The other day I cooked up a nice grilled dinner that was inspired by my recent Two Guys and a Grill class at Market Bistro. I was further stimulated by the chemistry of warm early summer weather and being able to cook without my wife complaining about clean-up.
That second benefit is one of the secret reasons guys grill, I expect. And if you want to make a complete, no-mess meal rather than a couple of steaks to add to sides cooked in the kitchen, or tubs of potato salad and cole slaw from the deli, you can do that too. I followed Certified Angus Beef chef Michael Ollier’s strategy to divide my grill into zones, with varying heat, to handle both meat and vegetables as well as keeping cooked foods warm after I was done.
I started with some sweet potato I sliced thin after peeling, then coated with some good olive oil and garam masala. Asparagus spears were next, marinated briefly in olive oil with a bit of lemon juice and herbes de provence. And some Vidalia onions which were sliced thin and cooked without adornment in a basket on the grill.
I took a cooking class a few years ago from Annie Sommerville of Greens and she advised us to raid Cost Plus for grilling necessities. The basket is perfect for onions, mushrooms and chopped peppers. The flat perforated grill sheet is for larger vegetable pieces like my asparagus or zucchini or eggplant. I use a Weber Genesis gas grill, which is more expensive than your Home Depot grill but by no means the priciest you can buy, and am very happy with it. In fact, I own multiple Weber products and am impressed at the consistent and predictable results I get from all of them.
To this mix of hardware and software (AKA the veggies) I added a couple of magnificent strip steaks from the folks at Allen Brothers. They were cooked on one side to the point that, as Ollier describes it, they “surrender”. A bit of moisture is beading on the top surface that has not yet been exposed to heat, and the bottom releases easily when you lift it off the grill. It’s flipped over and cooked for no more than a minute or two, then it rests and is served as a perfect rare to medium rare.
The summer is young, but I expect this is as good an outdoor-prepared meal as I’ll make all season. Until I fire up my smoker, that is….