Friday, August 10, 2012

Steak Salad and Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches

Meat on the grill doesn't need a lot of dressing-up. I'm perfectly happy with a steak that's been seasoned with nothing but salt before grilling. And that's one of the first things I want when grilling season begins. Let the grill flavor the meat, and make it easy to cook.

As summer wears on, I tend to vary the cooking or the presentation a bit. So here's a slightly different twist on the usual grilled steak and chops.

For the steak, it's served as a salad rather than as a steak dinner, which makes it a much lighter meal. Of course, you can add as much or as little steak as you like. 

The champagne grapes are much smaller that standard grapes and make a pretty - and tasty - garnish on the salad, adding that sweet-tart flavor that pairs so well with meat.

You can use any dressing you like, but I suggest something mildly flavored like ranch or perhaps a plain vinaigrette, since the blue cheese adds a lot of flavor. Blue cheese dressing would be another option.

The grilled pork chops are paired with grilled peaches. 

The pork itself is seasoned with ground fennel seed which is a familiar flavor in Italian sausage. Since the peaches are so sweet, cayenne pepper (or a ground chile powder) adds some heat to balance the sweetness, but that's optional.

Steak Salad

1 strip loin or similar steak
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mixed salad greens
Salad dressing (your choice)
Champagne grapes
Crumbled blue cheese

Bring the steak out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before grilling. Season with salt and pepper, and grill on both sides to sear (and get those nice grill marks) then move to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking to your desired doneness.

Let the steak rest while you assemble the salad with the greens on the bottom, then a drizzle of the dressing. Slice the steak thinly and shingle it on top of the salad.

Top the steak with crumbled blue cheese and scatter some champagne grapes on top.


Grilled Pork Chops and Peaches

2 pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
1 peach, cut in half, pit removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Hint of cayenne (optional)

Remove the chops from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before grilling. Season with salt, pepper, and ground fennel. If the fennel doesn't distribute evenly, you can rub it into the meat.

Grill on both sides to get nice grill marks, then move to a cooler section of the grill to cook through. Don't overcook, though - you want it just cooked through to keep it moist.

Remove the chops from the grill and let rest while you cook the peaches.

Drizzle the olive oil on the peaches and sprinkle with cayenne, if you're using it. A plain ground chile powder would also work. Grill with the cut side down, just to get grill marks - you're not looking to cook the peaches all the way through.

Serve each chop with a peach half.