We recently had some friends over for dinner so we'd have an excuse to open up some wine that we received as a present. Our friend Jesse's parents, who live in Boston, were kind enough to send us some T-Vine Psychedelic Rooser Zinfandel-Petite-Sirah, so we invited Jesse to come and share it with us. What goes well with such big, bold red? Beef!
Skirt steak. It certainly isn't the prettiest of cuts- all scraggly and uneven- thin in some places and thick in others. However, it's one of the most flavorful, beefy parts of the cow and also happens to be J's favorite, so when I was trying to figure out what to cook for the meal, J jumped all over the gorgeous photo in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home cookbook and it was decided. The unglamorous, unpopular kid in the class of steaks would be the main course. Hmph.
I'll admit that the amount of olive oil in Thomas Keller's marinade made me gasp a bit...I mean, 2 CUPS? I reassured myself that the cut of meat itself had little fat and that most of the marinade would be wiped off anyway, so I went ahead and used the entire 2 cups. The oil is flavored with rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme before the steak bathes in it for a few hours. Sounded good to me!
I needed some pretty sides to go along with the steak, and found some gorgeous little heirloom potatoes at the Pasadena Farmer's Market which I promptly picked up. An array of colorful carrots and some fresh arugula also caught my eye, as did some apples and ruby grapefruit. If you're ever in a cooking slump, just hit your local farmer's market to get inspiration- it works for me every time!
So here's what we had:
Beecher's Honey Hazelnut crackers with gruyere cheese. I'd never had these crackers before and picked them up since they were two for one at Whole Foods. Holy cow- they are sturdy, nutty and really dangerous since it's hard to stop eating them. I like a nice, crunchy cracker and these went so well with the salty cheese. Instant favorite.
Arugula, red onion and ruby grapefruit salad. The combination of the spicy greens with the sweet, juicy grapefruit was a hit with the guests.
Salt roasted baby potatoes. I'd seen this on many blogs before, and was intrigued by the idea of salt-baking, like you would a fish. I mixed up some Kosher salt with rosemary, then set the potatoes in a bed of it. My best friend said they looked like little, colorful stones, and the flavor of the rosemary really permeated the potatoes.
Roasted carrots tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I'm a total sucker for multicolored carrots, especially when they are smaller in size. They are so visually stunning and make an easy side dish to pretty much any meat or fish.
Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home Marinated Skirt Steak (with the potatoes!). After wiping off most of the marinade, I just seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper, seared them for a minute on each side and finished them off in the oven for about seven minutes. I skipped bathing them in butter part in the recipe because, after stewing in all of that olive oil for hours, I didn't think it was necessary. Not that I'd know anything about cooking better than Mr. Keller! I just felt WE didn't need it, let's put it that way. It was tender and tasty nonetheless. After the potatoes were done I just tossed them with a little olive oil and chives.
French Apple Tart. This month's Saveur featured this recipe by Sara Moulton, along with a step-by-step pictorial on how to achieve the beautiful pattern. It was actually really easy, and the only ingredients in this are flour, butter, apples and sugar. Simplicity at its best.
Everything turned out well, and the wine was amazing. After a couple of hours eating and drinking, we called it a night, red teeth and all.
Hope you all have a great weekend!