White Pants and Grilled Lettuce- Summer Begins!

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May 27, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Happy Memorial Day (or “Spring Bank Holiday”)! I’m used to this weekend being a holiday to kick off summer by starting up the grill and breaking out your white pants and shoes. Yes, that’s right, I’ve always been a stickler for old school etiquette and refuse to dress for summer before Memorial day. Not that there has so far been any reason to breakout the flip flops and sun dresses here in London. It’s a funny sensation to be excited about the potential of weather in the 60s but I’ll take it. I was excited to spend as much time as possible outside this weekend, grill all of our meals and even eating dinner outside. But alas, my plans have run into a few hiccups:

a) I went to clean the grill that the previous tenants had left, as Chris had mentioned was a bit too rusty to cook on. Rusty it was, so much so in fact that as I scrubbed, the burner dropped out the bottom. (I’m just thankful this didn’t happen while we were cooking and set our backyard on fire.) So I guess we need to get another grill.

b) there is a colony of small green bugs living on our outdoor table, so I need to get out the hose and clean that puppy, and have yet to be motivated, so much so that I brought an indoor chair outside to read in the sun rather than deal with bug-gate.

c) since the sun is not setting until 9pm, you’d think the weather would stay warm and the yard light enough to eat dinner outside, but too bad Chris hasn’t finished work before 9:30 every night this WEEKEND.

But I have managed to make some wonderful summery meals using the grill pan and with the windows open, dinner in the conservatory is almost like dining al fresco. Plus there is somebody who has been enjoying the sunny yard…


In the spirit of things, I suppose it’s time for a garden update: Even through a huge hail storm last week, it seemed that my plants were still kicking. As you can see the azalea looks gorgeous in bloom right now. But I’m concerned that that only means it’s all down hill from here. And upon closer inspection, my basil plant seems to be struggling…


The good news is that the cilantro and mint are still thriving, so I’m going to use what I can. Stay tuned for some fresh salsa with the leftover grilled corn (from the following salad recipe), a cilantro lime shrimp appetizer, and some minty gin cocktails!

If you are still looking for the perfect meal to end your holiday weekend, grill up this incredible steak salad tonight. Yes, I grilled the steak of course, but I also grilled the salad itself, transforming plain romaine and sweet corn into a rich and meaty meal.

Bourbon Steak and Grilled Salad: A Broad Cooking

This incredible marinade transforms an inexpensive cut of beef into something tender and succulent. I use bourbon, brown sugar, and two kinds of mustard as the base of flavor.


I wanted to try out a grilled salad as I love that a few minutes on the flame can change lettuce from lettuce to a sweet buttery still crunchy salad base. At the market, I found “little gem” lettuce which are basically baby romaines and the perfect size for individual salads.


Grilling the corn on a grill pan takes a bit longer than it would on an open flame, so I grilled the corn first, giving it time to cool before cutting. Just rotate the corn frequently until it gets an even golden char.


Then grilled the steak, giving it time to rest before serving.

Bourbon Mustard Steak: A Broad Cooking

I brushed my lettuce with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper before grilling. Then I added it directly to the pan after removing the steaks so that it soaks up a bit of the meat juices while it cooks.


Once cool enough to handle, chop the corn off the cobs by holding the corn vertical and running a sharp knife down the sides.


Assemble your salad by dividing avocado, bacon, tomato, and corn. Squeeze with fresh lime juice to keep the avocado bright and add a pucker of fresh citrus to the salad.


Drizzle the salad with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing and add the thinly sliced steak and you are ready to serve a perfect send-off-to-summer dinner!!

Bourbon Steak and Grilled Salad: A Broad Cooking

Bourbon Steak and Grilled Salad

Serves 2

Steak Marinade:

¼ cup bourbon

¼ cup olive oil

1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard

1 Tbs. Wholegrain mustard

2 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp worchestershire sauce

1 tsp hot sauce

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 lb (½ inch thick) flank or rump steak

For the salad:

2 heads Little Gem lettuce (or small romaine), halved and cleaned

2 ears fresh corn

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

½ avocado, diced

2 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ lime

For the dressing:

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup Greek yogurt

1 Tbs. ranch dip seasoning (Penzeys)

1 tsp fresh chives, for garnish

In a Ziplock bag, mix together the 9 marinade ingredients (bourbon through black pepper). Add the steak and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before grilling

Heat the grill or a grill pan and brush with vegetable oil. Grill the corn, rotating every few minutes, until it is lightly charred on all sides. This will take 15-20 minutes on a grill pan, but less on a grill with open flames. Set corn aside to cool.

Add the steaks to the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side for medium. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush the lettuce heads with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 minutes per side. Assemble the salad by dividing the tomatoes, avocado, and bacon between the lettuce. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and sprinkle onto the salads. Squeeze the salads with fresh lime juice. Drizzle salads with ranch dressing and chives.

Thinly slice the steaks and serve with the salads.

Just before serving I brushed the lettuce with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Then I threw the little gems (literally) into the grill pan for about two minutes on each side. They got a great char and picked up some of the steak juices that were lingering in the pan.


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