Grilled meats, fruity sauces a natural fitThere are few things that please a carnivore more than the sound, look and aroma of a steak sizzling on a hot grill.
If you’re uncertain about how to pick a good steak, talk to your butcher, be it at the grocery store or at a butcher shop.
They’re the best guides to what will suit your taste, budget and cooking method.
Some prefer a leaner strip steak while others want a well-marbled ribeye. Do you want individual fillets or a very large Porterhouse to cut and share?
Mention how you like your steak cooked, from still-cold-inside rare to brown-throughthe- middle well done. (It isn’t polite to look down on a steak cooked medium or past that. People like what they like.) Leaner cuts are best with less cooking while wellmarbled steaks can take more grill time.
A flank steak is a good choice if you’re serving a group because you’ll only need one or two, depending on size of the steak and the number of guests. Cook this thin and lean steak to medium-rare so it won’t get tough. Serve it sliced thinly on the diagonal across the long strands of the grain.
Another steak to share is the London broil or round steak. Marinating will make it more tender but pat the meat dry before grilling. Serve it cut into thin slices.
There are variables other than grill temperature that affect how long you should cook your steak. The thickness of the steak matters as does the temperature of the steak. A thick bone-in steak cold from the fridge will take longer than a thinner boneless room temperature steak.
Letting the steak rest before cutting or serving allows the juices to settle back into the meat, especially important if you’ll be slicing it for serving. You can see the difference in the amount of juice that ends up on the plate if you cut a steak right as it comes off the grill compared to one you’ve let sit for five minutes. The meat continues to cook as it rests, so undercook it slightly.
These three recipes incorporate seasonal berries into condiments to compliment your favorite steak. The rosy compound butter gets its color from raspberries with flecks of dark green rosemary. Put a thick slice onto the steak as it rests so the butter begins to melt.
A barbecue sauce made with blackberries is sweet and tart, though you can vary that by adding more or less sugar when cooking. Cinnamon and cloves add spice.
The chutney-like mostarda is also sweet and sour. Whole glossy blueberries bask in a thickened sauce flavored with red wine, crushed mustard seeds and a bay leaf. For an appetizer, spoon the mostarda over a block of cream cheese, goat cheese, or any other soft creamy cheese. Spread on plain or toasted bread.
All three could top any burger or other meats you might grill, especially pork and lamb. Try them, too, with tuna, salmon or halibut.
Raspberry Herb Compound Butter
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature (salted or unsalted)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1/8 cup raspberries (about 10 to 12)
- Salt and pepper, to taste The butter should be soft but not melty. Work in the herbs and berries with a fork until completely incorporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Turn onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form the mixture into a log and roll until it’s rounded. Put into a sealable plastic bag. The butter can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week or in the freezer for a month or so.
- Try other herbs or a mixture of herbs.
- Substitute other berries for the raspberries.
- Mash about 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) of room temperature soft blue cheese into the butter mixture.
Berry Barbecue Sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or olive)
- 1 small onion, diced (about ¾ cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A scant ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Several grindings of black pepper
- 2 cups berries (blackberries, raspberries or blueberries)
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¾ + cup lightly packed brown sugar (can use honey)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar Put oil into a medium saucepan and heat over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden. Add garlic, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Cook another minute or two, stirring often. The mixture should be very fragrant.
Add berries, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar and cook for a minute.
Lower heat so mixture stays at a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft and the mixture has thickened. Purée with an immersion blender until as smooth as you like.
(It doesn’t need to be as smooth as a commercial sauce.) It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
It’s best made at least a day ahead so the flavors develop and mingle.
- Replace some or all of berries with chopped peaches, nectarines or plums.
- Use a combination of berries.
- 1 ½ cups blueberries
- ¼ cup honey or lightly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Several grindings of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, crushed with the bottom of a heavy pot
- 1 small bay leaf
- A pinch of salt Simmer all in a small saucepan for about 30 minutes, stirring often. The liquid will reduce and thicken.
Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt, honey or vinegar. This will depend on the acidity and sweetness of the fruit. You want a balance of sweet, sour and salt. Let cool before using.
(Add a splash of water if it seems too thick.) The mostarda will keep refrigerated for several weeks, improving with age.