One of the great things about being a chef in the summer is the availability of Nature’s Bounty.
From succulent, plump fruit, to the endless varieties of fresh greens and lettuces, the choices are endless and always provide a new and exciting combination. For this reason, my go-to meals quite often include a salad with all of the freshest local ingredients I can locate.
On my most recent excursion around town, I came across some perfectly ripe Florida peaches along with some freshly picked arugula; a match made in heaven if you ask me. My course was set. I was going to construct an arugula and ribeye salad with sliced peaches and chevre goat cheese. I looked to House of Balsamic’s – 8 Yr. Aged Vinegar from Saporoso to assist with some well rounded acidity and sweetness providing an outstanding balance to the salad.
For those of you just entering the world of Balsamics; remember that you get what you pay for. Inexpensive products almost always have very sharp if not harsh endings that will leave your palate unable to enjoy the cornucopia of other flavors available on your plate. So the moral of the story is: spend the few extra dollars on a decent product, so you can enjoy the entirety of your meal. Like a good wine, I found all of the House of Balsamic’s vinegars to greatly exemplify smooth and well balanced acidity, with clean finishes.
The salad turned out great and I recommend it to anyone looking for a simple, full flavored meal guaranteed to please your guests. So keep on reading, take a few notes, and get ready to take your senses on a journey through Florida’s local agricultural gifts.
GRILLED RIBEYE AND PEACH SUMMER SALAD
Serving size: 4
2 12 oz high quality ribeye steaks
8 oz Chevre goat cheese
1 package arugula
Extra virgin Olive Oil
2 Florida peaches
House of Balsamic- 8 yr Balsamic by Saporoso
Cracked Sea salt/Pepper to taste
6 oz Pine nuts
Remove the rib eye from the fridge one hour before cooking and allow it to come up to room temperature. This will relax the steak, causing less stress during cooking, and the end result will be a juicier, moister dish.
While the steak is thawing, remove the 8 oz. of Chevre goat cheese, and separate into four even balls.
One by one, cover with a small piece of plastic wrap, and press down with your hand creating an evenly shaped disk. While forming the disks, roast the pine nuts in a pan on low heat, until they are a pale golden brown. This will enhance their nutty flavor. Pine nuts are oily, and will burn fast, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on the pan.
Remove from heat and lightly chop the nuts. When the pine nuts have cooled, lay them on a plate and roll the goat cheese disks until they are completely covered. Place in freezer until ready to serve.
At this point, the steak should be well rested and ready for grilling. Generously coat both sides of the steak with the cracked salt, pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Note: make sure you grill top is nice and hot to avoid sticking and result in charred grill marks.
Grill your steak to the desired temperature (typically on high heat: 5-7 minutes per side will result in a rare-medium to medium steak but every cooking surface is different so if you are unsure grab a thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135 to 137 degrees. When complete place the ribeye on a plate and allow for the final resting period before slicing.
NOTE: RAISING THE TEMPERATURE ON PROTEINS CAUSES THE MOLECULES TO STRETCH OUT. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERGO A FINAL REST TO ALLOW THE MOLECULES TO SETTLE, BEGIN TO CLOSE BACK UP AND TRAP IN ALL THOSE FLAVORFUL JUICES. USUALLY 4 TO 5 MINUTES IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT.
The resting period is a perfect time to put together a salad.
Slice the peaches and cherry tomatoes to your liking, and mix with the arugula. In the meantime, get a saute pan hot, and place a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. This is your last step, as you want the goat cheese to be served warm melt a bit into the salad dish. Sear each side of the Chevre disks for 10 to 15 seconds and place on the plate.
Slice the steak and dress the salad with House of Balsamic’s Aged Vinegar, a touch of olive oil, and any juice from the steak that still managed to escape (remember this is valuable flavor). This dish provides beautiful color and great depths of flavor and texture with the simplest of ingredients.
ANY GREAT CHEF WILL TELL YOU–SEASONAL FRESH INGREDIENTS, PROPERLY RIPENED, REQUIRE LITTLE TO NO ALTERATION TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM FLAVOR.…..THAT IS WHY THERE IS A CONSTANT BUZZ TO FIND LOCAL FRESH AND SEASONAL INGREDIENTS….THEY JUST TASTE BETTER……
There is no wrong way to put this salad together, so have fun, experiment with slices and shapes, and don’t forget to invite friends, because good food is best shared with the people we care about.
House of Balsamic can be found online at http://www.houseofbalsamic.com/.
Thanks for taking the time to check out the recipe and I hope you enjoy!
Life is short: eat well!