I saw a meme this week that said, “Well, we made it to September. March feels like it was only 16 years ago.” I laughed out loud. I can’t say I disagree. Regardless, September is somehow here. School is back. Labor Day weekend kicks off in a few days.
For years and years, we’ve spent a good chunk of Labor Day weekend at the Ellensburg Rodeo. It’s a tradition we love and my kids look forward to all year long. We watch the rodeo, eat way too much fair food and walk around the fairgrounds looking at the animals, games and rides. The rodeo is canceled this year — for the first time since World War II — leaving us with a wide-open long weekend. Our own little farm has that end-of-summer, needs-some-attention, time-to-pull-all-the-weeds look to it. I have a feeling there’s a fair amount of yard work in my near future. When the work is done, we’ll head for the trees, looking for a river to splash in and a dusty trail to follow. Plans change. I’m learning to find the good in it all.
While the weekend may look a little different, there’s no reason to skip out on a good meal. Fire up the grill and stop in at the farmers market or a fruit stand. Right now is the time to take advantage of the abundance of local produce to choose from.
For this recipe, an easy marinade gives flank steak a wonderful smoky flavor while the fresh burst of flavor from grilled veggies adds freshness and flavor to every bite. Even better, the entire meal cooks on the grill for minimal mess and maximum flavor. You could easily adapt this recipe to make tacos or layer the components over a bowl of greens for a hearty and delicious salad. We ate ours as is, right off the grill. We filled our plates with thinly sliced steak and big scoops of grilled corn salsa and crumbled feta cheese.
• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog; her column runs weekly in SCENE. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.
2 1/2 to 3 pound flank steak
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos (you can sub with low-sodium soy sauce)
4 cloves minced garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Grilled Corn Salsa
3 ears corn or 10 ounce bag organic frozen corn
1 pound asparagus (or sub with a zucchini sliced into bite-size pieces)
1 large red onion or 3 shallots
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
Juice of a lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
In a Ziplock bag or shallow baking dish, combine flank steak with olive oil, coconut aminos, lime, spices, kosher salt and pepper. Make sure both sides of the steak are well coated in marinade. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or leave on the counter for up to 2 hours. Regardless, make sure to allow the steak to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
Wash and trim woody ends off asparagus or, if using zucchini, slice in 1-inch thick rounds. Chop red onion into large rounds, cut stem off red bell pepper and cut into large pieces. Arrange vegetables on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper.
Heat grill to medium-high heat or about 400 degrees. Grill steak, flipping to the other side after about 4 minutes. Cook on the grill until you have char marks on both sides of the meat and the internal temperature is at least 135 degrees for medium-rare (about 10 to 12 minute total cooking time). Continue grilling until desired doneness. Remove streak from grill and transfer to a rimmed cutting board or platter. Cover with foil and set aside to allow the meat to rest.
While the meat rests, place baking sheet of vegetables on the grill. Close the grill and allow the vegetables to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Check on the vegetables and carefully rotate so they char and cook on all sides. The vegetables will need about 10 to 15 minutes total cooking time.
Pull vegetables off the grill. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Chop red bell pepper, red onion and asparagus. Place in a medium bowl with corn. If corn is still on the husk, use a sharp knife to cut the corn from the husk. Slice jalapeño in half. Scrape the seeds from the jalapeño and discard. Mince and add to the bowl. Use a large spoon to combine the ingredients. Mince fresh basil and add to the bowl. Juice a lime directly over the salsa. Gently stir to combine. Crumble feta cheese into the salsa or put it in its own bowl to serve on the side. Sprinkle salsa with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.
Slice steak thinly across the grain of the meat. Spoon corn salsa over the meat and serve immediately. Serves 6.