Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer lovin: Board Dressings

Board dressings are a newer fascination. The first one I did was with a Brined Pork Loin, something that I make in the fall and winter. Subsequent efforts at board dressings have been even more satisfying, perhaps because of the season, because not much tops grilling and dining out of doors.

Board dressing does absolute wonders for a piece of meat that you didn't have enough time to marinate. Like last night. I had this gorgeous Bison top sirloin filet. I had intended to dry rub the steak, grill it, and serve it with a chunky avocado salsa, a meal served to me many years ago by the generous and talented Lucas (click here for my riff on his dish). But, the avocados at the market yesterday were unripe. Plan B was a necessity.

Bison can be tricky on the grill. It's lean, but can be tough. It needs enough time on the fire to soften but not so much that it seizes back up. I made a quick marinade of soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic, salt and pepper, and let the steak come to room temp while soaking up the sodium. But I only had about 30 minutes for this, which is why the marinade was so sodium rich. With more time I would have made a red wine-soy-garlic marinade, a/k/a/ Guamba (with credit to Dave B). Guamba, it should be noted, is more than a recipe, more than a noun. It's not so much spoken as it is proclaimed. It's a call to the table (campfire, really), a conjuring of the appetite, a summoning of all that is good: wine, friends, a blazing fire, and steak. I don't always eat steak around a campfire (pity!), but when I do I prefer Guamba.

Anyhoo...I've been staring at this luscious bouquet of mint lately (if you grow mint, you know it proliferates like rabbits and that it can only be kept in check by producing a fount of mojitos) and working it into various dishes. I had a idea for a mint and lemon board dressing for my steak that would brighten up the marinade. It was wonderful. I grilled the steak to medium and made the board dressing right on the platter. When the steak was done, I transferred it to the platter, turning it over a few times to coat it in the dressing. Steak always needs to rest for about 15 minutes off the grill, and in that time, the juices flow into the board dressing, creating a puddle of love. I had a baguette on hand for dipping, and made a big salad, and we dined al fresco in total bliss.

Here's a few recipes for creating your own board dressings. The first one is what I did for the bison. The other two are ideas for another meal. Experiment as you're lead - the critical ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, some fresh herbs and a smidge of fresh garlic. The citrus zest/juice and chili flakes are optional, but highly recommended.

Board Dressing 1
2-3 T fresh mint
pinch chili flakes
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil

Board Dressing 2
3 T cilantro, finely chopped
2 T fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/2 lime, zested
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
Pinch chili flakes
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Board Dressing 3 
2 T chopped rosemary
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

1 comment:

Kate Jaquet said...

Thanks for yet another great posting. I plan to make my very own "puddle of love" this weekend!