There’s nothing quite like a prime cut of steak sizzling on the grill to signal the start of summer. Take your dinner al fresco for this dish that embodies the best of outdoor cooking.
For the panzanella salad
- ¹⁄₂ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¹⁄₂ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 (1-pound) loaf day-old ciabatta bread
- 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into ¹⁄₄-inch-thick half-moons
- 12 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
- ³⁄₄ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¹⁄₂ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the steak
- 2 porterhouse steaks, each 1 to 1¹⁄₄ pounds and 1¹⁄₂ to 2 inches thick
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 cup chimichurri sauce
- Make the panzanella salad: Combine the onion and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to submerge the onion. Let stand for at least 2 hours or refrigerate up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Tear or cut the ciabatta into bite-size pieces and spread on a rimmed sheet pan. Toast until golden, about 12 minutes. Remove and let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. Drain the onion and add to the bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, basil, oil, lemon juice, fine sea salt, and pepper. Toss the salad to combine thoroughly and taste for seasoning.
- Grill the steaks: Build a very large charcoal or wood fire with the final diameter of the coal bed wide enough to fit both steaks. Rake the coals into an even layer. When the coals glow orange-red, fan them with a newspaper to blow off any loose ash. Generously season the steaks on both sides with the coarse salt and press the salt into the flesh of the steaks to adhere. Place the steaks directly on the hot coals, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Grill, turning with tongs, until cooked to your desired doneness, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Lift the steaks off the coal bed and shake each one to dislodge any clinging embers.
- Use a basting brush to sweep off any loose ash, then transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve each steak off the bone and cut the steaks against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Throw the bones back on the fire and char them on each side for 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve: Place the charred bones on a serving platter and reassemble the steaks around the bones. Accompany with the salad and the chimichurri sauce.
Reprinted from Silver Oak Cookbook: Life in a Cabernet Kitchen – Seasonal Recipes from California’s Celebrated Winery by arrangement with Rizzoli, New York. Copyright © 2016, Dominic Orsini.