Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bistro steak and cabbage (!) salad

You've probably been wondering what to do with that steak you carved off while making backyard belgian stew. This will also work fine with a delmonico (ribeye), new york strip, or even t-bone. You need some booze, salt, pepper, cream, thyme, and you also need to be prepared to be really happy!

If you have long pepper from Bali use it! It is incredible (weird at first, incredible later). Regular peppercorns will work too. Grind up a couple of tablespoons of your favourite pepper in your handy mortar (using your pestle of course).

Sprinkle thyme all over your steak (fresh would be great, but it's winter and you have tons of dry stuff from your garden this summer... right?). Now cover it with pepper. I mean COVER it! More than you think you can handle. Add some salt too. Flip and repeat.

Have a beer and do something else for a while while your steak gets up to room temperature. (Half an hour.)

Oh ho!! What's this? It's that cabbage you never know what to do with. We'll fix that.

Take about a quater of the cabbage (the rest won't last long after you see this trick). Chop in very thin strips (if your knife is dull this won't work and you'll need bandaids). Put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with some nice salt and leave it while you do all this other stuff.

Ok! The steak. This recipe requires oven and stove. Heat your oven to 425. Heat your ever awesome skillet. (We're talking 7 heat!)

Finely chop some onion or shallot and get your other sauce ingredients ready. 1/3 cup of bourbon (or whatever YOU like), and 1/2 cup of cream.

Sear the steak on one side for 3-4 minutes depending on how massive it is. Flip it and do the same on the other side. (This can be a fairly smokey enterprise, so hit your fan if you have one.)

Beer is no longer a reliable timer at this point. Well, it isn't if the first one was a 750 ml bottle of Lugtread so,...use your timer. After both sides are seared, fire it in the oven for about 7 minutes. This timing works great for your standard supermarket thick steak -- great also for super thick ones if you like them red.

Take your creation out of the oven. Note the vital oven mitt -- that skillet will be hot (like 425 degrees hot).

Transfer your steak to a plate and cover while you make the sauce (who needs tinfoil? Well, I do, but not here).  
Remember -- oven mitt. Keep it on. That skillet will be hot until you do the dishes -- even if it's tomorrow.
So, here you have a pan filled with great crusty bits. Sauce time!
Add a bit of butter. (Turn on the element again -- or, realise you left it on the whole time and it's still hot.) Heat 6 is good here. Stir the butter around to deglaze the pan (read: scrape up all the crusty bits).Add your finely chopped onion (or shallot). Careful not to brown them too much -- they just need to get soft.

Add your whiskey (or, whisky if you prefer-- that would probably work too. Or sherry, or port, or maybe wine -- you get me.) Infernos are possible here, so if you use gas, it might be wise to take the pan off the heat while you add the booze. When you put it back on the heat, get your head over that pan and breathe deeply (no point wasting all that nice bourbon!) Stir until it reduces to a glaze on the onions.

Add your cream.Stir for a while until the cream is heated through and the sauce thickens. This happens about the time that the cream bubbles even while you are stirring.

This sauce is used to dress the steak -- you can serve 4 people with one of these if you slice it thin crosswise and add some steamed vegetables and rice. Use two steaks if you are serving steak likers. But! You also have that cabbage... pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of your sauce over the cabbage.

Then stir the cabbage and you have a wonderful coleslawey side dish to serve too. The heat cooks the cabbage a bit, and the creamy bourbon steak sauce really makes it. (Frank, this is my contribution to culinary history -- i made it up on the fly, and if other people make it too, I will be IMMORTAL!! For a while, anyway.)

Bon appetit!

Inspiration: Fine Cooking, no. 95.

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