Friday, April 11, 2014

What's for dinner? Steak.

Steak.  Ahhhhh.  It's basically the best.  When I was about eight, my mom and I met my grandmother for a weekend at the Embassy Suites of Indianapolis.  I think my grandma was there for a convention of some kind.   Anyway, this Embassy Suites had live parrots in the atrium AND a pool.  I cannot stress how cool 8-year-old Amanda thought that was. 

The other thing that changed my young life forever? There was a filet mignon on the kids room service menu that I ate for 3 days in a row.  Not only was I eating prime beef, but they were delivering it to me in my fancy hotel room, where I got to drink from cups that were made of real glass and had no protective sippy top.  

As I've grown, I've become more and more particular about my steaks.  They need to be cooked properly, but also humanely raised.  It took me a long time to feel confident making steak for myself, but now I know that I can make steak with the best of them (though I'd still rather let my dad cook steaks if I have the chance).  The steak I purchased for this evening is a New York Strip from Whole Foods, and it was admittedly a bit of a splurge, but don't worry, I know what I'm doing. 

Steak with Chimichurri:

For the chimichurri you'll need:
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 t. dried oregano (or about 3 T fresh oregano if you've got it)
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T. Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • A food processor or blender 
Throw all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until it looks like this:

Bonus* it will also smell AMAZING!  Do the chimichurri first, up to a day in advance so that the flavors have a chance to mingle.  This batch was enough for 2 steaks, but I'll just use the extra for sandwiches and salads and stuff this week. 

For the steak you'll need:
  • A preheated oven at 450 degrees
  • A steak: this one was about 3/4 of a pound and 1 1/2" thick.  Thick is good for temperature control.
  • A cast iron pan (or other oven-safe pan) heated to high on the stove top.
  • 1 T of cooking oil with a high smoke point.  I like grape seed oil, but used vegetable oil because that's what I had.  It was smoky.

Dry your steak with a paper towel and then generously salt and pepper both sides (my dad likes garlic salt, and that would've been amazing, if I'd had some). 

What I wouldn't give for a gas stove, but renters can't be choosers!

Make sure your pan and oil are hot.  I like to flick a drop of water in, but mostly just because it's fun.  Gently place your steak in the pan and then LEAVE IT ALONE for 2 minutes.  When 2 minutes is up flip it and LEAVE IT ALONE for 2 minutes. During this time, your oil will start to smoke.  If you live in an apartment with hard-wired smoke detectors, like me, you may want to preemptively open windows and strategically place fans, so as not to disturb your neighbors with the blaring noise and muffled curses. Instead, you will just amuse them when they see smoke billowing out of your window and you inside trying to take a picture of a steak. 

When the second two minutes are up, take the whole pan and place inside the preheated oven for, you guessed it, 2 minutes (as many as 4 minutes if you're looking for a well-done steak, but who's looking for that?).

When it's done it will look like this.  And you should DEFINITELY put a pat of butter on the top to finish.  This is why steaks at steakhouses taste so much better than steaks at your house. It's true.

Next you need to remove the steak from the hot pan, put it on a cutting board, tented with some foil and let it rest for 6-10 minutes.  Seriously. No cutting into the middle to see if it's done.  Don't do it!  When the meat has rested properly, then...

The Mary Poppins of steaks, practically perfect in every way!
You thought it'd be burnt, huh?  Nope!  It's basically perfect.  No big deal. And you can see that because I let the steak rest, the juices are staying in the meat and not collecting on my cutting board.

Put your steak on a plate and your sauce on the steak.  Serve it with a salad (if you're trying so hard to limit carbs, but then why on earth are they so delicious and will people please stop bringing cookies to work?) or anything else your little heart desires. Then enjoy!