Last summer Tammy and I went to a restaurant named “Cooks!” It was owned and operated by a chef/instructor at a culinary school (yes, “was” – it closed). Anywho, the concept was interactive dining, in which pros show you how to make your own meal. We went on Italian night. We made mozzarella cheese right from the curd for a Caprese salad. For dinner, we went into the kitchen where the chef/owner guided us through the process of making chicken marsala and risotto. Both were firsts for us. I couldn’t have been happier.
But why would a story titled “Steak Night” be about making chicken marsala? That’s a fair question, but stick with me; I’m getting to it. One part of cooking Tammy really enjoys is stirring things. Keep your comments to yourself. Risotto, as it turns out, requires lots and lots of stirring, so Tammy was in her element.
Then last Sunday Tammy is looking through recipes, sees Parmesan-Carrot Risotto, and decides to make it. My job was to decide what to have with it. I suggested frozen fish sticks, because I trust the Gorton’s fisherman. Tammy was not amused, so off to Publix I went to purchase ribeyes. I found 3 beauties, and I usually season steaks with Penzey’s English Prime rib rub, but these looked so good I decided to go with just a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Tammy was deep into her stirring, and I had some onions on the grill. How great is this picture? My wife is a talented chick.
I pulled the onions off the grill and finished them in a sautee pan with some garlic and a whole grain mustard and red wine reduction.
Then it was time to grill the steaks. Some people will be very surprised by this, while others will think it’s a major understatement: I’m a pretty structured guy. And when it comes to grilling steaks, I have a formula. I get my grill up to about 375, and with the flame on full blast I sear each side for one minute. Yes, I use a stop watch. (Flattering profile shot, eh?)
Then I turn the flame all the way down to low and grill them another 3 minutes per side for medium rare. I don’t waver from this formula. Ever. I know some people can tell doneness by poking steaks with their fingers. I don’t know if I could tell doneness by poking a steak with my finger, because I don’t poke steaks with my finger. I have a formula.
Now I know I had decided to just season them with a little salt and pepper; however, while I was getting the whole grain mustard out of the fridge for the reduction, I spotted a bottle of pesto, and I recalled that when I bought it the cashier told me it was great on steak, so after I turned the steaks for the third and final time I spread a spoonful over my steak and let it get awesome for the final 3 minutes.
For a salad I just ran a cucumber through my mandolin and then dressed it with the juice of one lime and some salt, and Tammy garnished it with some fresh thyme. It was a bright, cool, tart crunch to balance the rich risotto and steaks.
I just reread the previous two sentences, and they're without question the most effeminate things I've ever said or written. Hopefully the fact that I was drinking cans of Busch Light during the entire grilling process butches it up enough to restore my manhood.
So here’s the finished product!