Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 | 11:58 p.m.
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the remainder of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here’s celebrity chef Barry S. Dakake, who hosts all the meat-loving stars at his celebrity hotspot N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms.
Summer is the season for barbecues, get-togethers and relaxed, easy cooking. As the executive chef of one of the busiest steakhouses in Las Vegas, N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms, my team and I are used to preparing delectable dishes for hundreds of guests every night.
While it’s something that we love to do, we understand how stressful it can be to prepare for a big, warm-weather barbecue with family and friends.
Keep your cool this time of year with a few of my favorite simple, summer grilling tips:
Do all your prep work the night before
With the scorching summer heat in full swing, beat the heat by doing all your prep work the night before (this includes grocery shopping.) Wash, cut up and marinade your meat with a little extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper, shallots, garlic sliced very thin and picked thyme sprigs. Some of the cuts I recommend using are (USDA prime) skirt steak, hanger steak and New York sirloin.
A summer get-together is not complete without a bunch of classic side dishes. A delicious macaroni salad is not only easy to prepare, but it also can go straight from the refrigerator to the barbecue. Try mixing Rustichella Orecchiette pasta with asparagus, roasted peppers, baby summer squash, fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped tarragon, cherry heirloom tomatoes, Bermuda onion, minced garlic, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and cracked black pepper.
For a little boost, add grated Parmigiano reggiano, and you’re in business!
Eat your veggies
My suggestion is to always use fresh produce. There are so many great local farmers markets and even a few farms in town to check out. Farmers who sell their produce at farmers markets pick their produce at the very peak of its flavor. The quality is often superior, plus, they often sell hard-to-find items.
Vegetables like asparagus, squash, zucchinis, squash flowers and sweet onions are absolutely delicious on the grill. Spice up your corn on the cob by serving it alongside a bunch of flavored butters such as jalapeno sugar, cayenne pepper, chili lime, and cracked pepper and sea salt.
I’m also a big fan of a hearty green salad. One of my favorites is a nice garden cucumber, heirloom tomato, Bermuda onion and buffalo milk mozzarella salad made with fresh chopped herbs and garlic-parmesan croutons. Finish it off with a red wine vinaigrette and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Summer is full of delicious fruits
Nothing says summer quite like sweet and juicy fruit. Add color and flavor to your dishes by adding strawberries, melons and berries. Grilled peaches taste amazing in a salad. I like to throw sliced peaches in my red wine. Not only is it a great summer refreshment, but also a fun and quick way to jazz up your guest’s drinks.
What’s a barbecue without strawberry shortcake, fresh berries and whipped cream? If you don’t have time to make fresh shortbread biscuits, go to a local bakery and get a moist pound cake or sponge cake.
Cooking is fun, especially with other people. I encourage all of you to cook with your friends, families and mates. Walk them through the steps and answer all their questions. People love to be involved and see what’s going on.
For me, it’s always been very gratifying to spread my passion for food by sharing cooking tips and recipes that people use and love. Enjoy your summer barbecues and whatever outings you may have.
When you’re not wearing an apron of your own, pay us a visit at N9NE Steakhouse for an unforgettable meal. Ask for me: I promise that I’ll say hi.
Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, rock guitarist Ben Carey of Lifehouse. On Tuesday, we meet up with gorgeous Las Vegas singer and dancer Maren Wade, who matches last year’s controversial column with another eye-catching report on “swinging,” and Jack Sanders, who is making a name for himself as a winemaker in nearby Pahrump.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Palms Casino Resort has come a long way since its "Real World" debut in 2002. The boutique property features three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino.
Palms, which features more than 1,200 rooms and fantasy suites, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences.
In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge.
Fantasy Suites include the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court.
Other amenities include the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL; Scarlet; Chocolat Bistro; tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim Vō Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space.