Oh, vegetarian readers, take heed!
Rarely do I eat red meat—no pun intended. After six months and thirty-plus blog postings, this is my first red meat entry. There are times, though, when I do want it, almost feel like my body needs it.
Once I get that beefy iron-rich fix, I am sated for another long while.
I choose either a rib-eye or strip steak, from a grass-fed, pasture raised animal whose life, up until the day of slaughter, was a happy, hormone-and-antibiotic free existence. ( In the Nashville area, Walnut Hills Farm, Emerald Glen Farm, and West Wind Farms all follow these practices.)
Yes, it is pricey, but for those rarest of occasions, plus for ethics and flavor, it’s so worth the expense.
It’s also something that I eat alone.
I live with a vegetarian, and a tolerant one at that. He doesn’t have issues with meat being in the house, or in the skillet, just as long as it doesn’t touch anything that he’s going to put in his mouth. So, the potentially off-putting notion of me carving and gnawing away at some juicy piece of sirloin while he munches a Boca Burger is not the reason.
No, this solo carnivorous undertaking evolved into a funny tradition, born of a time when I worked crazy hours and lived by myself. After an intensive run of cooking all kinds of foods and catering all manner of events, when I had become too bleary to discern what I might enjoy or be capable of putting in my mouth, this was the panacea I discovered.
I would liberally season and pan-sear a steak, pour a glass of red wine, and sit down at a set table to slowly dine. And, slowly, I would restore. In the wake of overwork, that pan seared steak–dined on with the civil accoutrements of china and silver, savored in silence–became the centerpiece of this ritual of nurturing myself.
The marinade, or herb infused coating, is easy to make. It follows a manner used by the Tuscans in cooking their prized Chianina beef. Instead of lemon, I use balsamic vinegar (with a little Worcestershire) as the acid element. With the fresh minced garlic and flat leaf parsley, I add fresh thyme and chives. And, of course, a healthy dose of good olive oil, coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper…the flavors will astonish!
If you can, allow the marinade to permeate the meat for a few hours.
I have an enameled cast-iron grill pan, made by Le Creuset, that works really well for searing, charring, grill-marking the meat. But it’s fine to use a heavy-duty fry pan.You could cook your steak on a charcoal grill, too, but you’d miss out on being able to deglaze the skillet and capture all that cooked-on goodness.
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 clove fresh Garlic
1 heaping Tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf Parsley
2 teaspoons fresh Chives
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
a few grindings of Black Pepper
New York Strip Steak, bone in
Put the olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, vinegar, remaining seasonings into a food processor fitted with the swivel blade. Pulse the ingredients until the garlic and herbs are chopped throughout the mixture and the olive oil becomes somewhat emulsified with the balsamic and Worcestershire.
Rinse, pat steak dry, then coat both sides with the herbed marinade. Refrigerate and let it soak in the sauce for several hours.
Heat a skillet or grillpan until just under smoking hot. Sear steak for 2 minutes, rotate to get crosshatch marks and cook for another 2 minutes. Flip the steak and repeat.
Remove the steak and let it rest on a plate while you deglaze the pan with water ( or red wine)
Shake the grillpan back and forth, scraping up any cooked on bits, then pour over the steak.
Get your fork and sharp knife and dig in.