Sunday, June 5, 2011

Marry Me!

I LOVE steak. Juicy, rare, and right off of the grill. And right now it's prime grilling season! In fact, as I type this, there is a giant, thick cut sirloin marinading in the fridge. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I have found that there are two kinds of steak eaters in the world. The first is the traditional set that subscribes to the belief that simplicity is best. My husband is one of these. He doesn't like anything but a simply seasoned piece of meat. He is happy with some kosher salt, pepper, and olive oil. And I agree it is tasty, and even fantastic for chicken, pork, or fish. But I stand firmly with the second group of steak eaters: those that enjoy creative and bold seasonings and sauces. If I were to have a celebrity chef prepare my steak, I'd choose Bobby Flay.

Whichever team you are on, I have a marinade recipe for you to test at your next cookout. It adds enough flavor for bold and spicy craving carnivores like me, but is not overpowering enough to put off the traditional meat eaters. It's a lovely compromise. And compromise is the key to any successful relationship. Steak eaters- unite!

Depending on your taste preferences, you can go a little easy or extra heavy on specific ingredients. Normally I am a rib-eye loving girl, but this marinade makes even an inexpensive sirloin scrumptious. We used one large steak that can serve 2-4 diners, and this is enough marinade. Adjust quantity and measurements for your needs and tastes!
  • olive oil 1/3 cup roughly
  • apple cider vinegar 1-2 cap fulls
  • Worcestershire sauce 2-3 tablespoons
  • soy sauce (either go really easy on this, or use the lite/low sodium to avoid over saltiness) 2 teaspoons
  • prepared horseradish 1 teaspoon
  • fresh garlic 3-4 cloves
  • kosher or sea salt
  • black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil and (flat leaf) parsley 2-3 tablespoons dried or a handful of fresh
Add all ingredients to food processor if using fresh whole garlic cloves and herbs, and pulse until it's all finely chopped. If using dried herbs and you don't mind chopping garlic (or are using the jarred minced garlic) then you can simply whisk it together or shake it well in a container with lid. Then pour marinade over meat in a glass baking dish, or into large plastic bag. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for up to 8 hours. The longer it sits, the more the flavors will marry and tenderize the meat. For a zesty topping or dipping sauce, whisk together a teaspoon of horseradish or wasabi, few drops of honey, and few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

I have recently become a grilling ninja, and have learned lots of tips and secrets that make any steak at home as delicious and appealing as any from a restaurant. Perhaps you are already a grill master and know what I'm about to tell you. Well goody for you! These are things I've leaned from my favorite chefs and from my own experimenting.
  1. When marinating steak in the refrigerator, it's important to remove it up to an hour before you plan to grill and allow the meat to come to room temperature to help it to cook evenly. That's important because it prevents well done steak from burning on the outside and drying out. It will also help a rare to medium rare steak get a nice sear on the outside and a warm, juicy center. I love a rare steak, but a cold, raw center is not appealing! 
  2. Preheat the grill with all burners on high for at least 15 minutes, and use a steel brush to clean the grates. This will get you a good sear on the meat with those pretty grill marks and avoid that gas smell and taste meat absorbs if you put it on too soon. 
  3. Only turn the meat once! And keep the grill closed as much as possible. This keeps the cooking temperature even. When it is time to flip, use an open area on the grate for a good sear on the second side and more good grill marks! Second side takes less time, so don't go too long. You can always put it back on, but if you over cook it, you're stuck with it.
  4. Let the meat rest! And avoid the temptation to cut into it to check the doneness. Let it sit, loosely covered, for 5 minutes before doing any cutting. The juices will redistribute and it will finalize the cooking process.


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