Spanish Rubbed Steak

We hate to brag, but this is another crowd pleaser. It's one of our cooking demo favorites, and before our cookbook came out this was the recipe that our friends requested most often. If filet mignon seems a little fancy for your backyard cookout, try the rub on skirt steak or flank steak. 

Spanish Rubbed Steak. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Spanish Rubbed Steak. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook 

Spanish Rubbed Steak

This brings the flavors of Spain home, while paprika and cayenne spice up your steak on a hot summer night. 

 

·      8 filet mignon, approximately 5-6 ounces each

·      1 cup olive oil

·      4 tablespoons kosher salt

·      4 tablespoons sweet paprika

·      4 teaspoons sugar

·      1 teaspoon ground hot cayenne pepper

·      1 teaspoon dried oregano

 

Mix the oil and dry ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Spoon a small amount of the paste onto the top of each filet, spread, turn over, and repeat on the other side. Marinate for 4-24 hours in the refrigerator. If storing more than a few hours, cover with plastic or place in a plastic bag.  Cook under hot broiler or on the grill for approximately 4 minutes per side for a 1-inch thick steak, add 1 minute per side for each additional ½ inch.

Tip:  For uniform, round filets, shape the steaks and tie each with a piece of kitchen twine before rubbing, and remember to have sharp scissors handy to remove the twine before serving.

Wine Pairings:

Marques De Riscal Reserva, Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, Rioja, Spain:  This traditional Riojan blend stands up to the strong spice of grilled meat.

or

Roda Reserva, Tempranillo and Graciano, Rioja, Spain:  More modern in style, this full bodied red has notes of ripe red cherries and aromatic herbs. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Grilled Asparagus Recipe

Although in the off-season, aka the part of the year that is not summer, we are perfectly content with steamed asparagus, in warmer months we delight in lighting the grill and relishing flame-kissed tender green stalks of goodness. We then double down on the deliciousness by topping our asparagus with pancetta-shallot vinaigrette. 

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     Grilled Asparagus in Pancetta Shallot Vinaigrette

Grilled Asparagus in Pancetta Shallot Vinaigrette

Grilled Asparagus in Pancetta Shallot Vinaigrette

Hiking in the hills above our Spanish house we find wild spring asparagus.  We love the old men who collect handfuls and then sell them at the market for 1 euro per bundle.

  • 64 asparagus stalks (approx 3 lbs)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Rinse the asparagus stalks and cut off the bottoms.  Place approx 1/8 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt into a zippered plastic bag. Add 1/3 of the asparagus and shake to coat evenly.  Repeat 2 times.  Place stalks directly on the grill for approximately 2-3 minutes.  Remove and place on a serving platter, set aside and do not cover. 

For the Shallot vinaigrette:

3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar

4 thin slices pancetta

2 small shallots

Maldon salt or Fleur de Sel

Coarse grind black pepper

Fry the pancetta in a large cast iron skillet until almost crisp, turning once.  Drain on paper towels, but conserve the drippings.  When cool, cut or crumble into fine dice.  Finely dice shallots.  

In a glass measuring cup, combine the olive oil, pan drippings, diced shallots, balsamic vinegar and diced pancetta.  Stir well and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside.

Assembly:

Arrange the grilled asparagus on a large serving platter, drizzle the vinaigrette to evenly coat. Top with a few small pinches of Maldon Salt or Fleur de Sel and a few twists of black pepper.  

Wine Pairing: 

Bigi Orvieto Classico, Trebbiano Grechetto Blend, Orvieto, Italy

This lovely wine from the town of Orvieto in Umbria has aromas of fresh peaches and almonds.

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Basil Is Our Favorite Herb

Hands down, basil is our favorite herb; we seriously can not make enough pesto each summer. We know that many of our friends are trying to cut down on carbs and are avoiding pasta, so we have found a great use for all of our pesto. We slather it on grilled chicken breast. Try it for yourself! Pro tip: Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays and defrosted as needed over the next several months. 

Pesto Smothered Grilled Chicken Breast. Photo by Frances Janisch

Pesto Smothered Grilled Chicken Breast. Photo by Frances Janisch

Pesto Smothered Grilled Chicken Breasts

The hot days of summer cause our garden to grow like wildfire.  We usually have a bumper crop of basil:  And what better way to use it, than to make delicious homemade pesto?  

For the chicken:

  • 4 whole boneless chicken breasts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Whole basil leaves for garnish
  • Sliced lemons for garnish

In a glass baking pan, marinate the chicken in olive oil, 2 tablespoons of pesto, salt,  pepper, and lemon juice.  Coat both sides of the breasts well.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

When ready to serve, grill the chicken approximately 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
  • ¼ cup pignoli nuts (pine nuts)
  • ¼ pound Romano Cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup Olive oil

 

Cut the cheese into 1 to 2 inch chunks.  Place in the food processor and process until coarsely grated. Add in the pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, and basil leaves.  Process for approximately 45 seconds to 1 minute, until you have a thick paste.  Use a scraper to push down the sides. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil through the push-tube until you have a thick liquid.  Add salt to taste if necessary. Transfer to an air tight container and set aside.  Do not refrigerate if you plan on using the same day. 

 

Assembly:

Arrange the grilled chicken on a large serving platter.  Spoon pesto over the entire platter.  Garnish with sliced lemons and whole basil leaves.  Serve.

 

Wine Pairings:

Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco, Chardonnay, Grechetto, and Sauvignon Blanc, Tuscany, Italy

A medium bodied Chardonnay, Dogajolo complements the vibrant freshness of home made pesto. 

or

St. Michael Eppan, Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige, Italy

Smooth and slightly racy, this 100% Pinot Bianco from the foothills of the Italian Alps is ideal with this earthy pesto.

 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.