In the summertime, grilling seems to be the favored cooking technique for so many reasons – we can cook without heating up the house, there are no pots and pans to scrub, and we get to be outside in the garden.
Last year, on the Fourth of July, in keeping with the holiday tradition, I grilled hamburgers… it went against my general style of entertaining in that I usually cooking everything ahead of time. But I thought, “How hard can burgers be? Even if for 12 people.” Actually, it was a nightmare (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it wasn’t great). Instead of drinking G&T’s and chatting with my guests in the garden, I was contending with an overcrowded grill that was flaring up from all the fat drippings, shuffling around patties and buns.
This year, I still grilled but went back to my usual mode – cooking everything ahead of time. My “barbecue” still had the summertime mark of grilling, without the stress created by live fire. I twisted around an old favorite into Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Sweet Potato Salad and Cilantro Mojo. The flank steak was seasoned with fresh oregano, lime juice, salt and pepper before grilling.
Sweet Potato Salad
Adapted from the Weber Cookbook courtesey of Dan Kirsch.
3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 – 3 stalks celery, diced
2 red bell peppers
3 scallions, cut into rings
¼ cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
6 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. lime juice
1 clove garlic, or 1 garlic scape
1 small jalapeno, diced (remove seeds first for a more mild dressing)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cumin
1. Combine all ingredients for dressing.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut lengthwise into ½ inch thick slices
3. Toss sweet potato slices with about 3 tablespoons of dressing.
4. Prepare a charcoal grill on one side of the grill.
5. When it’s hot, blacken the skin of the red peppers on all sides and then put in a stainless steel bowl, covered with plastic.
6. Grill the sweet potato slices on the hot side of the grill until nicely marked on both sides. If there’s dressing leftover in the bowl, save to add to the salad at the end. Move the slices to the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill, leaving the vents open, to “roast” the sweet potato slices until tender, about 15 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, peel away the blackened skin of the peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Dice the peppers and toss them, along with the scallions and celery in the dressing.
8. When sweet potatoes are tender, remove from grill and dice. Add to the other veggies and toss with cilantro and extra dressing.
9. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.