Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Sizzle and the Steak

It looks similar to Sunday's steak, but tasted better
We had one large uncooked steak from Sunday's grill, so I decided to test out Ina Garten's steak cooking technique, a combination of searing the steak on high heat in a cast iron pan on the stove, and then finishing the steak in the cast iron pan in the oven at 400 degrees with a little butter. It turned out perfectly; I preferred it to the grilled steak because it had a beautiful even steakhouse-like crust from the searing on a flat pan and was so flavorful and juicy all at the same time, cooked to the perfect medium rare. I prefer sirloins to filet mignons as they have much more of a dense, meaty flavor. We'll have to continue grilling steaks when we have lots of people since my Lodge cast iron pan can only fit one steak at a time, but it is a real treat to have steakhouse quality steak every once in awhile at home. I also made a warm golden beet salad with beet greens inspired by the kitchn which I finished using some meyer lemons. I'll have to remember to use this recipe more often; we usually throw out the beet greens but they have such hearty rich flavor when sauteed, plus its a warm contrast to our usual cold beet salads. It's a really well balanced and flavorful side dish, with the sweet beets, creamy sharp gorgonzola, crunchy toasted almonds, livened up by the squeeze of fresh meyer lemon juice. My beet greens were still very fresh as they were from the morning's Santa Monica Wednesday farmer's market, and I only used 1 large beet, so I still have 3 smaller beets for salads for the rest of the week. We opened a bottle of 2003 Milat Merlot from that same first Napa trip in 2005. The wine was fine but not great, but the best part was reminiscing about the trip; I remember clearly the tasting at Milat, it was our final stop and such a lovely, welcoming place.

Steak in the House Recipe, adapted from Ina Garten (serves 2)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the cast iron pan inside. Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking so that it can come to room temperature and cook evenly.
  • Brush a 14oz prime New York strip with a little bit of grapeseed oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and coarse ground pepper and a little garlic powder, both sides
  • Using oven mitts, remove the cast iron pan from the oven and put it on the stove at high heat (make sure to turn on the fan and open the windows in the kitchen as it gets quite smoky!)
  • Using tongs, sear the steak, 2 minutes on each big side. The steak should not stick to the pan at all when flipped, otherwise it's being flipped too early which will prevent the beautiful crust from forming. I also seared the 4 edges of the steak for about 30 seconds each to render the fat on the sides a bit and seal all the flavors in
  • Put about 1/2 TB of butter on top of the steak and pop the entire cast iron pan into the oven for 4 minutes (don't forget oven mitts)
  • Remove the cast iron pan from the oven, transfer the steak onto a plate and cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Perfectly done medium rare steak
Golden Beets with Garlic Sauteed Beet Greens and Meyer Lemon, adapted from the kitchn (serves 2)
  • Wash and roast a bunch of beets (you'll only be using about half of the roasted beets, saving the other half for salads). Peel and slice the roasted beets.
  • Carefully wash the beet greens. They always come caked in dirt from the farmer's market, I have to soak and rinse them several times to get it clean. Stack a bunch of leaves at a time, roll them and slice them into half inch ribbons. Discard the stem at the bottom. Mince 4 cloves of garlic.
  • Heat a pan with a little olive oil over low-medium heat, and saute the garlic for about 3 minutes
  • Add the beet greens, season with a little salt and red chili flakes. Saute for about 7 minutes until done. They should still retain some texture and bite but also be edible at the same time
  • Remove the greens onto a plate, sprinkle some gorgonzola, toasted almonds and a squeeze of meyer lemon for some freshness

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