If you live in a colder climate, like me here in Toronto, there is a sometimes frustrating span of unsettled “spring” where the sun shines high at noon, but it’s still too cold out for much to grow. I’ve been caught more than once impatiently planting tomatoes before the well-advised never-before date of May 24th, only to rush out one night as the frost warnings come in, to cover everything up.
Here is a quick grilling recipe for an annoyingly chilly April evening, using the last of the winter vegetables as if it were July.
— One large prime rib steak, bone in (about 2 lbs)
— One medium-sized bunch of Kale, preferably lacinato
— 4-5 medium-sized russet potatoes
— Olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)
— rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar (about 1 tablespoon)
— 3-4 ounces of feta cheese (crumbled)
— 1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated
— smoked paprika (about half a teaspoon)
— ground sumac (about half a teaspoon)
Season your prime rib steak, liberally dusting both sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle about half a teaspoon (total) of smoked paprika all over the steak. Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
30 minutes before you are ready to start grilling, boil potatoes whole and in their skins until they offer little resistance when poked with a fork, and set them aside. Boil the kale in salty water – about one teaspoon in a pot with enough water to cover the kale – for three minutes or until tender, but still bright. It should be very wilted, but still have something of its form. Tender but not mushy. Set the kale aside.
Prepare your grill to about one third off peak heat for charcoal grills, or medium high for gas grills, closing the hood on the latter for 5-10 minutes to allow the cooking area to heat up.
Rub a small amount of olive oil on one side of the steak and grill, oil side down, until a nice-looking crust forms (watch the edges at the bottom, and you can see them browning), then turn the steak — it should turn without sticking — and grill the other side (three to four minutes each side). Feel free to flip as often as you like, to help you create a dark brown, tasty crust. You may get significant flare-ups from the rendering fat. If they become unmanageable, remove the steak to a cooler part of the grill before continuing on the hotter side.
When the steak is crusted to a dark brown remove it and push your coals to one side of your charcoal basket, or for gas grills, turn one side of the grill to the lowest setting or even completely off if your grill retains heat well. At this point your steak will read something in the range of 95 degrees Fahrenheit with an instant read digital thermometer, and still feel cool in the red middle, if you test it with an incision and your finger.
Your goal is to cook the steak the rest of the way over indirect heat until it reads 118 degrees Fahrenheit on average – the middle will be cooler and the outer peripheries will be hotter. When it reaches that temperature (or pinky red in the middle when tested with an incision, and very warm and juicy), remove from heat and let the steak rest very loosely wrapped in foil, to catch the juices, with the top open to vent heat.
Place your boiled potatoes on the hot part of the grill and cook until the skins char a little, which adds wonderful flavour to the background. Cut the potatoes into bite sized wedges and place in a bowl with the kale (coarsely chopped), the olive oil, the vinegar (in a proportion of about 4 to 1 oil to vinegar), crushed garlic, crumbled feta and a pinch of salt, and toss well.
Sprinkle sumach – a delightful, citrusy spice that reminds me of a little of unripe raspberries – over the potatoes, kale and feta, then place quarter-inch slices of steak on and around the vegetables. Drizzle a little olive oil on the whole thing (or as you wish), with another pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.