Sometimes, my inspiration for a meal concept comes from a single ingredient. This is why I like The Meat House. I can go there, walk around, and get inspired by pretty much anything in the store, whether it’s their steaks, some of their local groceries, or even the seasonings in the front of the store.
I saw a mean looking ribeye steak in the case, so, on a whim, I threw my money on the counter and brought it home. Other than cooking it in a cast iron pan using Gordon Ramsay’s technique, I had no idea what to eat with it. Honestly, I didn’t care; I could eat just a steak for dinner, but I can do better than just a steak. I took to the pantry and fridge and had a lightbulb go off.
We had picked up some seriously great shallots at the Troy Farmers Market that morning, so I figured I would make some buttermilk shallot rings. All I needed was what’s in the above picture. It’s easy! [Don’t have shallots? Use a small onion.]
I cut the shallots into rings about 1 millimeter thick. Soaked them in a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk with some salt and pepper, and then dredged them in the whole wheat flour.
The beauty of these is that I didn’t need to haul out the Fry Daddy to cook them. I filled a small frying pan with some vegetable oil, heated the pan, and fried these guys until golden brown.
This whole time, I had my cast iron pan heating away on medium high. I also prepared the steak with a liberal coating of salt and pepper on each side.
I added a bit of vegetable oil to the pan, and put the steak in the pan; I did this carefully to ensure enough of a bare surface opposite of where I put the steak to flip the steak onto it.
I forgot about that for about five minutes and took to the fridge to find something to drink with my meal. I found a delicious bottle of Dogfish Head Raison d’Extra. Why the hell not? 18% Alcohol, deep grape and brown sugar flavor, that would go perfectly with my meal!
After a few small sips, it was time to flip the steak over and add a pat of butter to the top of the cooked surface of the steak.
When the steak was a perfect medium rare (this you’ll have to experiment with on your own; I just know how it feels based on experience), I took it off and let it rest for 15 minutes. Seriously. I even set a timer to keep myself honest.
To plate the dish, I sliced the steak fairly thickly, laid the slices on the plate and garnished with my shallot rings.
This method of plating worked great. Having the shallot straws on top allowed them to osmotically absorb an ever so small amount of juice from the steak against gravity. Everything worked. Even the beer. The whole preparation here took something like 20 minutes, including breading and frying shallot rings (but not including the resting of the steak). You don’t even need to use ribeye steak; you could do this with any nicely marbled piece of meat.
I’m getting pretty good with the cast iron steak technique…and I’m sure I’m not done writing about its merits quite yet.