just a WEE bit of char and wilting, but with the inner leaves of the lettuce still retaining a lot of body. Take it off the grill and slice it crosswise, then toss in a bowl with some fresh lemon (or lime) juice and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. That's the simplest treatment, but you could also whip up a vinaigrette (something mustardy would be nice) for it. Serve warm and enjoy!

Here's the timeline for this quick and easy cool-kitchen supper:
  • Light the grill about 30 minutes before serving time (for a gas grill -- adjust accordingly for charcoal or wood) and set to high heat.
  • While grill heats, prepare the garlic slurry and rub it over the meat.
  • Wash, dry and halve romaine; set aside.
  • Put meat on grill.
  • Flip meat after 4-5 minutes.
  • Roll out dough for flatbread (I use a silpat, but you could put it on a pizza peel or a foil-covered cookie sheet or whatever). I've found that it's better to do this at the last minute if you're using a wet dough, because it gets sort of gooey if it sits for too long before cooking.
  • Take meat off grill and cover to rest.
  • Put flatbread dough on grill.
  • Watch bread closely and flip when needed, then remove from grill when done (about 5 minutes total).
  • Drizzle romaine with EVOO and put on grill.
  • Watch closely, turn when needed and remove from grill when just barely charred/wilted.
  • Cut bread into squares or wedges.
  • Slice lettuce and toss w/lemon juice and seasonings.
  • Slice meat thinly across grain.
  • Serve it on up!

1 comment:

Perpetually perplexed said...

Haysus! I haven't even made the lamb yet (too intimidated by the expense of the meat right yet). And now I'm being tempted by grilled lettuce. I am so trying this (really I am, I mean I can afford to screw up a few hearts of romaine), again thanks for the steps.