My favorite animal is steak.
Recipe Source: Food.com
When I think about romantic meals, I always think of steak. I don’t know why that is; maybe I’m a victim of marketing. Or it could be that steak is visceral – it’s rich and hearty, and you have to chew it. About a year ago I started to appreciate the rarer end of preparation, so add to that list bloody. When eating a steak anywhere under medium, there’s no pretense about saving the animals. No, what you’re eating is pink because it used to be alive. It was made of flesh and blood, just like you. And if you’re a mindful person, there’s a sacredness in the act of eating it. Steak is not a meal for dieting, but rather when you need something to savor. If it’s worthwhile it’s also expensive, it’s for pairing with full-bodied red wine and good company, and it’s reserved for special occasions. At least, that’s the attitude toward steak in my house.
So last week as I sensed the holiday approaching, I started digging around for a suitable savory dinner recipe. I wanted steak, and I wanted blue cheese. After years of avoiding the stuff, on an otherwise unremarkable day a few months ago, I grabbed a spoonful at the salad bar – and then another the next day, and the next day, and the next. My love of balsamic vinegar is also somewhat young, so imagine my delight when I found this recipe for steak, blue cheese, and balsamic together!
I knew the meal wouldn’t be a hard sell for David, a self-professed lover of steak and Costco, which happens to sell a fantastic ribeye. As we left the store with bellies full of samples, we just managed to leave the checker behind – although I think he was hoping for an invitation to dinner (“Steak and blue cheese – now that’s some BUSINESS!” said he).
The preparation for this dish is really so simple, it might seem unworthy of Valentine’s Day. But if the day is about being with the one you love, then the less time spent in the kitchen, the better, right?
I really like this cast iron grill pan for indoor grilling. It gives you nice grill marks without ever having to go outside, which is a plus in a snowy climate like San Diego (I kid! Sorry, Midwesterners). Our typical method for cooking steak (ok, I learned it from David), is to sear both sides of the meat when the preheated pan is smoking hot, then finish to ‘desired doneness’ in a 400-degree oven.
The next time I make this, I will make just a few changes: I loved the balsamic marinade, but felt extra in the sauce was unnecessary. Blue cheese, however… yes, I will always take more blue cheese on top. I’d also love some sauteed mushrooms on the steak, which I read from a reviewer on the site but tragically forgot to include.
On the side, I wanted something light and refreshing (no potatoes here!), so I tossed together a simple spinach-arugala salad with jicama shavings, sunflower seeds, and a dressing of walnut oil, Trader Joe’s orange champagne muscat vinegar, and black pepper. We also had some leftover rice pilaf from the night before (I know, leftovers, good heavens), so we nuked that up on the side. We drank the cabernet we used for the steak marinade and had a relatively no-fuss, yet scrumptuous, quiet dinner at home – which was just what we needed.
RECIPE – Balsamic Rib-Eye Steak With Blue Cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine (merlot is nice in this)
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 rib eye steaks
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Combine first four ingredients in a ziploc bag or shallow pan. Add steaks to marinade, and marinate for 1-2 hours, turning steaks in marinade frequently.
Grill steaks to desire doneness (about 3-5 minutes on each side for medium-rare/medium doneness). While steaks are grilling, combine vinegar and blue cheese to a creamy consistency. Serve sauce as a condiment to steaks.