Friday, September 10, 2010

London Broil When it Sizzles

Here in land of sticky summers it's been hot -- hot, dry, and insect-laden. We haven't eaten outside much. Haven't had many bonfires nor done many of the things we so look forward to during the dead of winter when the snow is two feet deep.  We did float around the pool a fair amount, which definitely helped with the heat. But not much grilling.

The Barge
The pool makes our icky mid-west summers bearable. I have a floating lounge -- a big blue floating chair.  I call it The Barge and it is a wondrous thing. The Barge allows me to float and read -- drifting around without a care in the world -- except one. The skeeters. The mosquitoes have been so darn bad this year that I had to haul out the Off Lantern and sit it by the pool just to have a bit of relief from the incessant zuzz-zuzzing around my face and ears.  Truth be told, I hate buzzing noises -- truly a bit of a wacko about it.  A single house fly buzzing around can drive me up the wall until I hunt it down obsessively and do it in.

The persistent winged tormentors and the terrible heat have driven me indoors this summer. And, since I'm the captain of our culinary ship we've grilled very little. Yes mosquito repellent helps with the bugs and the pool helps with the heat but after you're nice and refreshed from your dip you have to apply more repellent. If you don't, when you crank up the grill and stand there in the sweltering heat grilling away the mosquitoes dive bomb -- grouped in squadrons as they attack with relentless  ferocity.  This is definitely an opportunity cost.  Call me a loser but I'd rather cook inside.

Occasionally, on the nicer days, we'd bite the bullet (I know this sounds counter-intuitive because one should love to grill in the summer -- what can I say) and turn on the burners. Here and there, on some of the more miserably hot days, we 'd rotisserie a chicken.  But the joy of a putting a whole chicken on a great big stick is that they don't need much tending.  From blissfully air conditioned confines (or the pool) we'd give the hopefully still spinning bird the occasional glance, reassuring ourselves that the ancient electric rotisserie motor hadn't conked out and the bird wasn't on fire.

Now that things are cooling down a bit and, to my mind, prime grilling conditions have returned, it's time to get back into the searing saddle! The gentle fall breezes keep the zuzz-zuzzers away. The sky is clear and blue, the sunlight gentle again, the breezes cool.  It is the best of grilling times -- time for London Broil.

I'd never eaten London Broil until the age of 25 or so.  It was never in my mother's culinary rotation.  But a friend's summer dinner party (held too many years ago for me to own up to)  introduced to yours truly the  deliciousness of this simple yet so satisfying and uber flavorful delight. London Broil. Love it!

It's so easy -- with very few ingredients -- ingredients you probably already have on hand.   Just a little prep ahead and slap it on the grill.  Easy smeazy deliciousness!  You can make a tri-tip this way too.  It won't be from Santa Maria but it will be just as good.  Maybe better...

Garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil, beef. 
I sometimes find a cut of London broil nestled away in the back of the mark-down section of the meat case.  It is my experience that this slightly gray, little-bit-elderly beef is more flavorful.  If it's less expensive better still. More dough to blow on a nicer bottle of wine -- a Spanish Rioja perhaps? Or a nice Chianti?

To get this culinary show boat in the water pierce the well-washed hunk of bovine with a fork.  I'm a stickler about washing meat well!  In another life I spent some time in a meat department learning to trim meat. There is tons and tons of both bone dust and little bone chips (and other ground up stuff you probably aren't too keen on thinking about) on commercially cut meat. My strong advice is to always wash it in warm water before preparation.

Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top along with salt and pepper (If you're picky you can fish out the lemon pits but they'll just get discarded when you cook the steak so why bother).

Add minced or pureed garlic...

... a little olive oil.

Smush it all around. Then cover and let marinate for several hours. For medium rare to medium, slap it on the grill five minutes a side or 10 minutes per inch total.  If it's raining or the bugs are still bad, you can do this under a hot broiler -- hence the name London Broil,  I think...

Let it rest for ten minutes then slice thinly and serve with your favorite fresh-from-the garden side dishes. In this case, I made yummy zucchini/potato pancakes and an old fashioned tossed salad with an oil and vinegar dressing. Divine and, if you're lucky,  plenty of leftovers for later. Ummm

London Broil:

1-two to three pound London Broil cut approximately 1- inch thick
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Wash and, with a fork,  pierce meat well.  In large zip-lock bag or non-reactive casserole dish mix remaining ingredients.  Add meat, making sure marinade completely coats all meat surfaces Seal bag or cover dish with plastic wrap.  Allow meat to marinate for several hours or over night, turning occasionally to allow all surfaces to be well coated with marinade.

Heat grill or broiler on high.  When hot,  grill meat five minutes per side watching carefully to ensure that it does not burn. However, allow nice grill marks and grill crust to form.  

When cooked to desired level of doneness (140 degrees for medium) remove meat from grill and allow to rest, covered lightly with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes in order to allow meat juices to re-distribute. 

Slice thinly across the grain and serve.  If you're lucky enough to have any, leftovers make delicious sandwiches.

This is also a great tri-tip marinade.  Just eliminate the piercing of the meat prior to adding it to the marinade.

Fall Daisy

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