Grilled Steak With Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce

Serves 4.

Note: As alternatives, 1-inch-thick, bone-in lamb chops or small boneless, skinless chicken breasts work well here, too. Adjust timing of the cooking after you flip the meat. Vary the herbs as desired. From JeanMarie Brownson.

1 beef flank steak, or 4 small top sirloin steaks (1 in. thick) or 4 small boneless New York strip steaks (total weight 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lb.)

• 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided

3 to 4 tbsp. each, chopped, fresh chives, cilantro or arugula, divided

1 to 2 tbsp. very finely sliced fresh mint or basil leaves, divided

• 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

• Spicy Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce (see recipe)

• Tomato-Lemon Relish (see recipe)

Directions

Put steak(s) in a shallow dish. Sprinkle one side with half of the salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil. Flip and sprinkle the remaining over the other side. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Prepare Spicy Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce and Tomato-Lemon Relish, if using.

Let steak stand at room temperature about 30 minutes while you heat the grill.

Prepare a charcoal grill, and let coals burn until they are covered with gray ash. Arrange the coals in a single layer in the center of the grill. Put the grill grate in place, and heat it with the grill covered. Or, heat a gas grill until hot; reduce heat to medium-hot.

Position steak(s) directly over the heat source. Cover the grill and cook, without opening the grill for 4 minutes. Turn the steak(s) over; they should be nicely grill-marked. Cover the grill, and continue cooking until the steak yields to medium pressure for medium-rare, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer steaks to a cutting board to rest. For flank steak, use a sharp slicing knife or an electric knife to slice steak across the grain into very thin slices. Sprinkle steak(s) lightly with salt.

To serve, put a smear of the Spicy Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce on each plate. Top with slices of flank steak (or the whole steak if this applies). Spoon some of the Tomato-Lemon Relish on the side of the steak. Serve hot with sharp knives.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 317 Fat 19 g

Sodium 359 mg Carbohydrates 0 g

Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 0 g

Protein 35 g Cholesterol 103 mg

Dietary fiber 0 g

Spicy Avocado-Lemongrass Sauce

Makes 2 generous cups.

Note: Lemongrass purée is available in a refrigerated product by Gourmet Garden available online and in supermarkets (often in the produce section). For a sauce that is medium-hot, use 2 jalapeños (about 2 ounces total). For less heat, reduce the jalapeños used. If your final sauce is still too hot, simply blend in a bit more avocado and olive oil. From JeanMarie Brownson.

• 1 lb. tomatillos, husked

1 to 2 large jalapeños, stemmed

• 2 large garlic cloves

1/2 c. tender fresh cilantro leaves and sprigs

• 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves

1 to 2 tbsp. commercially made lemongrass purée (see Note)

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium-large ripe avocado, halved, pitted

Directions

Heat broiler to high. Put tomatillos and jalapeños on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat source until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip tomatillos and turn jalapeños over. Broil until softened and nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate with the juices until cold or up to several days.

Put the chilled tomatillos and their juices, the jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, mint, lemongrass purée and salt into a blender. Add olive oil and process until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, up to a day. (Leave it in the blender jar.)

Scoop the avocado flesh into the tomatillo mixture. Blend smooth. Taste and adjust salt. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce, up to a few days.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 30 Fat 3 g Sodium 74 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 1 g

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Tomato-Lemon Relish

Makes 3 generous cups.

Note: From JeanMarie Brownson.

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. bottled sun-dried tomato spread

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. grated fresh lemon zest

• 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional

12 oz. grape, cherry or other small tomatoes, preferably a variety of colors, quartered (about 3 c. total)

1/2 to 2/3 c. finely diced crunchy vegetable, such as cucumber, jicama or celery

2 to 3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Directions

Mix oil, tomato spread, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper flakes in a bowl until smooth. Stir in tomatoes, crunchy vegetable and chives. Let stand at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition information per 1 tablespoon:

Calories 7 Fat 1 g Sodium 13 mg

Carbohydrates 0 g Saturated fat 0 g Total sugars 0 g

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Fried Smashed Potatoes With Charred Onions

Serves 4.

Note: Consider doubling this recipe and put some of the crispy potatoes in the refrigerator to re-crisp and use in scrambled eggs and omelets. From JeanMarie Brownson.

6 to 7 medium-size (B-size) red or gold potatoes (11/2 lb. total)

• 1 handful large green onion tops or large chives

2 tbsp. grapeseed, safflower or sunflower oil for high-heat cooking

• Coarse salt

• 2 or 3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

Directions

Scrub potatoes clean, and place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap vented at 1 corner. Microwave on high (100 percent power), turning potatoes over once, until fork-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well and pat dry.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the green onion tops and cook, turning often, until the greens start to turn brown, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove and cool. Slice crosswise into very thin pieces.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty griddle over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Smear the skillet with the oil and add the potatoes. Use a meat mallet or the back of a spatula to gently smash the potatoes to 1/2-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt. Let cook, adjusting the heat and swirling little bits of butter around the griddle as needed until the potatoes are golden and crusty on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes.

Flip the potatoes carefully with a spatula. Add more bits of butter to the pan and cook until the potatoes are crisp and brown on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat; leave on the griddle until you are ready to serve.

Serve hot, sprinkled with salt and the sliced charred onions.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 232 Fat 13 g

Sodium 32 mg Carbohydrates 27 g

Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 15 mg

Dietary fiber 3 g