Traditionally, most folks will associate summer with lighter fare for dinner. It’s hot, so nobody really wants to pig out on huge meals. I’d like to suggest that, with everything in life, there is balance to be had.
Summer is also grilling season. Frankly, I’m having a hard time finding anything I can’t cook out on the grill this year.
I submit to you my version of surf and turf with a little summer freshness thrown in for good measure. High heat, steak, seafood and fruit – how much better can it get?
Greg’s Summer Surf and Turf
Featuring Flat Iron Steak, Crabcakes, Aoli and Nectarines!
Serves 2 – 45 minutes (30 min prep, 15 min grill/plating)
2 beef flat-iron steaks (1/2″ – 3/4″ cut)
8 oz cooked crab meat clean of shell pieces (fresh is best)
1/2 red onion, diced fine
2 tsp fresh chopped dill
3 fresh garlic cloves minced
4 tbsp mayo (1/2 for crab cakes, 1/2 for Aoli)
1/4c tarter sauce
1 tbsp cocktail sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 lemon (cut into 4 wedges)
1/3c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 chicken egg
1/3c panko bread crumbs
4 ripened nectarines, cut into 1″ wedges, pits removed
extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper or multi-color peppercorn mix
Prep your heat
Time to fire up the grill! If you are using charcoal fired grill, it’s going to take a few minutes to come up to temperature, so do this first. Charcoal will do best! For added flavor, soak some hickory or alder chips in water. Just before you put your steaks on later in the cooking process, place the drained off chips directly on to the hot coals off to the side (not directly under where you will be cooking the steaks).
Charcoal: Light lump or briquette hardwood charcoal in your grill per your usual method. Place enough charcoal in so that it can spread out and cover the entire cooking area. DO NOT use anything but 100% natural briquettes and do not use starter fluid – it will ruin the flavor of the meat. Once hot, spread charcoal out so it heats the entire cooking area. Get the coals as close as you safely can to the cooking grate. The cooking grates must be white-hot. Place a small, flat cast iron pan on the griddle grate over one half of the coals to heat up. Keep the lid closed and air flow minimal to keep it hot inside.
Gas: Fire up one burner to high. Place a cast iron pan over this burner. Just before cooking the steaks, crank the remaining burners to cook the steaks over to full heat for at least 5 minutes with the lid closed and allow to reach 550-600 degrees.
Prep the Crab Cakes
Crack egg into small bowl and whisk with a fork. Combine egg, crab, panko, 1/2 the mayo, dill, onion, 1 clove worth of the garlic, 2 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of pepper and 1tbsp of the lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Mixture should be sticky and hold it’s own, not runny. Form into 2″ patties and place on a plate. Cover with saran wrap and stash in fridge until ready to cook (15 minutes minimum). This should make at least 6 cakes.
Prep the Steaks
Remove steaks from packaging and drain any fluid off. Wash gently under running cold water. Pat completely dry with paper towels. Allow steaks to sit in paper towels for 2-3 minutes until bone dry. Season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Press seasonings into meat. Leave out, uncovered, on counter for at least 15 minutes. Steaks must be room temperature before hitting the grill or they will be raw in the middle when cooked.
Prep the Aoli
Combine Tarter, 1/2 the mayo, 2tsp of lemon juice, the cocktail sauce, worcestershire sauce and remaining garlic in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add lemon juice as needed until you reach a nice spreadable consistency. Salt to taste. Cover with saran wrap and place in fridge.
Cook the steaks
Allow this to come up to temperatureTiming is everything with the steaks. Place the steaks on the ultra-hot grill. Set a timer for 1 minute. After 1 minute, rotate the steaks 45 degrees (for nice diamond grill marks). Cook for 1 more minute. Flip. Rotate 45 degrees after 1 minute. Check for doneness after 1 more minute (a total of 4 minutes of cooking time). Meat should be slightly squishy, but not raw. Do not overcook. Remove from grill and place on a plate with a piece of tin foil placed loosely over the steaks. They must rest for at least 5 minutes. Do not cut into, press or otherwise disturb the steaks until after this resting period.
Cook the Crab Cakes
Drizzle some olive oil onto the cast iron and let it start to smoke. Carefully move crab cakes from plate to the cast iron using a spatula. They should sputter and smoke a little. We’re after a good sear – remember the crab is already cooked. Flip after about 1 minute. The bottoms should be crispy, almost black.
Plate it up!
Plate your steaks and crab cakes on one side of the plate. Take your Aoli and either serve in small ramekins or use a spoon to spread across the middle of the plate. Place the chopped nectarines on the other side of the plate (see photo). Adorn with a lemon wedge or two.