One of my favorite things to check out is a good cookbook. It’s exciting to try new recipes that you may not have tried before. You never know when there will be a good one that will become one of your family’s new favorites. I love flipping through them, reading the ingredients for the recipes and trying to decide if it is something I’d like to make one time. I am not sure I could ever read a cookbook and NOT find something to make. I’m always up for trying new things.
As I flipped through Adventures in Comfort Food by Kerry Altiero, I felt exactly that way. I was drawn in by the title – Comfort Foods. I mean, we grew up with many of these meals that can be classified as comfort foods. I love Kerry’s spin on them.
Based off of meals served in Kerry’s restaurant in a small town in Maine, Cafe Miranda, Adventures in Comfort Food is different than you’d think at first glance. Kerry’s philosophy is about serving meals that comfort no matter their origin. It happens to be whatever strikes his fancy at that time. As he talks about in his introduction, that can mean Mexican, Thai, Middle Eastern, you name it.
This cookbook begins with “Starters” and ends with “Components” which I have to say is my favorite part – who doesn’t love a good sauce or side?
It is exactly the reason I chose to share the recipe Steakhouse – a delicious beefy favorite in our house. And the sauce accompanying…delish! I just wish we had a nice ripe heirloom tomato this time of year to go alongside of it!
And so I bring you….The Steakhouse
by Kerry Altiero and Katherine Gaudet from Adventures in Comfort Food: Incredible, Delicious and New Recipes from a Unique, Small-Town Restaurant
printed with permission of Page St. Publishing
A few years ago I met up with some longtime pals in NYC and we went to a well-known steakhouse. Hunk-o-meat-o-rama! There was a vegetarian at the table; I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say she is one no longer. The event is a bit fuzzy from the massive intake of protein, wine and martinis, but a Miranda favorite emerged from it.
Contrary to popular belief, classic American steakhouses do not use char grills. They use a box broiler, a piece of equipment that pros hate (brutally hot, unwieldy) but that does produce hard-to-beat steaks. For home cooking, the closest thing is the trusty cast-iron pan.
2 tsp/1 g dried chervil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp finely ground white pepper
12 oz/340 g New York sirloin strip, boneless
½ cup/118 ml heavy cream
1 tbsp/15 ml marsala wine
1 cup/30 g spinach, stemmed
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 big, ripe heirloom tomato, sliced ¾”/2 cm thick
1 tbsp/15 ml balsamic vinegar
Coarsely ground black pepper
Make a dry rub: Mix the chervil, garlic powder, salt and white pepper in a bowl. Rub the steak with it. Place a 9-inch/23 cm cast-iron pan over high heat. I hope you have a good fan because the smoke detector will be ringing!
In a 2-quart/2 L saucepan over medium-high heat, place the cream and marsala. You are going to reduce it until half of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. At this point hold it as is, parked, as it were.
Meanwhile, toss the steak on the hot pan: SMOKE! Good smells! Sear one side. You will see the cooking action as the color moves up the side of the meat. When the color gets about one-third of the way up, flip the steak. Do the same for the other side, and that should take you to medium-rare. Remove from the pan.
Add the spinach and nutmeg to the cream and heat to wilt the leaves. Place the tomato slices on the platter like shingles. Drizzle with balsamic and salt and pepper well. Pour the spinach mixture onto the plate. Place the steak in the center. Serve with a baked potato and copious amounts of real butter and sour cream, for the full effect. Put your cardio surgeon on speed dial, pop a big cabernet, put on the hockey game and chow down.
Chef’s Tip: Tell your butcher to get a “small eye” steak. This means that the entire strip is a smaller one so your steak will be thicker. A good thing.