Remember the Polar Vortex? It’s certainly a winter I’ll never forget. As a native San Diegan, it’s not surprising that I felt a little unprepared for the “Groundhog Day” experience of never-ending subzero temperatures. What is surprising, at least to my West Coast relatives, is that this winter feels mild to me. As I write this, it’s 37 degrees outside. In my youth that would have signified the coming of the next ice age. Now it means it’s time to break out the grill.
Well, not the outside grill. I’m acclimated, not crazy. No, I’m referring to a grill pan. Even if it’s not quite warm enough to break out the flip-flops, I can feel that spring is just around the corner and I’m ready to start getting in the mood by throwing a steak on the grill.
Grill pans are one of my favorite tools in the kitchen. With three boys, several years ago I invested in the large two-burner variety with one ridged “grill” side and one flat “griddle” side, which is perfect for weekend pancakes.
Although the grill pan won’t give you the same smokiness you get from an outdoor charcoal grill, it does come close to simulating a gas grill. In the middle of March, that’s good enough for me.
To make up for the lack of smoke, I try to insert some other flavor boosters to my indoor grilled items. In the case of this Grilled Herb-Basted Steak and Potatoes, the secret flavoring agent is — drum roll, please — herbs. For this recipe I take a page out of the Argentinian chimichurri handbook and combine parsley, cilantro and fresh oregano with garlic and equal parts red wine vinegar, olive oil and water. The result is a heady concoction, that, much like mustard, doesn’t taste great straight from the spoon, but makes absolutely everything it’s slathered on better.
Besides steak, the recipe also calls for painting halved boiled potatoes with the herb mixture and grilling those while the steak rests. If your grill pan is large enough, you should feel free to expand the herbal essence to slices of zucchini, eggplant, onions and/or peppers with the herbs and grill those, too, making this a true one-pan meal.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @meredithdeeds.