Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I smell summer...
It's starting to smell like summer. I know that sounds kind of strange, but when you think about it, there are certain smells we associate with every season. For me, freshly cut grass, the after-rain smell (due to the daily afternoon rain Florida summers are known for) and the pervasive smell of charcoal grills all scream summertime.
I'm not picky: throw just about anything on a hot grill and I want to eat it. Maybe it has more to do with my consuming obsession with summer than the actual flavor of grilled foods, but to me, there's nothing better than an outdoor BBQ with friends, especially if there's a swimming pool nearby.
Burgers and hot dogs are tasty and cheap, but I wanted to think of another option that's just as simple, but has the potential to take a little backyard cookout from expected and ho-hum to fresh and impressive. Served with some ice-cold watermelon and homemade lemonade, you just may forget about the old standbys.
Summertime Steak with Grilled Corn & Dill Butter
For the steak
2 2 lb flank steaks, trimmed of any big pieces of fat
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 juicy lime
For the corn
6 ears of sweet corn, silk removed but husks on
1 stick of softened butter
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Light squeeze of lemon juice
Combine the oil and spices (everything except the lime) in a small bowl and mix well with your fingers (it should make a paste.) Rub mixture evenly over entire steak and let marinate on counter top for 30 minutes.
Completely submerge corn in cold water (either in a large stockpot or in the sink) for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the butter, dill, salt and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
Prepare your grill and lightly brush grates with oil. Shake excess water off of corn and place directly on the grill. Close top to control flames. After 10 minutes, turn corn with tongs and cook, with the cover on, 8 to 10 minutes more. Pull corn off grill and set aside.
Brush grates with oil again and put steaks on. Cook 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. When finished, set aside for a few minutes to let juices re-distribute before slicing. When slicing, find the grain of the meat and slice against it. The more thinly you slice it, the more tender it will be.
Just before serving, squeeze the juice of a lime over the sliced steak. Peel back corn husks and slather generously with dill butter, or serve corn with butter in a bowl on the side.
If you have a gas grill, lucky you. Hit the switch and you're set. But if you fall into the old-school charcoal grill category, there is one grilling sin that you should never, ever commit. I went to a party a few years ago where all of the otherwise delicious-looking BBQ had the distinctive and unpleasant flavor of lighter fluid. Nothing ruins hard work and incredible grilled food like the noxious aroma of gasoline. Do yourself and your guests a favor and outlaw those squeezy bottles of lighter fluid. Your best friend when lighting those stubborn little black nuggets is a charcoal chimney. For little more than $10, they ignite charcoal with zero chemicals. Plus it's a great way to recycle newspaper. Win-win!