I've never eaten a steak with such a crisp, crackling crust, and such a tender, flavorful interior as Adam Perry Lang's "Man Steak," one of the recipes in his new book Charred & Scruffed (Artisan, 2012). With a side of grilled sweet Lacinato kale from Barton Seaver's Where There's Smoke (Sterling Epicure, 2013), nearly half of which is devoted to the art of grilling vegetables and fish, I knew I was kicking off the grilling season right. Lang's work, an ode to all things meaty, promotes "active grilling": dancing meat around the fire to "scruff it up" and develop a craggy exterior. Just as he instructed, I flipped my steak every few minutes, using an herb brush—rosemary and thyme tied together—to swipe it with a soy sauce and garlic baste. I later chopped the singed herbs into a "board sauce," made using the meat drippings that seeped out on the cutting board. For his part Seaver, a sustainable food expert and Washington, D.C.-based chef, shares enticing recipes for charred Brussels sprouts with orange-pecan dressing, and grilled cauliflower with fresh mint and Parmesan. There is no food he won't attempt to bring to charred perfection.
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