By Alison Boyd & William Sertl
July is National Hot Dog Month, the middle of a summer binge that will have Americans consuming more than seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC).
Weighing in on a similar issue, the National Barbecue & Grilling Association (NBBQA) reports that the Fourth of July is the nation’s most popular holiday for cooking outdoors but offers no hint as to why the word “grilling” was left out of the acronym NBBQA.
To further complicate matters, legend has it the second president of the United States, John Adams, sat down to a celebratory meal of turtle soup on the country’s first birthday. It soon became clear that coming up with a suitable main course this month would be challenging.
We began by eschewing the obvious, refusing to jump on the hot-dog bandwagon. But we did like NBBQA’s idea of outdoor grilling if still wondering why they left “grilling” out of NBBQA. Suddenly, the answer popped up: BBQ steak marinated in miso and served with salsa verde, a 21st Century celebration of a diverse America.
Potatoes were the logical choice for an easy side, to be slipped into the oven just before the steaks went onto the grill. A cobbler with peaches, now coming into season on the Twin Forks, sounded ideal to round out the meal. As for soup—Hello John and Dolly! (or is it Abigail?)—ixnay on the urtlestay.
We wish we’d made the steak for Memorial Day. We might make it for Labor Day. And we now offer it for the Fourth and every day this summer on the way to seven billion.
Miso Marinated Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde
Pick up 3 pounds of prime skirt steak—guaranteed to be juicy and tender—from your butcher. Ask them to trim it.
1 ½ Tbs white Miso
3 Tbs soft brown sugar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sherry or red-wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic minced
½ cup of peanut or canola oil
Whisk all ingredients together and place in a large Ziploc bag with steaks. Marinate for 4-12 hours in the refrigerator
1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbs chives, chopped
2 Tbs basil, finely chopped
2 Tbs mint, finely chopped
I shallot, minced
3 Tbs capers, chopped
4 anchovies, packed in oil and minced
Lemon zest, finely chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
I Tbs sherry or red-wine vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Set a barbecue to medium high heat. Place the steaks on a well-oiled grate and cook for about 3 minutes each side for medium-rare. Let meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing crosswise into thick pieces. Arrange on a platter, add cooking juices, and serve family style with the salsa verde, potatoes, and corn.
Smashed Garlic Potatoes
2 lbs small red or yellow potatoes, or mix them up
1 tsp salt (more for seasoning later in the recipe)
I large garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
I tsp paprika
Put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, add a teaspoon of salt, and boil until just tender. Drain the potatoes and spread them out on paper towels to cool. Place potatoes on a heavy wooden board and press each one down with the palm of your hand until it flattens into a disc.
Pound the garlic clove and a pinch of salt into puree in a mortar and pestle. Mix potatoes in a large bowl with the garlic puree, olive oil, paprika, and salt. Spread in a single layer on a heavy baking sheet and cook in a 350-degree oven until brown and crunchy, about 20 minutes.
Our tender cake-like crust replaces the traditional biscuit topping in this summer favorite.
It’s a breeze to make and tastes good with other fruits too, such as plums and apples. But when it comes to King Cobbler, the peach is Queen.
½ cup cake flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
I cup butter at room temperature
I cup sugar
I tsp natural vanilla flavoring
Mix the flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and creamy before adding the egg and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture until well blended. Set aside.
8 large ripe peaches, skinned and sliced
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ cup (plus two Tbs) sugar
2 Tbs. peach jam
2 tsps cornstarch
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside.
Place the peach filling in a 9×9 baking dish. Spoon dollops of topping onto the fruit until covered.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes until the topping is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
New Month: License to Clam
Alison Boyd ran a catering business in her native London before working as a private chef in Bridgehampton. She has since decamped to the North Fork where she cooks frequently with William Sertl, Culture Editor of the Beacon and former travel editor of Saveur and Gourmet magazines. Every Thursday, before their spouses arrive for the weekend, they dine out and plot their next home-cooked meal.