Grill time! It’s too hot to do much in the kitchen, but it’s the perfect time of year to take the cooking outdoors.
This is a meal that’s well-suited for a crowd or for cooking a cut of meat that will be used for several meals. The first meal (the one I have listed here) would be what we call Asian tacos in our family. It’s just a collection of well- seasoned meat, romaine lettuce leaves, herbs, finely cut veggies, basmati rice and a zingy dipping sauce to drizzle over everything. The second and/or third meals are up to you — Thai beef salad, soup, omelet, stir fry, sandwich, etc. Use your creativity!
I love this kind of meal for how easy it is to serve. The prep work all comes before anyone arrives on the doorstep and the work of the hostess is simply to plate up and present. A limey drink of some sort or another wouldn’t hurt, as well as a sweet, fruity dessert.
The beef itself can be served hot, warm or chilled; as long as it’s cooked long enough to be tender, the temperature makes no difference. In this case, even cooking the beef a day ahead would be fine. This is also a recipe that lends itself to a long, slow overnight cook at 250 degrees in the oven, but if it’s a hot one, then this is an ill-advised idea.
If, however, we end up with one of those weather fronts that bring the chilly night air our way (or you happen to save this recipe and want to try it during the winter months when the grill is in the back of the shed), I’ve given instructions on how to cook this recipe in the oven, too.
THAI GINGER, GARLIC AND SOY TOP ROUND
Servings: 15 to 20
1 12-pound beef top round
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce or other hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the beef the night before cooking.
The morning of the meal, prepare outdoor grill for hot coals and let the coals build a good bed for at least 30 minutes. On a gas grill turn on medium-high and allow to heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Set the beef on the grill and sear on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes.
Transfer the beef to either a medium cast-iron skillet or an aluminum-foil disposable pan, add the marinade juices and cover with aluminum foil. Shut the grill down to medium-low and cook for at least 4 to 6 hours. Remove when the beef is tender and easily cut. Let rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes and slice thinly.
Alternatively: Preheat oven to 325 degrees for a 4- to 6-hour roast or 250 for an overnight roast. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, sear the outside of the beef on all sides. Set aside the marinade juices. This will take about 10 minutes.
Add marinade juices to the pan, cover with aluminum foil and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight), or until the beef is tender and easily sliced.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let rest at least 20 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with sesame ginger cilantro sauce.
SESAME GINGER CILANTRO SAUCE
Makes: About 1 1/2 cups
To 1 cup or more of pan sauce add:
1 cup sesame seeds
1 bunch of scallions minced, about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
• Basmati rice
• Romaine leaves
• Grated carrot
• Julienned cucumber
• Bean sprouts
• Chopped cilantro, mint and basil
• Unsalted peanuts
Cut the core off the romaine leaves and fan out on a platter. Serve with the sliced beef, cooked rice and all of the condiments and vegetables including the sesame ginger cilantro sauce.
Allow guests to build their own, using the romaine leaf as the “taco.”
Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org