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February 11, 2009

Dressed Up for Your Date With a Steak


The common, workaday steak leads a fairly straightforward, simple life. It makes very little effort to disguise its motives. In fact, it is questionable whether it has a deceitful bone in its body.


Its job is chiefly to sit. It sits in the butcher’s case, it sits in your refrigerator, it sits in heat and finally it sits on a plate as it is slowly pieced apart and consumed. Through this, even were you to monitor by use of advanced electronics, you would not hear steak complain for even a second.


There are reasons for that. Steak knows its purpose and neither questions that nor attempts to elevate its station to something that it is not. If you’ve ever watched a cowboy movie, you know that this kind of laconic, stoic strength is not passive, either, but the aggressive assertion of all things good and right.


It is entirely commendable, even appropriate, to show appreciation for that. The last thing you should want to do is to take steak for granted. Here is a suggestion: Dress it up a bit and take it out for a night on the town.


This would start with a nice long soak in a bath. Before you drop in a capful of bubble soap, however, consider an alternative of olive oil, cumin, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. And, probably an actual bath is a bit much. Perhaps just enough to coat it.


Let it sit like this for an hour or two.


Meanwhile dice an onion, some jalapeno pepper and black olives together. Slice thin some white cheese.


Heat a skillet over high heat, heat a smaller skillet to medium heat and preheat your oven to 500 degrees.


At roughly the same time – although a failure to properly synchronize will not end in catastrophic, fatal error as it does so often in cooking – toss down steak over the high heat and the pepper mix over the medium.


Let the steak do its thing – sit – for about half a minute. Turn it over and again, let it do its thing – sit – for another half minute. This will help seal in juices, and bind the various flavors to the skin.


While this happens, stir the onion and pepper mixture. You will want your onions semi-soft and slightly caramelized.


Remove the skillet with steak from the heat and lay over the top of it a thin layer of white cheese. Spoon the onions, pepper and olives on top of that.


Place in the oven and again let steak do its thing for about five minutes. When it comes out, the cheese should be melted and the inside should be warm enough that it does not gush blood if touched with something semi-sharp. Finish by spritzing over the top some fresh lime juice.


Steak is now all dressed up. Go out and have a grand time. Paint the town red. Or, settle in for the evening for a quiet dinner.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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