Summer food can mean many things for many people. For some, it’s a simple sandwich thrown into a backpack before rushing off to the beach. For others, it’s a taste-a-pallooza of barbecued meats and other seasonal traditional treats. And then there are those that enjoy something light and cool to beat the heat. The trick, however, for a great summer meal is combining all those tastes into one incredible dish that can be enjoyed by all.
Sounds daunting, but when the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Jason Giles has got your back, you are only a few simple steps away from wowing guests, friends and family alike. Luckily, the man behind the great tastes at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub is sharing some of his summertime secrets with all of us.
Take it away Chef!
This is a great summer salad that is easy to prepare and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. I would serve this with a nice crusty sour French bread and sit out on the patio enjoying all that summer has to offer.
Begin by marinating the Flank steak. Place the Flank steak in a container that can hold the meat and ½ cup of the balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below). Pour the vinaigrette over the steak, being sure to coat both sides and then let it marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a blender. Mix until well blended. Add two pinches of black pepper. Slowly add oil until well blended. Taste and season with salt if needed.
When you are ready to eat…
Heat the grill on high and lightly oil the grilling surface. To prepare the steak for grilling, lift out of the marinade and let most of the dressing drip off (otherwise the grill will flare up when you put the meat on). Then season with salt and black pepper. Grill for 6-8 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Remove from the grill and let the steak rest lightly covered with foil on a plate on the kitchen counter.
While the grill is still hot, lightly oil again. To prepare the peaches, lightly season with the salt and black pepper and then grill for 3 minutes or until some nice charring happens. Remove and let rest until service.
To assemble the salad….
Peel and dice the avocado, slice the peaches (each half in to 5 pieces), chop and rinse the red leaf lettuce. Make sure the arugula and spinach are clean as well. In a large salad or serving bowl combine the three lettuces and toss with the remaining ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette. Arrange the sliced peaches and avocado on the top of the lettuce and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
For the meat I would recommend slicing it very thin as Flank tastes better that way. Then you can either put it over the salad in the bowl or serve it on the side and let your family and friends dish it up themselves.
Enjoy life, savor great food and embrace good company!