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Cool Food For A Hot Summer

Chef Paul Sale is best known for his magic touch with seafood at "Blue Fin," located in the heart of Times Square. On Saturday, he has on hand a summer menu fit for the grill.

He dives into the Saturday Early Show Chef on a Shoestring challenge with a $30 budget.

The following is his menu; just click on the red links to get the recipes:

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad
Grilled Hanger Steak with "Pickled" Cucumbers and Arugula
Warm Berry Crepes

Hanger steak, the entrée, is so named because it is part of the diaphragm muscle that hangs between the loin and the ribs. Like skirt steak, hanger steak is a grainy, fatty cut that turns out beautifully if it's well-marinated before cooking. Hanger steak is nicknamed "butcher's tenderloin" because butchers traditionally kept this full-flavored, odd-shaped cut for themselves. If you can't find hanger steak, you may use skirt steak or even flank steak for this recipe. Chef Sale says it is important to marinate hanger steak to lock in moisture and flavor.

The chef is preparing crepes for our dessert. Crepe is the French word for "pancakes". Crepes are lighter than the traditional American pancakes. You can prepare sweet or savory crepes. For this menu, the crepe is a sweet dessert using berries and maple syrup.

There are two vinaigrette recipes, one for the first course and one for the second course. Vinaigrette is a basic oil-and-vinegar combination, generally used to dress salad greens and other cold vegetable, meat or fish dishes. Chef Sale has added spices along with other ingredients such as tomatoes and horseradish.

The following are Chef Sale's recipes:

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with Lime Ginger Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 1/2 - 2 lb. watermelon
6 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups mixed field greens

Method: Cut the flesh from the melon, dice the watermelon into 1/2-dice. Divide the watermelon evenly among four chilled salad plates. Sprinkle goat cheese over watermelon. Place mixed greens in a bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the greens. Toss well. Top each salad with some of the mixed greens. Grind fresh black pepper over the top. Serve immediately.

Lime Ginger Vinaigrette

10 limes, juiced
½ cup of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the lime juice, chopped ginger and shallots. Slowly whisk in the oil until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Grilled Hanger Steak with Arugula, Pickled Cucumbers, Radish & Tomato-Horseradish Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 ½ lbs. hanger steak
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large bunch arugula, washed and trimmed
1 cucumber
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 radishes, sliced into thin rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the skin from the cucumber, using a vegetable peeler. Peel it in long thin strips from top to bottom. Use a knife to remove the round caps at the ends of the cucumber, if necessary. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Hold the cucumber half in one hand and a teaspoon in the other. Use the bowl of the spoon to carefully scrape out the seeds in several gentle motions. Be gentle or the cucumber might break. Slice the peeled and seeded cucumber halves thinly on a bias. Place the sliced cucumber in a bowl. Add the white wine vinegar and season, then set aside.

Place the two tablespoons olive oil, garlic(optional), and fresh thyme into a shallow dish. Place the steak in the dish and turn to coat both sides of the meat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Marinate the steak for at least 6 hours, turning the meat over once.

Prepare a medium-hot grill. Grill the hanger steak for six to seven minutes on each side for medium rare. Let the steak rest for five minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

In a bowl, toss the arugula and the radish rounds with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Toss well.

To Serve:
Slice hanger steak on the bias. Divide the cucumbers evenly among four dinner plates. Then top with the tossed arugula. Divide the steak evenly among the four plates. Arrange the steak so that it "fans" around the arugula. Drizzle tomato vinaigrette over the plate. Serve immediately.

Tomato-Horseradish Vinaigrette

3 beefsteak or vine-ripened tomatoes
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of cold water to a boil, enough to cover a single layer of tomatoes; don't add any salt. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold tap water. The water must be cold to stop the tomatoes from cooking. Add in a tray of ice cubes, if needed, to keep the water cold. Get out your paring knife, slotted ladle and cutting surface.

For each tomato: cut out the top core and then slice off the bottom tip (if any), using a paring knife. Run the knife around the tomato, cutting only through the skin; going around from the top to the bottom and then around and across; prepare a few tomatoes at a time. Using a slotted ladle, lower a few tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for about 30-90 seconds.

Older and larger tomatoes take longer to blanch than younger and smaller ones. Transfer blanched tomatoes to the cold water and cool for 20-30 seconds, to make handling easier. Take each tomato and gently push (pull) off its skins; discard skins. Cut each tomato into four wedges and then push out the seeds, using your thumb. Depending on the tomato, you can use a paring knife to cut and remove the flesh that holds the seeds to the tomato. Dice the peeled tomatoes into medium dice.

Place diced tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Then add your prepared horseradish, tarragon, the olive oil, and the vinegar. Toss well to make sure everything is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Warm Berry Crepes
4 portions

1 lb. assorted berries (blackberries, blueberries, etc.)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Crepe Batter

3 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar

*Chef Sale notes, "When making this recipe, it is always good to make it a day ahead, before you need it, to let it rest for best results. Also note that this recipe will produce VERY thin crepes.

For Preparing Batter:
First melt the butter and milk together in a sauce pan. Stir to make sure butter and milk are well incorporated. Set aside. Place the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix well. Add eggs one at a time to the flour mixture. Make sure that there are no lumps when all the eggs are incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula to make sure that the mixture is well incorporated. Then slowly add the melted butter and milk mixture to the flour mixture. Strain the batter through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Let it stand, covered, for 1 hour. The batter may be made up to one day in advance.

Place a 6-inch non-stick omelet pan or crepe pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour one teaspoon of vegetable oil and make sure the pan is well-coated with the oil. Then pour a thin layer of crepe batter into the pan. Rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly. Cook the crepe until it looks firm and is lightly browned at the edges (about 30-45 seconds.) then turn the crepe over with a thin spatula or your fingers and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Repeat until the batter is gone.

In a saucepan, add your maple syrup and and berries. Using medium to low heat, warm up the syrup for about five minutes.

Spoon some of the berry filling into the center of one crepe. Roll up and place on serving plate. Repeat with remaining crepes. Spoon any remaining berry sauce over the crepes right before serving. Garnish with powdered sugar. Let everyone help themselves.

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