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Recipes: Spice-rubbed steak, plus two tasty sides, all on the grill

Cook up a couple of big juicy steaks and pair them with a tangy slaw of grilled cabbage and onions.

Photograph by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes/Ennis inc.

Summer is here! Uncover the grill and celebrate with a steak — a big, tender, juicy one. I recommend a porterhouse or T-bone, with a super-simple spice rub to complement the beefy flavor. Together with grilled avocado and a hearty slaw of grilled onions and cabbage (a recent obsession of mine) in a lime dressing, this works as an enticing all-grilled menu. To get everything on the table at once, grill the steak, cabbage, and onions at the same time, and while the steak rests, chop and dress the slaw vegetables and grill the avocados. Then just slice the steak and dig in!

ELEMENTAL GRILLED, SPICE-RUBBED STEAK

Serves 4

Porterhouse and T-bones are luxurious steaks. Both include sections of the super-tender top loin and tenderloin muscles, the former with a larger piece of tenderloin. Ideally you want the steaks cut 1½ to 2 inches thick, which you may have to request in many supermarkets, where they tend to be thinner. If you use steaks on the thin side, they’ll probably cook through after their stint over the hot part of the fire. Overcooking these beauties would be a pity, which makes using an instant-read thermometer a good idea.

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Ideally, your ground spices will be fresh. Or better yet, start with whole coriander and cumin seeds that you toast and grind yourself.

1 ½   tablespoons ground coriander

1         tablespoon ground cumin

1         tablespoon paprika

Kosher salt and finely, freshly ground pepper

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2        porterhouse or T-bone steaks, preferably 1½ to 2 inches thick, about 1½ pounds each, patted dry

Neutral oil, for the grill

In a small bowl, mix the coriander, cumin, paprika, and 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper and stir to mix (you should have about 1/3 cup).

Place the steaks on a large platter, rub both sides of each with a generous tablespoon of the spice mixture, and set aside to rest at room temperature while preparing the grill, at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a fire in a charcoal grill, with a hot side and a medium side, or preheat a gas grill on high. (If using gas, leave a burner on high and adjust the other[s] to medium; grill with the lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate with neutral oil. Grill the steaks on the hot side of the grill, with the small sections of tenderloin meat facing the cooler side. Leave undisturbed until browned and grill-marked on the bottom, about 5 minutes. (If the fire flares up, move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill, squirt the fire with water, and replace the steaks.) Flip the steaks, keeping the tenderloin sections facing the cool side, and grill undisturbed until the second side is browned and grill-marked, about 5 minutes longer. Move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 120 degrees for rare, 125 degrees for medium-rare, or about 130 degrees for medium, about 3 to 8 minutes longer, turning the steaks as necessary to cook evenly.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and rest for about 10 minutes. Working 1 steak at a time, cut along bones to remove the meat sections, and cut each section crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter and serve at once.

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GRILLED CABBAGE AND ONION SLAW WITH LIME DRESSING

Makes about 6 cups

The lime dressing is quite tart, but it balances the smoky sweetness of the cabbage and onions — and the avocados, too — nicely. If you like, reserve a little to drizzle over the avocados just before serving them.

Neutral oil, for the grill

1¾    pounds green cabbage (about half a medium-large head), blemished outer leaves trimmed and core left intact, cut into wedges about 2 inches thick at the wide end

1         pound onions (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into ¾-inch-thick slices, and threaded onto skewers if desired

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the vegetables, plus 3 tablespoons for the lime dressing

Salt and pepper

1½    teaspoons finely grated zest plus 1½ tablespoons juice from 1 lime

2        teaspoons honey or light agave nectar

¾      teaspoon ground coriander

¾      teaspoon pressed or grated garlic (1 medium-large clove)

¾      cup thinly sliced scallion whites and greens (about 6 medium)

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to medium-high; grill with the lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate with neutral oil. Brush the cabbage and onions generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the cabbage until well charred and just tender, 5 to 6 minutes on each cut side and about 4 minutes on the rounded side. Cook the onions until just tender, browned, and grill-marked, 12 to 20 minutes, turning them over once after 6 minutes and as necessary thereafter. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, trim away the core pieces, thinly slice the leaves (you should have about 6 cups), and place in a large bowl. Chop the onions (you should have about 1‚ cups) and add to the cabbage.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the lime zest and juice, honey or agave nectar, coriander, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Whisk to dissolve the salt and honey. Vigorously whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary (the dressing should be very tart). Reserve a little of the dressing for the avocados, and add the rest to the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Add most of the scallions and toss to distribute. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and serve.

TIP: KEEPING IT TOGETHER

 To help the cabbage stay intact while grilling, leave the core when you cut the head into wedges; the leaves in each wedge should remain attached to a portion of the core. Likewise, skewering the onions makes them easier to manage.

anthony tieuli

To help the cabbage stay intact while grilling, leave the core when you cut the head into wedges; the leaves in each wedge should remain attached to a portion of the core. Likewise, skewering the onions makes them easier to manage.

SIMPLE GRILLED AVOCADO

Serves 4 (½ avocado each)

It’s important to clean and oil the grill grate well to help prevent the soft avocado from sticking. Grill these while the steaks rest.

Neutral oil, for the grill

2        large ripe but firm Hass avocados, halved and pitted

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Salt and pepper

Lime wedges, for serving, optional

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to medium-high; grill with the lid closed.) Clean and oil the grill grate with neutral oil. Brush the avocados’ cut surfaces with olive oil and grill, cut sides down, undisturbed, until grill-marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt and pepper and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Drizzle with dressing from the slaw recipe or just a squeeze of fresh lime.

Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com.
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