Chef Paul Virant throws a family picnic every summer at his parents’ Missouri horse farm, said Nick Fairchild in Food & Wine. Named one of 2007’s Best New Chefs by this magazine, Virant oversees the kitchen at Vie in Western Springs, Ill. This year’s picnic started off with sour-cherry gin slings.

The main course was skirt steak, and side dishes included warm potato salad. Among the wines that Virant served was a 2007 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling, and peach crisps were served for dessert. This picnic is best enjoyed outdoors, preferably under a shade tree.

Recipes of the week
Skirt Steak With Salsa Verde and Ricotta Salata

Marinated steak
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup dry red wine
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 small red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp sweet pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
½ tsp hot pimentón de la Vera
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
5½ lbs skirt steak

Salsa verde
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
10 anchovy filets, minced
4 medium shallots, minced
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp drained capers, chopped
2 tbsp minced chives
1 tbsp minced tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup shredded ricotta salata (1 oz)

Marinate steak: In food processor, combine marinade ingredients and blend. In large, shallow dish, pour marinade over steaks; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Make salsa verde: In bowl, combine olive oil with anchovies, shallots, parsley, capers, chives, tarragon. Season with salt and pepper, whisk until blended.

Light grill. Pat steaks dry and season with salt. Grill steaks over high heat until medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer meat to carving board and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice skirt steaks across grain; arrange on platter. Drizzle steaks with salsa verde and sprinkle with ricotta salata. Serve immediately, passing remaining salsa verde at table. Serves 12.