Host a summer brunch with floral arrangement ideas from Wendy Collins, Catering Sales and Conference Services Manager at Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Lodge, and wow guests with a summer salad recipe by Executive Chef Ronnie Sanchez. For unexpected centerpieces, forgo the flowers in a vase. Collins suggests considering non-traditional items such as herbs, succulents, or even vegetables from the garden. “You can add fresh tomatoes on the vine or something else coordinating with the menu,” adds Collins. “It is all about being eclectic with containers, colors, sizes and heights.”
For a standout salad that will leave guests talking long after brunch, follow Chef Sanchez’s delicious summer brunch recipe below.
Arugula Salad with Grilled Skirt and Mango
Here's a great summer salad. We paired this salad with our toasted guajillo chile dressing which stands up nicely to the arugula.
3/4cup Canola oil
2 medium (1/2 ounce total) dried guajillo chiles, (you can also use with New Mexico red dried chiles)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in quarters
1/4cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp salt
For The Salad
1 pound skirt steak,
5 ounces arugula leaves
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup spicy glazed pecans coarsely chopped
Make the dressing. Pour the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, break the stems off the chiles, tear them open and shake out all the seeds. Lay the chiles in the oil,along with the garlic. Turn and stir continually until the insides have lightened in color and they are toasty smelling, about 30 seconds if the oil isn’t too hot.
Remove from the heat. Transfer the chiles to a blender jar (leave the oil and garlic in the pan). Add the vinegar, salt and chipotle (if using), then blend for 30 seconds. When the oil and garlic are cool (5 to 10 minutes) add to the blender. Blend until smooth—it may take a minute or more. Taste and highly season with more salt. Measure 1/3 cup of the dressing to use as a marinade for the steak. Pour the rest into a jar with a secure lid. Shake well immediately before use.
Marinate the steak with 1/3 cup of the dressing (3 hours minimum, turning once) Grill the steak till desired temp. I usually prefer medium rare. Rest the steak for 5 minutes, and then slice into strips
Plate the salad.