24 March 2008

Steak and Chard

My wife is visiting friends with the kids this week, during my daughter's first week of spring break. I'm home doing a lot of work, but it's also a real rarity that I'm home when I'm away from my family (usually it's me who's traveling). Anyway, I'm definitely doing some cooking, as well as will investigate one or two "sketchy" Mexican taco places (I scout them out, and then take the fam if good :) They're sketchy in appearance (hopefully not in food). But, for me, the sketchier, usually means the better. But I digress...

Tonight I made probably the best steak I've made in a long time, definitely one of my best ever. Not a new recipe, but just perfectly executed, if I do say so myself. Combined with it was an experiment with chard; recipe of my own on-the-fly creation.

The Steak

First I went and got an absolutely top quality ribeye from my local meat market (Long's, here in Eugene). A Roughly 1lb beauty. Then I ground up some fresh Blue Bottle Roman Espresso coffee (ground at a setting approx between drip and French Press, so on the course side, but not huge chunks). It is absolutely key to use fresh coffee beans, and grind them, none of this canned or pre-ground crap. Also, the better the coffee, the better the result. I could go on a long time here, but I won't (because I'm working on a blog entry about Blue Bottle :) Next, combine that with a pinch or three of either kosher salt or Fleur de Sel or similar salt of your choice. And then, add fresh ground pepper to the mix - about 1/3rd as much as you have coffee (more or less to taste I suppose - but don't put so much that you drown out the coffee). Liberally coat your steak with that - hide the steak in it.

I then recommend grilling the steak over a very hot grill. I use a gas BBQ, with my burners all on high - about 500 degrees on average. For the thickness of steak I had tonight (1.25"?), I cooked it just short of 11 minutes - about 5 minutes a side or so. This yields a medium-rare steak, and I mean truly medium-RARE, plenty of pink, but not bleeding. Once done grilling, pull it off and let it rest a few minutes. Stellar.

The Chard

I'm a big fan of chard, usually sautéed. Tonight I had some organic red chard. At Long's I'd also picked up some prosciutto, although a last minute decision to try something new, yielded some green peppercorn infused prosciutto cotto (cooked). First I sautéed some chopped red onion, with a pinch of Napa herbs, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of the helpful chunky grey garlic sea salt (go light here, this is not a garlic thing). A bit of red wine (a bottle I had open, oddly enough a tempranillo-syrah blend). Saute and fry that prosciutto up a bit.

Next, I separated the stalks from the chard, as they need to cook longer. Toss those in with the above mixture and steam/saute a bit to soften the stalks up. Then, put the chard leaves in, and essentially steam until done. Doesn't take long. Given that I made this up while I was cooking it, it worked out really well. Of course, most things with prosciutto do :)


I went with the easy choice here, although unexpected. I think most people would expect a nice bold red wine, and I do have some nice ones in the wine fridge. But, when I'm alone and not at a restaurant (thus not opening a bottle, or ordering by the glass) I'll go with a cocktail. My standard favorite is gin rocks with onions. Tonight this was Zuidam dry gin (battling for top spot with my usual favorite No. Ten by Tanqueray), and the best cocktail onions, Sable and Rosenfeld Tipsy Onions. I prefer my gin over just a couple large cubes of ice, so that it's not so cold as to take away flavor. Good botanical gin has a myriad of wonderful flavors, and I think shaking it with ice just kills some of that - No Ten is FAR better just slightly cooled over a couple cubes of ice.

All this, while listening to some great jazz (not typical for me, but "completed" the evening), and sitting at the bar-counter in our house. I felt like I was in a great restaurant, eating a wonderful meal at the bar, only it was in the comfort of my own home, relaxing, and loving it. I guess it was my own great restaurant; how nice!


William Wren said...

i i i i

The Barber Bunch said...

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