Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought—and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat.
Today: Embracing summer cookouts but not in the mood for another burger? This steak salad, made entirely on the grill, is in the spirit of the season but won't have you missing ketchup or mustard.
Last week, an early heat wave drove temperatures above 90 degrees for days. In June. The past few Virginia summers have been mild, so we were unprepared for the sudden swelter. I think it caught the produce off guard, too—just like that, the earliest peaches appeared at the market. Often the first bite of a just-in-season fruit is disappointing, but happily, I found myself devouring a peach so juicy I had to to eat it over the sink.
In addition to the peaches, the first bunch of garlic scapes arrived, too. And no offense to ramps, but the garlic scape is the allium I covet most. The mild garlic bite and hint of grassiness are sublime sautéed in butter, freshly minced, or charred on the grill. I've also found that, squirreled away in the back of my crisper drawer, the scapes can last a long time (which is a blessing if you're suffering from CSA stress). Still, the first bunch of scapes is nothing to squander. And so with peaches, scapes, skirt steak, and romaine in hand, my husband Brian and I fired up the grill.
More: Stressed about your CSA? Here's what to do with an overload.
We grilled the fruits and vegetables in succession, chopping them as they came off the grates and arranging them on plates. Finally, we topped each plate with a few well-seared, incredibly tender slices of skirt steak and drizzled it all with the reduction. As the family tucked in, sated by each delicious bite, I relished the realization that summer really and truly is here.
For the balsamic reduction:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (use an economical variety and save the good stuff for other uses)
For the grilled salad:
2 small heads romaine lettuce
6 garlic scapes, tips trimmed
4 to 6 peaches, halved (for clingstone varieties, leave pits intact)
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Photos by Elizabeth Stark