Memorial Day is on the horizon. Many of us will enjoy a three day weekend in what has become the unofficial start of summer. First, everyone at Ponte and I would like to extend our gratitude to all of the brave men and women in uniform who have fallen fighting for this great country of ours. Thanks to you, your families, and our soldiers serving today; we toast to you this holiday!
Memorial Day is all about the grill. For those of us who actually experienced a winter (pretty much everyone but SoCal), our grills have been doing little but collecting dust for a long time. Rain or shine, I know my family will be using ours come Monday. While it’s customary to do barbeque chicken, burgers, hot dogs or ribs, I’m seriously considering…a salad.
Before you roll your eyes, allow me to explain: this isn’t just any salad. This salad is overflowing with juicy grilled steak, seared sweet peaches and is dressed in a creamy homemade blue cheese dressing. It is more than a meal, it is an experience for the taste buds. Despite the steak and cheese, this salad feels surprisingly fresh due to the tender greens, the peaches and the fresh herbs used in the dressing. And yet, you’ll be totally satisfied once you’ve finished. Magic salad is what I like to call it. Even my meat and potatoes-eating husband is a fan. Spring greens are plentiful right now at farmer’s markets and grocery stores and act as the perfect foil for loading on the other elements. Once the steak is grilled to your liking, let it rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and lay the slices over the greens. Do the same with the peaches. I first made this years ago in the middle of August when peaches were at their prime ripeness, and seeing as it’s only May, you may want to substitute apricots, which are in season and will be just as delicious. Plums and nectarines would also be fine substitutes once they are in season later in the summer. Finally, be generous with the blue cheese dressing, because, well, you’ll want to. With this dish, I like to drink a big, powerful red wine. Ponte’s 2011 Zinfandel is ideal. Its black raspberry and mint flavors and pleasant tannins are fantastic with medium-rare steak and strong blue cheese. Plus, it will compliment any char the grill has put on the fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon and Super T are also great choices.
Okay, okay, I know suggesting a salad for Memorial Day may be a bit of a stretch, but definitely try it sometime this summer when the stone fruit is ripe. There is absolutely, positively no way you’ll be disappointed!
Steak, Peach and Blue Cheese Salad
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Grilled Steak and Peach Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
*Potentially feeds 4, although my husband and I typically eat it all between ourselves
- 12 oz New York strip steak
- 2 peaches, halved and pitted (or 4-5 apricots)
- 4 cups spring greens
For Blue Cheese Dressing:
- ½ lb crumbled blue cheese
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp minced chives
- 1 Tbsp chopped basil
First, make the blue cheese dressing by whisking together all of the dressing ingredients except the tablespoon of chives and basil. Once combined, gently fold in chives and basil and refrigerate until ready to serve. Pay dry the steak and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, brush the peach halves with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Heat your grill, season meat with salt and pepper and cook steak to your liking. Place peaches on grill face down and cook until nice, dark grill marks can be seen on the fruit. Turn peaches over and allow the back to get grill marks as well. Remove steak and peaches from grill and let rest for about 10 minutes. Slice steak into strips and set aside. Slice peach halves into slices and set aside. Divide the salad green evenly among plates and top each plate with the steak slices and peaches. Pour on as much blue cheese dressing as you’d like and enjoy!
–What will you be grilling on Memorial Day?