Last night Bill was in the mood to spend some time in the kitchen with me. One of my favorite things to do is cook with Bill – the two of us gravitate toward one another as we work our way around the meal preparation. We tease. We talk. We exchange pecks while passing each other to the stove or the fridge. We taste test (never trust a skinny chef). We bicker cheerfully about prep techniques and seasoning. In last night’s case, we did all of this while maneuvering around the camera-mounted tripod. The sum of our efforts always result in exponentially better meals; more so than if one of us and prepared it alone.
Last night, we surpassed even our own best efforts. Oh, lord, have mercy.
First, we went to the grocery store. I love shopping with Bill, though we inevitably end up spending twice as much as if I’d gone alone. We LOVE to eat, have I mentioned? We kept up a running discussion of just what, exactly, we needed to make our dinner perfect. For this meal, the cost was COMPLETELY worth it. Here’s the list of ingredients for copying our meal exactly. You’re going to want to do this. Trust me.
Cooking with Bill and Tiffany – Fabulous Steak Dinner With All The Fixin’s
- cast iron skillet
- meat thermometer
- 2 Fillet Mignon steaks, approximately two inches thick (these were probably, like, 10+ oz each)
- 1 bunch fresh spinach
- 1 lb baby potatoes
- 1 package sliced mushrooms (we used baby portobello)
- 1 bottle good-quality red wine (we used Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon)
- fresh cracked pepper (table pepper would work, too)
- kosher or pearl salt (table salt would work too, just be sparing)
- vegetable or canola oil
- olive oil
- crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
- 3 cloves minced garlic, separated
- Worcestershire sauce
- non-stick cooking spray
This recipe absolutely requires a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one. They’re only around $25. I have one of these pre-seasoned deals, and I love it. Pioneer Woman made me do it. She’s handy that way.
I must also mention that this steak recipe is ruthlessly stolen and slightly modified from The Barefoot Contessa’s Steakhouse Steak recipe. It’s good karma to give credit where credit is due.
Now, to get down to bidness.
About two hours before you intend to start the steaks, you’ll need to marinate them. Start by pouring yourself a big glass of wine, thusly:
Now, in a glass dish big enough to hold both steaks, combine 1 cup of wine, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (Calvin also tossed in a couple of blurts of Tabasco, and sprinkled each steak with a bit of tenderizer and poked ‘em with a fork). Place the steaks in the marinade, turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate until ready to cook – at least two hours. Flip ‘em over every now and then to marinade them evenly.
Okay. Ready to cook? Take the steaks out of the fridge and uncover them to bring them up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating, prep your baby potatoes:
Wash ‘em, pat ‘em dry, cut the larger ones in half to even up the cooking, then put them in a large bowl. Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil, two cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper. A little rosemary and/or dill is good, too. Pour them into an oven-safe baking dish and put them in the oven.
Wait ten minutes to allow the potatoes to roast. Have another glass of wine. Watch the Oscars. Dance around to 80′s music. Do your thang.
Next, place your cast iron skillet on the stove. Spray it with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray and heat it on HIGH heat for about five minutes. While the skillet is heating, remove the steaks from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Brush each steak on all sides with a light coating of canola oil. Then, either by putting cracked pepper and kosher salt on a plate, or by sprinkling directly onto the steaks, coat each side (including THE sides) with a light “crust” of salt and pepper, pressing and massaging into the meat (you dirty kids). I combined the salt and pepper into a small bowl, then grabbed little handfuls of it to rub into the meat. I’d say I used one tablespoon of salt (KOSHER, mind) and one tablespoon of pepper for each steak. Really, for this step you can NOT be afraid to get your hands dirty. Just wash ‘em afterwards. You’re durable that way.
Place the steaks into the HOT skillet and sear on all sides (including THE sides) for 1-2 minutes each side. This will sear the steaks to a lovely dark color and adhere the seasonings like a “crust”. Here’s a shot of the steaks searing on their sides – kind of tricky if they can’t balance without being held:
Once the steaks are seared, lay them flat in the skillet if they aren’t already. Top each steak with one tablespoon of butter (we used salted – don’t be afraid of the butter, it is your friend). Place the skillet into the oven with the potatoes and TURN THE OVEN DOWN TO 400 DEGREES (this is important so you don’t overcook the steaks). I had the steaks on the top rack and the potatoes on the bottom rack.
Cook the steaks according to how rare you like them. You’re really going to need a meat thermometer to do this right, as you can’t really time them for the appropriate done-ness. I have one of these – cheap and accurate. We like our steaks medium-rare, which is 125 degrees on the meat thermometer (I think 115 is rare). Stick the probe lengthwise into the side of the meat to get an accurate reading in the center. I’d say the steaks were in the oven for ten total minutes, though we took them out two or three times to check them. Keep in mind, my darlings, these were ENORMOUS steaks – so big that Bill and I only each ate half of one, and the remainder will be some truly fabulous leftovers. So, what I’m saying here is, YMMV.
TRUST YOUR MEAT THERMOMETER. We took the steaks out of the oven at 125 degrees exactly. You’ll see how lovely the result was in a moment.
Now, the steaks need to rest for 10 minutes after removing them from the oven. Place the steaks on a serving platter, and sprinkle the desired amount of blue cheese or Gorgonzola (we used Gorgonzola) on each steak. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and set aside. Be patient. The steak needs to rest before it’s chewed up.
Now, TURN OFF YOUR OVEN but leave the potatoes in until the rest of the meal is prepared.
While the steaks are resting, it’s time to prepare the veggies. They’re both very quick preps and were done at exactly the 10-minute mark when we cooked ‘em last night.
First, you take your spinach:
Wash it well and pat it dry. Place a large skillet on the stove, and over medium heat saute one clove of minced garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil. Once the garlic begins to brown and is fragrant, add the spinach in batches, stirring constantly to coat. Once the spinach is SLIGHTLY wilted and it will all fit into the skillet, cover the skillet, remove it from the heat, and allow it to steam and wilt.
Next you take your mushrooms:
Wash them and pat them dry. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and stir to coat. Add one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and stir to coat. Keep stirring until the mushrooms have softened and the sauce has slightly thickened, about five minutes. Cover and remove from heat.
Now remove the potatoes from the oven. Uncover the steaks. Cry a little at their loveliness. Dish up the steak, potatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Arrange prettily on a plate and take a picture, like so:
DO YOU SEE THAT PERFECTION? Feel free to click on the picture and view a larger size to bask in all of its glory.
Serve with your steak sauce of choice (though it doesn’t need it), maybe some sour cream and butter for the potatoes, maybe some salt and pepper for the spinach and mushrooms. Oh, and more wine. Celebrate the gastronomical glory that is steak.
(Cross-posted at Snerkology.)