Summer’s finally here and, at least in California, we already have some delicious tomatoes, specifically those of the cherry variety. Thanks to the kindness of our neighbors brave enough to venture out to our local farmers market, we were able to obtain a nice supply. More often than not, we enjoy these tomatoes raw, perhaps sprinkled with a little salt, drizzled with olive oil, and served along side slices of fresh mozzarella. Last night, however, I decided to so something a little different.
Gone are the days when I could eat steaks like this 3 or 4 times a week. Now, more health conscious, it’s more like a once-a-month indulgence. Rather than our small electric grill, I prefer to use a two-burner grill pan to prepare steaks like this one.
I leave the steaks out of the fridge for about an hour to let them come to room temperature. I dry them with paper towels, and season one side liberally with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. I place the steaks seasoned-side down on a preheated hot grill pan pressing down to ensure full contact with the grill. I then season the second side as I did the first.
I cook on high for one minute and then on medium for about 5 minutes more for steaks that are an 1.25 inches thick. I then flip and cook on high for one minute and on medium, again for about 5 minutes.
After each one minute sear on high, I move the steaks to the center of the grill so that they’re not directly over the flame.
After cooking, I allow the steaks to rest for several minutes before serving.
For our salad, I prepared a fresh tomato salad that I used to enjoy as a child. For the tomatoes, I used some beautiful mini San Marzano tomatoes grown in Texas by Village Farms that I just discovered at our local Whole Foods. They’re perfectly textured and delightfully sweet.
I slice the tomatoes in half and season with Kosher salt. I then add one large garlic clove thinly sliced, a pinch of dried oregano, and about 6 basil leaves torn. I drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil and add a small ice cube. I then cover the salad with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. The ice cube is a carry over from my aunt, who used it to extend the dressing.
Wine Pairing: Valpolicella Ripasso
Even when you have leftovers for dinner as we did last night, it’s nice to add something fresh to the menu. Some leftover pollo alla caccciatora was on the menu for supper yesterday and I wanted to bring something fresh to the table. Earlier in the day, I found some great tomatoes at the market and thought of a salad I often enjoyed while growing up.
4 or 5 ripe, yet still firm, tomatoes
Salt to taste
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
4 or 5 leaves fresh basil rolled and cut into strips
1 small ice cube
- Depending on their size, cut 4 or 5 tomatoes in quarters or eighths.
- Sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Drizzle with the olive oil.
- Add the oregano after rubbing it in your palms to release the flavor.
- Add the basil.
- Toss to coat.
- Add 1 small ice cube and refrigerate for at least an hour. The ice blends with the juices from the tomatoes to extend the dressing.
Toss before serving.