It looks like we are going to have some solid weather for Memorial Day, which will be perfect for the first real summer grilling holiday, getting out in the back yard or heading to the lake.
As a chef, it usually falls to me to put together the meals. That’s especially true on a holiday weekend when we plan to have friends over, which, of course, we are.
I love to cook, but I also love to be part of the party. That means burgers and hot dogs are out– most of the work takes place after the guests arrive.
There’s a million options for great summer veggie salads, so I’ll throw a few together before anyone shows up, and I’ll put a few big, thick rib eye steaks in an simple marinade. I like rib eyes that are 2-3 inches thick–close to a pound and a half—which are like miniature roasts, the perfect size for a low temp grilling that you don’t have to babysit.
Once they’re a juicy medium rare, I like to slice them into the size of thick dominoes, drizzle them with a thyme-based chimichurri sauce, then serve the beef with wedges of fresh tomatoes tossed with grilled Halloumi cheese (a Mediterranean cheese that won’t melt but develops a nice crust when its grilled).
What’s next? My watermelon and red onion salad.
As the steaks are grilling, I’m chilling with some cool summer cocktails. I’ll press the juice out of the leftover watermelon and add it to my Margarita recipe, which I borrowed from my old Austin restaurant, the Granite, but added a cool twist.
For a fast and easy dessert, I like to make a simple trifle made from blueberries, angel food cake, whipped cream, and then layer it all with limoncello and honey.
More pictures are here.
Sam Dickey is the Executive Chef of Whole Foods Market at Park Lane in Dallas. He is also former owner of The Granite Cafe and 7 in Austin.