Memorial Day memories
May 26, 2011By Kim Dannies
A soggy, sunless mud season has driven Vermonters collectively insane. It’s time to break out and celebrate a holiday in style. This weekend, as we remember those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, trot out something special to share with loved ones. I’m thinking grilled beef tenderloin filets. Yes, tenderloin is pricey per pound, but no more so than lobster or lamb, and there is zero waste. It’s rich and satisfying, so smaller portions go further. Decidedly festive and delectable, it’s easy to prepare (even if it rains). This menu is guaranteed to make some nice memories for you and your guests.
Cherry Tomato and Bleu Cheese Salad (with Vermont Cure Bacon Lardons)
Buy the mini slab and slice up chunks of the bacon (lardons) Fry them in a large cast iron pan on a hot grill. Remove cooked lardons to paper towel, reserving the fat for the potato pancakes. Combine a mixture of spring greens, chopped celery, and sliced grape tomatoes (figure a heaping handful per guest). Add bacon lardons and crumbled bleu cheese. Toss lightly with a vinaigrette made of 2 parts olive oil and 1 part red wine vinegar. Season to taste.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Peel and shred 2 sweet potatoes. Add 3 minced cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Re-heat the cast iron pan on the grill or stovetop, and drop large spoonfuls of potato into the hot bacon fat. Brown and form pancakes, flipping once. Cook for about 7 minutes. Makes 8 pancakes.
This one is easy and breezy. Snap off ends and toss spears in olive oil. Throw on the grill and sear, turning often for 5 minutes. Plan on 4 to 6 spears per person.
Plan on 4 to 6 ounces per person. Cut fillets 2 inches thick. Sear on a hot grill for 4 minutes each side for medium rare, longer if desired.
Fresh Berry Parfaits
Combine fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and ribbon-cut fresh mint; douse with a bit of orange juice. Serve the fruit in pretty dessert cups along with high-quality shortbread cookies such as Walkers.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.