A la Griglia

Nothing sings of summer more than outdoor grilling. Everyone has their favorite way to grill. Some like to light up briquets on the weber or fire up the gas grill. I grew up with the weber and once invested in a fancy gas grill {which went on to become a part of our outdoor breakroom at the business}. After one of my first visits to Italy, I discovered a new way of grilling. In Tuscany, indoor fireplaces as tall as a teenager and outdoor brick ovens easily accessible from the cucina kitchen are a staple piece of cooking equipment in every traditional home. In winter, it serves a dual purpose of warming the house and cooking the meal. In summer, the house keeps cool by cooking on the grill and keeping the heat outside. I fell in love with this method of grilling and bought my own! Since we don't have a brick oven area, we had to handcraft our own, made from bricks and stones tossed aside from a recent backyard renovation. It was an inexpensive way to recreate the experience we loved.
You are probably already eating while we are waiting around for the hardwood to simmer to a slow flame and a high heat, but I rarely mind passing the time with a cool glass of gavi di gavi and a platter of antipasti appetizers. It takes a bit more planning timewise, but it is well worth the wait to taste the smokey flavors of the wood that have penetrated the ingredients we have cooking for that night's meal.

In the summertime, I love to use fresh sorrel or arugla leaves cut into thin ribbons and tossled on top of the seasoned steak. It is like eating a refreshing salad with the smokey, seared steak, all in one bite.

2- 6 oz. ribeye steaks
Maldon sea salt with a sprinkle of fresh herbs
freshly cracked pepper
a handful of washed arugula or sorrel leaves
1 half of a fresh lemon *

Ask your butcher to cut your steaks thinner than normal. They tend to cook quicker and stay tender.
If you have a well-seasoned grill, there is no need to oil the steaks beforehand. They should have plenty of fat from the marbled center and sides of the steak. Bring the steaks to room temperature. Sprinkle with with a liberal seasoning of a course sea salt, such as Maldon, coarsely chopped fresh herbs of your liking, and a few grinds of coarse black pepper.
Toss on the grill and cook until seared, about 5 minutes on each side.

Place each steak on a plate to rest for a few minutes.
Cut the arugula leaves of lettuce into thin ribbons and toss with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and zest and top on the steak. * If using sorrel leaves, I prefer to omit the lemon. Sorrel has a naturally lemony flavor .
Buon Appetito!

Alisa Barry Copyright 2007

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