Thursday, February 26, 2009


Steak is the perfect meal. It's quick and simple to cook, pairs well with just about everything, and turns any dinner plate into a frame for its earthy red beauty. And the fact that we got two different kinds of steak in the last meat CSA delivery reminded me of how the little difference of bone-in versus out, or an inch of thickness, plus a slight variation in the same old sauce creates the kind of variety that makes it a perfect weekly staple.

Rub any medium to high-end cut of steak with crushed pepper and coarse salt, and let sit on counter for 30 minutes. Sauté at high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, put on a plate and into warm oven, covered.

In the pan, make a sauce. Here’s where it gets fun and gains enough variety to easily become a weekly regular.

1.Sauté in the pan with the drippings some kind of onion: shallot, red onion, sweet onion, regular onion, leek, green onion, garlic

2.Deglaze by adding some kind of alcohol and scraping: red wine, white wine, champagne, brandy, cognac, Marsala, Madeira, sherry...

3.If you want, cut it with some kind of non-alcoholic liquid: broth or stock, juice (apple, unsweetened cranberry…...

4.If you want, add some kind of mushroom: fresh, reconstituted dried...

5.Cook down until the liquid is reduced at least by about half (about 10 minutes usually but you can adjust time by adjusting flame).

6.Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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