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OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

By Case Dighero | Photos by Chadwick Turner

Thrill of the Grill

What a joy it was to cook alongside my friend Sam Walker, executive chef for the much-anticipated Gaskins on Emma.­ This steakhouse with a deep history in Eureka Springs is launching a 2.0 version with nuance and swagger coming from this talented new chef. 

On a recent afternoon, we laughed and jockeyed for space on a high-heat grill with friends. Walker rolled out a beautiful sear on rubbed flank steak as well as delicious and refreshing grilled flatbread with arugula and tomatoes. I handled a churched-up version of a classic grilled bread salad and spicy tomato broth clams. We know that you and your loved ones will have as much fun as we did with the recipes from this season’s Thrill of the Grill party!

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HIGH SOUTHERN PANZANELLA
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Serves: 4 to 6 | Prep, Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

 

3 cups stale ciabatta or baguette, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

3/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt, more to taste

2 pounds ripe tomatoes

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon coarse grain mustard

Black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup basil leaves, torn into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup nasturtium leaves*

TECHNIQUE

Heat grill to medium-high. Place the bread cubes in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Grill and turn frequently until they are dried out and slightly charred at the edges, about 7 to 15 minutes. Return to bowl and allow to cool.

 

Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add mozzarella, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes. Toss to coat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, the mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil until the mixture is thickened. Stir in cucumbers and basil leaves.

Add bread cubes and cucumber mixture to the tomatoes and toss well. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving. Toss with a little more olive oil, vinegar and salt if needed, then garnish with whole nasturtium leaves.

*Wonderfully delicious nasturtium leaves not only look like tiny lily pads but also give salads, pastas and delicate recipes a surprising, peppery kick. You can pick them up this season from the Grow NWA booth at the Bentonville Farmers Market.

GRILLED CLAMS WITH SPICY TOMATO BROTH
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Serves: 4 to 6 | Prep, Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

 

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic, sliced

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 red Fresno chile, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup dry white wine

3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

4 to 6 thick slices country-style bread

2 lemons, quartered

TECHNIQUE

Place a large cast-iron or ceramic bottomed skillet on the grill and heat 1/4 cup olive oil in skillet. Add sliced garlic, shallots and chile and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and a bit of salt and cook, stirring until tomatoes soften, about 6 minutes. Add white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

 

Add clams and butter to skillet and cover. Cook until clams have opened, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove skillet from grill and discard any clams that did not open. Sprinkle with chives.

 

Meanwhile, drizzle bread with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and season lightly with salt. Grill until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.

 

Serve clams with a squeeze of lemon and the grilled bread.

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SPANISH RUBBED FLANK STEAK

Serves: 4 to 6 | Prep, Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

 

4 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground fennel

2 teaspoons mustard powder

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2- to 3-pound flank steak

TECHNIQUE

Simply combine all the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Rub the steak with small amount of olive oil, then generously massage with the rub. Prior to grilling the steak, be sure to add a healthy amount of kosher salt to each side.

 

Grill rubbed flank steak over high heat until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees (or preferred temperature). Allow to rest for 5 to 7 minutes, slice and enjoy.

GRILLED FLATBREAD WITH WHIPPED FETA AND MARINATED TOMATOES

Serves: 4 to 6 | Prep, Cook Time: 90 minutes

INGREDIENTS

 

Flatbread Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast 

1 1/2 cups warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Whipped Feta:

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup whipped cream cheese

2 cups fresh crumbled feta cheese

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Lemon zest (Optional)

Cracked black pepper (Optional)

 

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes:

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup blended oil

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon shallots, chopped

2 cups fresh arugula

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TECHNIQUE

Flatbread Dough:

Combine the flour, salt and instant yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Add the warm water and olive oil, continue mixing until you have a shaggy dough.

 

Knead the dough on a clean, flat surface for 5 minutes. Form a ball out of the dough by using both hands to work it in a circular motion. Lightly grease a medium mixing bowl with extra-virgin olive oil and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a clean, damp towel and leave on the counter to rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

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The Hardsman Cab, Fossil Point Grenache Rosé and Berger Grüner Veltliner paired perfectly with our recipes for this year's Thrill of the Grill

Whipped Feta:

Place the yogurt, whipped cream cheese and fresh crumbled feta into a blender or food processor. Begin blending on a low speed and slowly incorporate the oil. Increase the speed of your blender or food processor until the mixture becomes smooth. At this point you can add fresh lemon zest and cracked black pepper for added flavor, but it isn’t necessary. Remove the whipped feta from the processor and reserve for later.

 

Marinated Tomatoes:

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling simmer. Combine all ingredients except the cherry tomatoes in a small mixing bowl. Now, use a small knife to score the bottoms of the tomatoes. To do this, simply cut an “X” shape with the knife, making sure not to cut too deep. Once all the tomatoes have been scored, add them to the simmering water. (Make sure you have a small bowl of ice water ready at this stage so you can shock the tomatoes to avoid overcooking. Leave tomatoes in the simmering water for only about a minute, or just long enough for the skins to start peeling where scored on bottom. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the tomatoes from the pot and drop them in the ice water. Once cooled, remove the skins from the tomatoes and add them to the marinade.

 

The flatbread dough will be ready to portion at this stage. Remove from the bowl and press the air out of the dough and cut it into six to eight equal-sized pieces. Roll each into small balls, place into a baking pan and allow to proof a second time for another 30 minutes. Once proofed, use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough to roughly a quarter-inch thickness. Shape the dough how you want for your final product. Brush the flatbread dough on both sides with extra-virgin olive oil and place onto a medium-heat grill to begin cooking. This should only take 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown color has been achieved.

 

Top each cooked flatbread with whipped feta, fresh arugula and marinated tomatoes.

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