Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tastes of Summer

Coconut cupcakes from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  World's Best All-American Potato Salad from inside the back cover of an old Gourmet. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, the revised version says 1/8 cup. Not enough. Jack it back up. And only Best Foods please - mayo is not health food. If you want health food eat tofu. Don't screw up my potato salad.

This is the potato salad that's now famous in East Hampton. If you've been lucky enough to be invited to lunch at Jane's. Or to one of her friends with whom we've shared the recipe. I hear it's gone viral.

I do so miss Gourmet magazine. I love the way Ruth Reichl writes, I would turn to her page first. And every issue would be dog-eared with recipes I wanted to make. Many of my favorite recipes came from Gourmet.

Not so Bon Appetit - they nagged you about health food (if it tasted good we'd all be eating it - we're not stupid and we don't have a death wish), they published the simplest of recipes, nothing interesting or surprising. No delicious prose about foreign lands and the smells and tasted of the bazaar, or the mountain foods of the Massif Central. Ho hum slam-it-on-the-table recipes. Why bother recipes. Although Bon Appetit has finally stopped preaching and started giving us really good recipes. And stories! Not easy recipes, we can get those anywhere. Delicious. Are you listening, Adam Rapoport? Way to go. Keep it up.

Watermelon salad with arugula and feta. It's all the rage now, but when Gourmet first published it (and I first started serving it) it freaked people out...until they tasted it. Yum. Fabulous with a grilled steak. Speaking of steak...

Bistek a la Fiorentina. 
This is the simplest most delicious grilled steak. Ever.

       1 porterhouse steak for every two people you plan to serve. Or three if they're wimps.
          (The best you can get, not from the supermarket. From Lunardi's. Or Rockridge Market Hall's Marin Sun Farms).

       Kosher salt. No substitutions.

       Pesto. Preferably home made. About 1/2  a cup.

       Lemons - about half a lemon per steak plus a few more to garnish the platter.

Heat your grill (gas or charcoal) to medium heat. When grill is hot:

Liberally sprinkle the steaks with kosher salt. This will form a crust, a good bit of the salt will come off when grilling, so this is not the time to be salt-conscious. Lay it on. You're eating steak, for God's sake. But don't do this step until just before you are putting the steaks on or it can pull the moisture out.

Grill the steaks to medium-rare to medium. No I don't know how long this will take - it depends on your grill.

Remove from grill and let rest at least 10 minutes. No Cheating!! I don't cover with foil because I like the crispness and I don't mind if it's not hot hot hot. But if you're that kind of person feel free to tent.

Slather the steaks with pesto, squeeze half a lemon over each steak, then slice (about 1/4 inch thick) and arrange on the platter with extra lemon halves and extra pesto in a little dish. Or drizzled over. And the bones! There's always at least one gnawer at our house.

Light some candles, put Pink Martini on Pandora, and relax. It's summer!

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm. And farmer's market strawberries and fresh peach ice cream.