Here’s a summer treat for all my North American and northern hemisphere friends who are looking to expand their culinary horizons. Time to treat yourself to a slate-grilled steak, accompanied by a flavorsome potato salad of baby Yukon Golds, which need only mayonnaise and chives to compliment them. Just cook the potatoes at a gentle boil, skin on, so they stay flavorful and whole. Use tons of a mustardy mayo (because in an hour, the potatoes will drink up a lot of it). Freshen with chives just before serving. (They bring a soft, sweet onion flavor without being aggressive. Regular onion is too strong–you cannot kiss your wife or girlfriend.)
And then there’s the steak! I recommend a hulking, two-inch-thick dry-aged porterhouse, which is coated liberally with herbes de Provence. (You can make your own herb mix, but it’s never as good as the dried stuff from France.) Then all that’s left to do is whack the steak or steaks onto a searing-hot slate surface, which you can lay over the conventional grill, and pour yourself a wine or beer. The slate imbues the steak with a beautiful mahogany crust, fragrant with the browning herbs, and because the steak never succumbs to flames, it never blackens. About ten minutes per side is ideal medium-rare.
And best of all, the slate–now enriched with the juice and fat of the meat–keeps giving.
Add to this a medley of baby vegetables, spiked with garlic and more herbs, until golden and caramely. After they’re removed, on go wedges of sourdough bread, grilled till crisp, then rubbed with garlic.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus more for slate
- 2 2–2 1/2-inch-thick porterhouse steaks (about 4 pounds total), room temperature
- 1/4 cup herbes de Provence
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 3 small Italian eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise
- 6 small beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 pounds), halved crosswise
- 3 small zucchini (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise
- 3 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), stems removed
- 2 large red bell peppers (about 1 pound), Cut lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch strips
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Bread and Assembly
- 1 medium round loaf sourdough bread (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch wedges
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- Kosher salt
- A few 16×16-inch untreated natural slate floor tiles 1/4–1/3 inch thick (in case one breaks).
If using a charcoal grill, prepare for high heat. Place slate on grill grates and heat (don’t worry if it splits or cracks; it can still be used). If using a gas grill, place slate on grates, then heat grill to high (cover grill while heating and grilling). Using paper towels and long-handled tongs, lightly coat slate with oil.
Sprinkle steaks with herbes de Provence and season with salt and pepper, pressing gently to adhere. Drizzle each steak with 2 tablespoons oil to moisten herbs. Grill on hot slate until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 115° for medium-rare (the temperature will continue to rise as steaks rest), 10–15 minutes per side.
Transfer to a cutting board or platter and let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
If using a charcoal grill, coals should have cooled to medium heat. If using a gas grill, reduce heat to medium-high.
Cut a small strip from rounded side of eggplant halves so they will lie flat. Combine eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, and rosemary on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil, season with salt and black pepper, and toss to coat. Place vegetables on slate and grill until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes per side. (Some vegetables may cook faster than others.) Transfer to a platter.
Bread and assembly
If using a charcoal grill, coals should still be around medium heat. If using a gas grill, keep heat at medium-high.
Drizzle both sides of each slice of bread with oil. Place bread on slate and grill until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving board or plate, rub both sides of bread with garlic, and season with salt.
Serve steaks with grilled vegetables and bread alongside.