Gramma Elaine is here so we grilled New York strips. My Mom’s friend, Rita, joined in, as well as Jon, who is spending the weekend, so it was a hoot. Accompanied by seared fig halves with walnut vinaigrette and warm potato salad a la Chef Erwin Pirolt (one of my cooking school instructors and arguably the most ornery) were the steaks grilled rare by Renate, Sr. The backyard is a problem, though, in that we just cannot block the sun. This is a by-product of having a corner house without a real backyard. We have a couple of market umbrellas rigged up, but to no avail. I love the space this house has to offer, but I miss my beautiful landscaping at the old Albany house! We would have been able to eat this meal there in style.
To make the seared figs, just buy Mission figs, gently wash and dry, cut lengthwise and sear in a hot non-stick pan until browned, but not mushy. Place them on a platter, cut side up. Prepare a vinaigrette with 1/3 part orange juice, 2/3 part walnut oil, a splash of lemon juice, a dash each of ground rosemary and onion powder and salt and pepper. Pour over figs. Shave a bit of hard Italian cheese, like Asiago, on top, if you like. Note that I include here photos of the warm potato salad in its first phase of construction, and when it has had time to marinate. If I were you, I would allow it to do the latter. By the by, sorry about the large quantities in the recipe, but if you are able to divide, you’ll be fine. I also show the figs in preparation for those who have not worked with figs in the past.