Sunday, June 21, 2009
My Summer's Eve Dinner
Ordinarily, I don't gravitate toward steaks on the grill, such as this T-Bone. I'm much more inclined to want a juicy London Broil or flank steak. However, I spotted these steaks and they looked so good that I just salivated in anticipation. I just had to have them! Earlier in the afternoon, I made a log of bleu cheese butter and topped the steaks with a hefty dollop. The asparagus, also cooked on the grill, was a gift from my mother. My parents have a vacation home on the island and couldn't use it when they needed to return back home to Pennsylvania. I obliged and took it off their hands. Smile!
It was delicious!
Given that I cook by instinct and don't often follow a recipe, I will give you my best approximations of how to replicate this dinner. However, I encourage people NOT to totally follow a recipe. Cooking should be about what you like to eat, not someone else's idea. I firmly believe recipes are jumping off points for creating something that's your own. So, use this as your guide and change it as you wish!
I marinated the steaks for about two hours in approximately one cup of red wine (always use a wine that you consider good enough to drink!!), about a quarter cup of sherry vinegar (you could substitute red wine vinegar), and a few shakes of Lawry's Season Salt. I have just about every herb and spice under the sun to choose from, but I thought a classic steak just didn't need a lot of fuss. For those who don't have Lawry's, you could reasonably approximate it by adding together sugar, salt, paprika, turmeric, and onion powder. I contemplated adding in a pinch of Hot Spanish Paprika (Pimenton), in addition to the Lawry's, but didn't. In addition, I added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (not too much, unless you are a closet pyromaniac -- it will flame up when the fire hits the oil!)
Bleu Cheese Butter
Soften one stick of butter (I use unsalted), which is the equivalent of 8 tablespoons, until it is just workable. For this recipe, you should use whatever bleu cheese you prefer. I happened to have gorgonzola crumbles handy, so I blended in about a quarter cup. You really want to incorporate it into the butter well. The idea is to meld the two flavors. Chives (optional) -- 2 T. finely chopped and added in as you are blending in the gorgonzola. Then, I gently incorporated about another quarter cup of some Danish bleu (I ran out of Gorgonzola), crumbled into larger chunks. Even if you are using the same bleu cheese, I would divide it up: one for blending in, one for the chunk factor! You definitely want to have some really nice chunks of cheese in this butter! I then roughly shaped it into a log, wrapped it in plastic wrap to shape it further, and chilled it until ready to use.
Asparagus on the Grill
Toss the fresh asparagus with some olive oil (not too much, but enough to give it a good coating) and the juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle with some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. You may add some chopped garlic at this point, if you like. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the foil (Important because you want it to cook evenly). Thinly slice the remaining lemon and arrange on top of the asparagus, then completely wrap the asparagus with the foil to essentially make a sealed grill packet (don't leave a venting hole). Grill on direct heat for about 25 to 30 minutes, assuming they are of average thickness. This will need to go on the grill before the steaks!
To Serve --
Arrange steak and asparagus on the plate. Top steak with bleu cheese butter. I was lazy and added some commercially prepared steak sauce. However, I often will reduce my marinade down into a sauce. The key is to boil hard (after all, it was exposed to raw meat!), taking care not to burn it, until it reduces and thickens. You may need to help it along by adding in some pan searing flour (I use Wegmans), Wondra flour, or cornstarch. I also like to add in a tablespoon or two of butter at the end, because it gives the sauce such a wonderful texture.
(P.S.: The dogs did -- they split a steak of their own!)