Thursday, November 22, 2007

Good Steak

I don't eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Turkey is okay; but even at its very best, it's only adequate. As my mother says, it's a shame to waste a special meal on a damn bird. This year, as I have done in some years past, I cooked a steak. A New York Strip steak, to be exact. Some people like filet, and some people like ribeye. I like New York Strip because it has good texture and firmness without being tough and enough fat to be tasty but not enough to be fatty. Here's how I prepared it. I don't claim that this is the best recipe, but I can claim that it produces a damn fine steak.

Take a New York Strip steak between an inch and a half and two inches thick. Coat each side with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper. Let sit for a half hour or more (to allow the steak to come up to room temperature and to allow the salt to draw moisture out of the steak, the better to sear it). Pre-heat a cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat until it's hot enough to brand something. Pour in a tiny bit of vegetable oil (maybe a teaspoon), then place the steak into it. Sear the steak on the first side for four minutes, then flip and sear the other for three minutes. There will be lots of smoke. That's okay; just remember to take the battery out of the smoke detector while you're doing this. Remove to a bed of bamboo skewers placed across a plate (to allow the steak to rest without sitting in its own juices, which would make the nice seared crust soggy), then tent with aluminum foil. While the steak is resting, reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and sautee a minced shallot in the rendered fat from the steak. After the shallot is good and brown, deglaze the pan with maybe a cup of red wine and half a cup of water. Simmer until the volume is reduced by half. Collect the sauce in a bowl and use to dip the steak in. Serve with the side dishes of your choice. Voila! It's delicious and the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

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