In many households, steak is a special occasion kind of meal, one that rarely needs a recipe to prepare.
But there are times when some formal directions can improve a slab of meat, even one that’s cooked right. This is such a case, with three recipes that together make for a meal worthy of any celebration.
Start with a rub made of three types of peppercorns (and, yes, each has a different flavor). Work that crushed spice into the meat before it’s cooked on the grill. Once done to your preference, drizzle it with a peppercorn- and butter-based sauce that oozes lickability.
But don’t stop there! Top off the steaks with slivers of homemade deep-fried onions. Think of those French-fried curls from a can that find a spot on the green bean casserole. If those are a 1 on a gotta-have-this scale, the homemade version ratchets up the goodness to 1,000. Betcha can’t eat just one.
This is as close to perfection on a plate as you'll find.
GRILLED RIB-EYE STEAK WITH ONION STRAWS
Note: For super-thin onion slices, use a mandoline. To eliminate too much last-minute prep, make the Onion Straws earlier and warm them when needed in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes (in which case, you may want to make extra, as they will get nibbled). Rib-eyes too pricy? Choose your favorite cut. From “BBQ Bistro: Simple, Sophisticated Recipes for Your Grill,” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig.
1 large onion, sliced paper-thin
1/2 cup flour
3 cups neutral oil
Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons Three-Peppercorn Rub (see recipe)
Three-Peppercorn Beurre Blanc (see recipe)
4 rib-eye steaks, 1 1/2 inch thick
Olive oil for brushing
To make the Onion Straws: Toss the onion slices in flour until well coated. In deep saucepan or an electric skillet, warm oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees on a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Add the onion, in batches, and fry, stirring frequently, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt. Set aside and keep warm.
To make the steaks: Prepare the rub and the beurre blanc (sauce). Then prepare a hot fire in the grill. Brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle the rub on both sides, pressing it into the steak. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, with the grill lid closed, turning once, until charred with good grill marks on the outside and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the steak registers 130 degrees for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Serve steaks with Three-Peppercorn Beurre Blanc generously spooned over meat and Onion Straws sprinkled over the top.
Nutrition information per serving (12 oz. meat, 2 tablespoon sauce, onion straws): 900 calories, 57 g fat, 935 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrates, 25 g saturated fat, 2 g total sugars, 85 g protein, 300 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber
Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 12 medium-fat protein.
Makes about 1/3 cup.
Note: Yes, these three kinds of peppercorns all taste a little different, though if you can’t find them all, use what you have. Use a mortar and pestle (or bowl and heavy spoon) to crack but not completely grind the toasted peppercorns. This is a terrific rub for grilled beef, salmon or tuna steaks, especially when served with the Three-Peppercorn Beurre Blanc. From “BBQ Bistro,” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig.
2 tablespoons white or Szechuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried green peppercorns
1 tablespoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Place all the ingredients in a small cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a mortar and grind with a pestle until crushed but still somewhat coarse. Use right away.
THREE-PEPPERCORN BEURRE BLANC
Makes about 1 cup.
Note: Basically, this is a butter sauce with flavorings. If you can’t find all three varieties of peppercorns, use what you have. From “BBQ Bistro,” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig.
2 teaspoons white or Szechuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon fine kosher or sea salt
Place all the peppercorns in a small cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and toast, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a mortar and grind with a pestle (or bowl and heavy spoon) until crushed but still somewhat coarse.
In small saucepan, bring crushed peppercorns, wine and shallot to a boil. Continue to boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 10 to 15 minutes (do not let this boil dry).
Remove pan from heat and turn heat to low. Whisk in 2 cubes butter, then return pan to the heat. Whisk until butter has almost melted into the liquid. Continue whisking in the butter, 1 cube at a time, until all the butter has been emulsified into the sauce and the sauce has thickened.
Remove from heat immediately and whisk in the salt. Keep warm in the top of a double boiler or transfer to a stainless steel bowl and set over a pan of hot, not boiling water, until ready to serve.
Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons: 215 calories, 23 g fat, 115 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrates, 14 g saturated fat, 1 g total sugars, 0 g protein, 60 mg cholesterol, 0 g dietary fiber
Exchanges per serving: 4 1/2 fat.