Since leaving the hospital, one of the instructions I received from my doctor was to eat plenty of protein, because my body is in the process of replenishing my red blood cell count, which had gotten freakishly low. So now that I'm finally back to an unrestricted diet, I decided to treat myself (and L) to a great steak tonight. Sorry, my vegetarian friends, this post is not for you.
But what made this the best steak I've ever made?
Oh, and the bleu cheese and butter didn't hurt either...
I picked up a beautiful 16 ounce, 1" thick ribeye steak from the market on Friday and decided to "age" it minimally in my refrigerator before cooking it, particularly given its thickness. On Saturday--following a seasoning tip I read on Ideas in Food, one of my favorite blog reads--I unwrapped the steak and lightly seasoned it with kosher salt, then left it on a plate uncovered to let the dehumidifying action of the refrigerator remove the excess moisture pulled to the surface by the salt. On Sunday, most of the salt was absorbed, so I seasoned it again with a light dusting of kosher salt and let it rest in the refrigerator for another 24 hours. The salt pulls additional water soluable proteins to the surface of the steak which facilitates the development of a terrific crust when seared in a pan, particularly when the steak is free of moisture.
Tonight, after taking the steak out of the refrigerator for 30 minuts, I seasoned it one final time lightly with kosher salt, along with sweet paprika and a dash of cinnamon for each side. Each side was seared in a hot iron skillet (on medium high heat... on our gas stove, high is too hot and would burn the steak and spices, medium would be a bit too weak to develop a good sear) for 4 minutes per side... I then took the steak off the heat, covered it with foil, and allowed it to rest for 10 minutes (minimum... this step is critical) to let the juices redistribute. The result? A supremely tender, incredibly juicy and flavorful steak, with a perfectly seared exterior and a pink, medium rare interior... the seasoning permeating all the way through the steak, and a balanced perfume of spice emerging from the layers of unabashedly carnivorous decadence and goodness.
Served with caramelized onions, a bleu cheese compound butter, and a cabernet reduction, and we had a spectacular dinner for two... my red blood cell count increasing with each bite.
And now it's time to watch Bourdain in Vietnam on No Reservations...