Wed, 1 August 2007
This is the cover story of the summer, 2007 edition of City Palate, a Calgary-based food publication I've been contributing to for many years. It's a long post. Hope you enjoy.
I. Love. Steak.
A lip-smacking tribute to the king of grilled meat, the glorious beef steak
As I write this, the giant rib eye that I just finished devouring is pleasantly stretching my overfull belly, which is throbbing happily as it begins processing its glorious, meaty cargo.
The after-effects of that super-delicious steak are still with me. My lips are greasy, the gaps in my teeth hang on to the remaining shards of flesh, and my taste buds resonate with a familiar peppery afterglow.
Licking my lips nostalgically, I have a steak flashback.
Cut to five minutes ago. There it is, glistening on the plate as it throws off the classic aroma of seared fat, mesquite smoke and charred spices. Atop the steaming slab sits a slowly liquefying daub of Gorgonzola butter. The dark mass of the steak is framed nicely by slices of ripe red tomato, a few spears of grilled asparagus and a handful of roasted nugget potatoes, all drizzled with fruity olive oil, spritzed with fresh lemon juice and dusted with a sparkling skiff of Malden salt.
That bite. That first bite! Sawn from a corner of the steak with the serrated edge of my knife, the freshly exposed surface shines with juice as I draw the slice to my mouth. Its warm red core is silky on my tongue, and the crusty, chewy outer layers give my teeth the most meaningful assignment in their lives.
I liberate another shiny slice from the beautiful hunk and ceremoniously drag it through the mixture of juice, savory butter and olive oil that has pooled on the plate. The next forkful includes a tangy chunk of tomato; the next, a creamy bite of potato. Then a lemony, palate-refreshing bite of asparagus.
Oh, yes, almost forgot the wine. A big, jammy Shiraz of course. A slug of that, and then back to the motherlode of a steak, which looms on the plate, its edge now jagged like a mine face, waiting to be carved away.
Many satisfying chews and gulps of wine later, I reach my final destination: the rib bone, with its familiar curve. Setting down my implements, I grab the meat-sicle with my bare hands and gnaw away at it, reveling in the fattiest, richest, chewiest bites, my cheeks shining in the candlelight.
Finally, I can wrest no more flesh from the bone. The job is done, and all that’s left is to release a meal-crowning burp and loosen my belt. Hallelujah.
So, now you know what I do when my wife’s away for the weekend.
A beef steak primer
And now for some advice on how you can replicate great steak experiences at home (with your spouse or not).
Okay. First, and perhaps most important, you have to get a perfect piece of meat, well-aged and nicely marbled. My favorite, as you just found out, is the rib eye steak with the bone attached. I like it because it has lots of fat, and it also has nice chewy connective tissue that makes for an interesting texture (and makes for a steak that kids often don’t like). But there are all kinds of great cuts:
Steak your reputation on these tips
Cooking a steak is easy. Almost as easy as ruining one. Heed these words and avoid grill-related emasculation.
I could go on. But, really, cooking a great steak is pretty simple. Follow these rules and you will experience excellent steak flashbacks that will keep you licking your lips for days.
Category:steak -- posted at: 5:23pm PST