Skip The Grill, Summer Recipes For Your Kitchen

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pesto steak

Mohegan Sun banquet chef Fred Huhn made Flatiron Steak with Sunflower Seed Cilantro Pesto for the Fox CT Morning Extra. (Fox CT)

The summer is filled with grilling, but on rainy days you can make a great grill style meal inside your kitchen. Mohegan Sun banquet chef Fred Huhn joined the Fox CT Morning Extra to make: Flatiron Steak, Sunflower Seed Cilantro Pesto and Red Onion & Watermelon Salad.

Sunflower Seed Cilantro Pesto

Yield: 1 Cup (serves 4 lunch portions)


1 small garlic clove, peeled

2 cups loosely packed, picked cilantro

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup toasted, hulled sunflower seeds

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse kosher salt

Pepper Mill


Pulse garlic in a food processor until garlic is chopped fine (you can do this in a blender as well, but you will end up with a much smoother pesto. If you like pesto slightly chunky, use a food processor). Add cilantro, Parmesan cheese, and sunflower seeds. Blend well. With machine running on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The pesto should be creamy and spreadable with a spoon. Be careful not to over mix or your pesto, or it will get too hot and turn black. Chill immediately. Seal well with plastic to avoid air contact, which will help to maintain a vibrant green color.

Grilled Red Onion & Watermelon Salad


1 medium red onion, peeled

1 quart large diced watermelon

6-10 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse Kosher Salt

Pepper Mill


Slice onions into rings. The thicker the slices, the easier they will be to handle on the grill, but the longer they will take to cook. Season both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until nicely marked on both sides.

You can transfer to the top rack of the grill to finish cooking slowly, or you can finish them in an oven. For the grill: wrap in foil, drizzle olive oil over and seal. Make sure not to puncture the foil pouch, you want to save all the juices. For the oven: place into an appropriate sized Pyrex dish or roasting pan (once again you want to make sure to save all the juices) and place into a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Check for seasoning, finish with salt & pepper as needed. Chill onions well.

Just prior to serving, mix grilled onions and their juices with diced watermelon and basil. Adjust ingredients in recipe to your liking, especially the basil.

Marinating, Grilling, & Plating:


2 x 10-12 oz flatiron steaks (or choice of grilling steak)

1 squeeze bottle balsamic reduction

1 recipe sunflower seed cilantro pesto

1 recipe grilled red onion & watermelon salad


Marinate steaks overnight. Add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil to ½ cup of the finished pesto. Rub onto steaks thoroughly, cover and chill. Pre-heat grill, clean grates well, coat with desired oil or spray. Sear both sides well. Remove at medium-rare (or desired temperature) and rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice across the grain of the meat and serve on smear of pesto. Serve with finished salad. Garnish with balsamic reduction.

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