Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What I Did on Oscar Night

What I Did on Oscar Night

Watch the show? Ha ha--no, life's too short. Instead I defrosted this two-inch thick bone-in ribeye I bought from M & M Meats in Jim's Farmers Market which is labeled 'hormone free' (the label doesn't matter in poultry or pork, but does in beef), and massaged it with a variation of a coffee-cocoa rub I found online. 

Of course I improvised (what do I look like, Bobby Flay?). Found some legit ground coffee--'espresso flavored' whatever that means, which I assume doesn't really mean authentic espresso (or if it does damned if I know). Could not score ancho chili powder, so settled for generic chili powder. Could not find 'natural' cocoa powder, so I found something 'caramel-flavored.' Found the rest--powdered garlic, ground cumin, raw sugar, ground fennel seed, ground allspice, kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper--easily enough. Wouldn't know if I actually used 1/8 teaspoon of allspice--eyeballed it and announced it was 'close nuff.'

Did mix rendered goose fat saved from last Christmas into the rub to help gently knead it into the meat instead of your standard-issue extra-virgin olive oil, reasoning thusly: if we're going to eat something as decadently expensive as steak, why settle for something 'extra virgin?' Fat of feathered pig roast will do nicely (and did, believe me). 

Let rest for an hour; cranked the oven up to 500 F with my trusty 14 inch cast-iron pan inside; once target temperature is reached, allowed pan to sit in there heating for some twenty minutes.

At the very last minute sprinkled the steak with kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper (taking care to season the steak's fatty rim); gently laid the meat seasoned-side down into the pan, quickly seasoned the other side (tell you why in a sec). Shut the oven and allowed the steak to broil for eight long minutes.

Flipped the steak (Get it? Since I already seasoned both sides when I first laid the steak, I can just flip the meat without wasting time); roasted it another seven minutes. Pulled it out, tented it with foil, allowed it to rest ten minutes.

And the result is as follows:

The coffee-cocoa rub (which for better or worse had a caramelized goose aroma to it) gave the meat a faintly sweet, slightly spicy, wonderfully nutty, roasted-corn flavor. The rim of fat I had carefully seasoned was salty crispy gold and melted like deep-fried butter, crackling before it seeped slowly all over the tongue. 

For accompaniment I took my cue from that long-ago bistecca dinner in Udine and did a simple salad:

A peppery herb, arugula cuts the fattiness and cleans the palate for the next bite. Tossed the salad with a simple dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper, and--since mustard makes the already bitter leaf too bitter--a spoonful of mayonnaise to emulsify the mixture.

Alas I have no pic of the meat and greens together--the salad disappeared just like that--but do have a picture of the morning after, when breakfast was ashes and ruins. Cooked some egg over easy, heated up a nice slice of the steak and here we go:

Supersteak and eggs with basil garnish (igured the picture needed a bit of green). Slice off a chunk of meat, dip it in the egg yolk--the in my book world's richest steak sauce--eat, repeat, till plate is clean.  Leftovers and leftover guests will be fed to the dogs (for the record the pooches went hungry that night).

Luz made dessert: fresh avocado scooped into a bowl; drizzle condensada to taste; mash; eat. The genius of the dish is that it's unbelievably simple and unbelievably rich (fatty avocado; condensed milk). Collapse in couch and sleep till next year's awards season.

Hell, still don't know who won the Oscars (don't care) but feel like a winner anyway.

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