Airplanista Aviation Magazine Feature Story: Grillin’ at Oshkosh EAA AirVenture

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This aviation magazine article was originally published in the July, 2011 issue of Airplanista Magazine. You can view the original story in our digital aviation magazine here.

Recipes to spice up your airport “tailgate” party with an abundance of flavors

By Chef Stuart Stein,
Author, The Sustainable Kitchen: Passionate Cooking Inspired by Farms, Forests, and Oceans thesustainablekitchen.com

Oshkosh maybe the ultimate combination of aviation camaraderie, fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine. The one missing piece is food. Nothing says summer like grilling, and somehow food always tastes better when cooked outdoors. With a little work completed ahead, the following menu is perfect for relaxing and stretching out next to your plane.

Suggested menu
- Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak
- Sauce Verte
- Roasted Whole Sweet Onions with
Toasted Barley & Sweet Pepper Filling

Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak

Filet gets all the glory; sirloin is the king of steak and ribeye is the cowboy’s favorite, but for flavor, nothing beats the chuck. And the best cut from the chuck to use for the grill is the flat iron steak. The flat iron steak (so called because the untrimmed cut looks like an old fashioned metal flat iron for ironing clothes) is a cut of steak from the blade of the shoulder under the seven bone (named because it’s shaped like a “7”). The tough, silvery membrane that runs on the top and through the center is removed and what’s left is a steak almost as tender as a tenderloin with the marbling and real beef taste of a bone-in ribeye.

FOR THE MARINADE:
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
• 1 tablespoon dried green peppercorns, cracked
• 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

FOR THE STEAK:
• 1 large beef flat iron, cleaned, approximately 2 pounds
• kosher salt, to taste
• 10 to 20-year-old aged balsamic vinegar, to taste or Sauce Verte (recipe follows)

TO PREPARE THE MARINADE: In a bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, both peppercorns, garlic, oregano, rosemary and parsley. Mix well, pour over the flat iron steak and turn the meat to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

TO PREPARE THE STEAK: Remove the steak from the marinade. Season with salt and grill or pan sear. While the meat is cooking, baste with the marinade.

TO SERVE: Make sure you allow the meat to rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle balsamic vinegar or Sauce Verte over meat. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables or a simple rice pilaf make a great accompaniment.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND OPTIONS: Flank steak, hanger steak or top sirloin can be substituted for the flat iron. Just make sure that whichever cut you choose, it’s from a pasture-raised, local ranch.

Look for an authentic aged Italian Balsamic Vinegar. A 20-year-old balsamic is expensive (~$50 per 250 ml) but it’s ambrosia in a bottle - naturally thick, aromatic and intense. A little goes a long way.

Makes 4 to 6 entrée servings

Sauce Verte
This version of Salsa Verte is not related to the Mexican tomatillo salsa of the same name. A rustic yet complex all-season sauce, it can be adapted to a variety of cuisines by simply varying the dominate herb. It’s easy to make, versatile, bright and refreshing. Sauce Verte can be used as a marinade, a sauce, a condiment or even a topping for pasta or bruschetta. It’s versatile enough to compliment grilled or barbecued beef, fish, chicken, vegetables or lamb; braised pork; or poached fish (traditionally salmon), shellfish or poultry.

INGREDIENT LIST
• ½ cup parsley leaves (Italian or curly variety)
• 1 ½ cups mixed herbs such as tarragon, basil, chives, summer savory, chervil marjoram or rocket, coarsely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
• ½ teaspoon anchovies, roughly chopped (optional)
• ½ teaspoon cornichons (pickled sour gherkin cucumbers)
• 1 shallot or small white onion, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers drained
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
• juice and zest of 1 lemon
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

TO MAKE THE SAUCE: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley, herbs, garlic, anchovies, cornichons, shallot and capers. Pulse until chopped but not pureed. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

ADVANCED PREPARATIONS: The sauce will last several days if covered and refrigerated. Bring the sauce to room temperature and blend well before using.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND OPTIONS: Almost any green herb can be added or substituted but almost always includes parsley. Some chefs will blanch and shock the herbs before blending to set the bright green color and make a more “pesto-like” condiment. I prefer to either chop all the ingredients by hand or use a mortal and pestle rather than a food processor. Made this way, the sauce will be more rustic but brighter in color and flavor.

Mexican Salsa Verde is also extremely versatile and tasty and usually includes a combination of tomatillos, chiles, garlic, onion, and salt.

Makes approximately 2 cups

Roasted Whole Sweet Onions with Toasted Barley & Sweet Pepper Filling

A Candy Sweet onion is a storage variety of sweet onion that grows especially well in the volcanic soil of the Cascade mountain range of southern Oregon. Other sweet onions such as Walla Walla, Vidalia, Maui or Texas 1015 Supersweets may be substituted in this recipe. Roasting the onion caramelizes the sugars and turns its flavor into an irresistible nutty sweetness. The onion purée, taken from the center of the roasted onions, rounds out the earthiness of the barley filling.

FOR THE ROASTED WHOLE ONIONS:
• 4 Candy Sweet or other sweet onion variety, peeled but left whole
• 3 cups barley and sweet pepper filling
• Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

FOR THE SAVORY HERB SAUCE
• Reserved roasted onion rings
• ¼ cup white wine kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
• 1 cup vegetable stock or water
• 2 tablespoons savory fresh herbs
• Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

FOR THE BARLEY AND SWEET PEPPER FILLING
• 3 cups toasted barley, cooked
• 1 red pepper, roasted, seeds removed and diced
• 1 yellow pepper, roasted, seeds removed and diced
• 1 green pepper, roasted, seeds removed and diced
• 2 tablespoons savory herbs, chopped
• Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

TO ROAST THE ONIONS: Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place onions in a roasting pan; add enough water to cover the onions halfway up their sides. Bake in oven, turning every hour, for 3 to 3½ hours or until onions are tender. Alternatively, wrap the onions in aluminum foil and place on the coolest part of an outdoor grill. Cook 3 to 4 hours or until onions are tender.

TO COMPLETE THE ONION AND SERVE
Remove onions from their liquid and allow to cool. Remove the inner rings of the onions, leaving the two outer layers intact. Reserve inner rings for sauce. Fill each onion with some of the barley filling. Heat onions in oven for 10-15 minutes, until hot in the center.

TO PREPARE THE BARLEY AND SWEET PEPPER FILLING: Combine all ingredients in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Toss and season with salt and pepper.

TO PREPARE THE SAVORY HERB SAUCE: In a sauté pan, combine reserved inner onion rings and wine. Cook over medium heat and reduce wine until pan is almost dry. Add stock or water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Purée the sauce in a blender until smooth. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Keep warm.

ADVANCE PREPARATION: The roasted onions, the sauce and the barley and pepper filling may be made several days ahead, but keep them separate. Fill the onions the day you will serve them.

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