The crusty char of grilled beef dressed with a mince of bright fresh herbs and a little good-tasting olive oil is a natural for summer. Even if those herbs aren’t growing on your windowsill or in the yard, they’re selling for next to nothing at a farmers’ market. This is a simplified version of Italy’s gremolata (there, it’s made with a mince of lemon peel, herbs, and garlic). Since summer eating is all about simplicity, use whatever combination of herbs you have around, and add a squeeze of fresh lemon to heighten flavors even more.
You can do this recipe with any steak: rib eye, Porterhouse, T-bone, New York strip, Delmonico, or the delicious money saver, a tender cut of chuck steak. But do look for a thick cut, at least 1-1/4 inches and ideally 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches, which can be carved into slices and anointed with the herbs and oil.
1. Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking. If using a gas grill, set one burner on high and one burner on low. Oil the grate.
2. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
3. Combine the minced herbs with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
4. When the grill is ready, place the steak over the hottest part of the fire for 6 to 7 minutes, taking care not to move the steak around too much to ensure a nice char. Turn the steaks over using tongs and grill the second side over lower heat, turning occasionally, for about the same amount of time, to desired doneness. The best way to make sure the steak is done to your liking is to insert an instant-reading thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, not touching bone. Let the steak rest, loosely tented with foil, about 10 minutes.
5. When ready to serve, carve the steak across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and transfer to a platter along with any juices. Sprinkle the slices generously with the fresh herbs, drizzle on a little olive oil and serve.
From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.
Darra Goldstein is editor in chief of The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, an 888-page reference guide to all things sweet. "The book is really a compendium of human desires, a cultural history of desire for things that are sweet and what it has caused in the world, in both the realm of pleasure and also of pain," she says.