August brings exuberant gardens yielding fresh basil, green beans and tomatoes by the basketful, and people firing up the grill in preparation for a balmy evening outdoors enjoyed with family and neighbors. Plenty of good times and happy memories as we head into one final month of glorious weather. This is summer’s moment.
Today’s entry celebrates just such an occasion with a pair of recipes, one for Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes and the other for a scintillating accompaniment, Grilled Ginger Marinated Flank Steak. The two ideas brightened different magazines’ pages, the green beans Allrecipes August/September 2018 issue, and the steak, the May 2014 Saveur. Despite the varied sources, the dishes are meant for each other, and are united here, possibly for the first time. How romantic.
The green beans are good, steamed just until crispness gets the idea of giving way to tenderness, and not a moment longer. However, tomatoes are this preparation’s soul and elevate it to stardom; they take the green beans on the journey with them. The tomatoes are sautéed in butter and garlic until they’re barely softened, creating a silky tanginess. Cut the heat and stir in the beans and basil and there you have it – ambrosia.
It would take quite a steak to keep pace with this, and today’s entry obliges. It’s marinated, overnight in this case, in a sauce including honey, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Lots and lots of ginger. This tenderizes what can be tough cut, and it soon surrenders juices laden with flavor. Lime wedges accompany, and add to the thinly-sliced steak a final burst of freshness.
After all, summer needs to have a signature platter, something that makes us nostalgic for the season’s wonders even before it leaves on its annual vacation. This is it, a celebration of thriving gardens bursting with greenness, of warmth, laughter and happiness. By October, everyone will ask, “Is it August yet?”
Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 and 1/2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Put a steamer basket in a large saucepan and pour in water until it’s just below the basket’s bottom. Put green beans in the basket and set the saucepan over a medium-high flame. Steam, covered, for 12 minutes, until the beans are just tender. Using tongs, carefully remove the basket and set it aside.
Place a skillet over a medium flame and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes just soften, about three minutes. Add the green beans and basil, then remove from flame. Toss gently and serve.
Grilled Ginger Marinated Flank Steak
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 5-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 1 and 1/2-pound flank steak (*1)
Place all ingredients but the steak and lime wedges in a blender. Pulse until smooth, about four or five slightly-sustained “bursts.” Put the steak in a zip-top bag and pour the sauce over it. Force out as much air as possible, and seal the bag. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes or, ideally, refrigerate overnight.
Heat a grill to medium-high. Place the steak on the grill and cook for eight minutes per side. (*2) Remove steak to cutting board and let rest for ten minutes.
Slice the steak thinly across the grain and serve with lime wedges.
1 – In some areas, this cut is called a “London Broil.” If you can’t find one, substitute a skirt steak or a thin hanger steak.
2 – This is sufficient for medium-rare, as pictured above, and as I prefer. Cook ten minutes per side for medium, and twelve minutes for well-done. Of course, an unusually thick or thin steak will manipulate these times accordingly, However, these are good guidelines for a “typical” steak.