Friday, April 15, 2011

Grilling Time

The first nice weather of the year always gets people eager to start grilling again. This year, I have resolved to do more grilling. I like it, but I'm not particularly great at it since I rarely do it. That is about to change though, starting with this recipe! 

This recipe was great, and it was gorgeous to boot. I love sweet potatoes and they look especially pretty here with the parsley and scallions.  Also, this hash was genius. When I tasted it, I wasn't a fan of the thyme and thought that next time I'd just leave it out. It was a little strong and the woodsy taste didn't seem to balance with the sweetness of the potato.  When I took a bite of the steak though, it all came together. The thyme really elevated the hash to a new level and helped it stand up to the red meat. 

The breakdown:
  • Flavor/Texture: Great balance of sweet, salty, and savory. All very bold flavors, but they work together and don't end up being overwhelming.
  • Difficulty: Easy recipe to follow, no fancy equipment required.
  • Pros: A different take on "steak and potatoes", with a wide appeal.
  • Cons: The timing was tricky since I kept having to go out to the grill while I was keeping an eye on the hash.  Next time, I will definitely make the hash first and then tend to the meat, rather than working them at the same time.
  • Misc: Blanching the potatoes for 3 minutes was not long enough if you really want them to soften and brown in the hash in 15 minutes.  Increase the blanching to 5 min, or brown them in the pan for an additional 5 minutes. I forgot to get bone-in steaks, and I used scallions instead of chives. I substituted thick-cut bacon instead of slab bacon. I like my steaks medium, so I cooked them for 5 minutes per side.
  • Encore Performance: I would definitely take this recipe out for another spin.
Grilled Strip Steaks with Sweet Potato Hash Browns
By Frank Stitt for Food & Wine

Makes 4 servings

4 sweet potatoes (1 3/4 lbs) peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces slab bacon, sliced 1/4 inch think and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp minced chives
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
4 12-ounce bone-in strip steaks

Light grill. In a medium saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, blanch the sweet potatoes for 3 minutes; drain well.

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp, 4-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the onions to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 12 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook without stirring until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bacon, parsley, thyme and chives; season with salt and pepper.

Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and grill over high heat until nicely browned outside and medium-rare within, about 4 minutes per side. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with the hash browns.

Make Ahead: The hash browns can be prepared up to two hours in advance.

Fire up that grill and dig in!

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