Memorial Day (also called Decoration Day) is the official observance for decorating the graves of American servicemen and woman. It is particularly significant that we also honor those defending our shores today. All too often our thoughts for those that serve are lost as we busy ourselves in the brouhaha at the beginning of the summer season.
Let’s reach out to our local serviceman and woman and include them as we gather around with family and friends for this three-day holiday – and food, as with all events, plays a pivotal role.
Through the years I have enjoyed all manner of food on the grill – vegetables, fish, etc. Yet there is a time and place to boast about a fine steak on the grill, for instance a porterhouse, most carnivores’ favorite cut. Cuts such as hangar, skirt or flank steak may suggest the ordinary, but are cuts that I particularly enjoy.
Flank steak on the grill has many virtues. The meat takes well to marinating, has a juicy tenderness when properly sliced across the grain and contains little fat. With the ends of a flank steak thinner than at the center, guests have their choice of doneness. It is a relatively economical cut, equally good served hot, warm or at room temperature.
Mango-papaya salsa, with its combination of sweet, tart and spicy, is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats. The do-ahead preparation of green bean, potato and onion salad carefully balances the main course. For a sweet finish cap fresh berries over buttery pound cake slices with a dollop of mascarpone cream. Enjoy the holiday and keep the flag flying high!
FLANK STEAK WITH TERIYAKI MARINADE
When grilling any steak turn only once, so as not to interrupt the cooking process.
Serves 4 to 6
2 1/2 pound flank steak (London broil)
3 to 4 garlic cloves cut into lengthwise slivers
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Trim steak of excess fat. With a sharp paring knife, at a 45 degree angle, make tiny slits in rows on both sides of the steak, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Slide a garlic sliver into each slit on both sides and put the steak in a shallow non-reactive dish such as Pyrex.
2. Whisk lemon juice, soy and honey in a small bowl. Whisk the oil in a slow steady stream until the mixture is emulsified. Pour marinade over the steak, turning the steak to coat well. Refrigerate, covered, for 4 to 6 hours, turning the steak occasionally and baste with the marinade.
3. While steak returns to room temperature build a hot fire until coals are ashen hot or preheat a gas grill. Remove meat from marinade and reserve; pat dry with paper towels and place on oiled rack of preheated grill. Cook the steak, basting occasionally with reserved marinade, 6 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare or until springy to the touch. Transfer the steak to a platter and let stand about 5 minutes before slicing into thin slices across the grain, and serve.
MANGO PAPAYA SALSA
Yield: 2 cups
1 large ripe, but firm mango
1 large ripe, but firm papaya
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small red onion, cut into small dice
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice, fresh or concentrate
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1. Slice the mango off the center pit then cut the flesh into 1/2-inch dice: put in a bowl. Cut the papaya in half, scoop out the black/gray seeds and discard. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the mango. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit and gently toss to mix thoroughly. Can be prepared up to several days ahead. Refrigerate in a suitable container until ready to serve.
GREEN BEAN, POTATO AND RED ONION SALAD,
1/2 pound green beans; top, tail and rinse clean
1/2 pound new red potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Cut the green beans in half on the diagonal. Cook in boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, or until al dente. Scoop out beans into a colander and reserve cooking water. Cool beans under a quick rinse of cold water and dry well in paper towel.
2. Cut the potatoes into 3/8-inch slices and add to the beans’ cooking water. Return water to a brisk simmer and cook potatoes for 10 to 12 minutes until tender but not falling apart. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice while still warm. Add green beans and sliced onion to the potatoes.
3. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients; stir to mix and taste for salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the vegetables and carefully, with a large rubber spatula, lift and turn the mixture to coat the ingredients evenly. Can be prepared ahead, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Silvia Lehrer will demonstrate recipes from her new cookbook, Savoring the Hamptons, on Saturday, May 28, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Loaves and Fishes Cookshop in Bridgehampton.