I come from a strong heritage of meat and potatoes. My Irish family would have grown the potatoes in the backyard of their thatched roof cottage and traded some of the free range poultry raised in their stone barn for meat from the neighbor’s farm. Or so I like to imagine. But today I get my potatoes from a plastic bag in the neon lit grocery store and my meat is shrink wrapped. I’m feeling better about the latter now that we get meat from Grow and Behold since I know that cow had some nice grazing time and was brought to its end humanely. But still, things feel a bit removed.
I guess that is why I gravitate towards flavors and tastes that connect me with an earthiness – or an outdoor experience. Citrus takes me to a tropical rain forest while onions take me to dark rich soils. Both of these flavors were on my plate tonight for dinner when I cooked up a delicious Grow and Behold Rib-Eye. I served this amazing steak with lemon and thyme roasted red potatoes (cubed, spread with olive oil, salt and pepper) as well as a citrusy-garlicky Israeli salad. But the best part (aside from the steak that is – wow) was the sharp-tangy mustard sauce that I spooned over the steak. It had a hint of sweetness due to the presence of brown sugar and a robustness from an ample amount of shallots and vinegar.
I learned a great method for preparing the rib-eye steak and then the sauce – all in one pan – from the Cooks Illustrated website. You begin by heating a heavy-bottomed skillet to high heat, adding the steak and letting it sizzle for about 4 minutes, then flipping it once for 6 more minutes of sizzling. While the finished steaks rests on a plate you add minced shallots and brown sugar into the hot pan, then balsamic vinegar plus a bay leaf and get the liquids boiling. To finish, mustard, thyme and fake butter are added to deepen and thicken the sauce to a velvety consistency.
Rib-Eye with Balsamic Mustard Pan Sauce
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
2 Grow and Behold Rib-Eye steaks (about 8 ounces each)
2 shallots minced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
¼ cup balsamic
¾ cup water
2 tsp mustard
3 tbsp fake butter (I use Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
1 tsp dry thyme leaves
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper on each side. Add the meat to the skillet and sizzle for 4 minutes, then flip and sizzle for 6 minutes on the other side (this will produce medium rare steaks). Allow the steaks to rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.
Using the same skillet (and don’t clean it in between), add the minced shallots and brown sugar while the skillet is off the flame. Stir for 1 minute, then add the bay leaf, vinegar and water and return to heat. Let the liquids boil for 4 minutes, scraping any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Stir in the mustard, and add a dash of salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in 3 tbsp fake butter. Add the thyme and serve over the steaks immediately.