Does this look like a daunting menu? It doesn’t have to be. These are recipes that are easy to execute because the ingredients speak for themselves. Look how easy this is to put together. And no, we can’t get Chianina steaks here, but we can still make a great steak that comes pretty close.
Two 2 to 3 inch thick, dry-aged ribeye steaks, bone in
1 TB of olive oil plus 3 TB of olive oil
sea salt, white pepper
6 cups of chicken stock or milk
2 cups of polenta
1 tsp of finely chopped rosemary
6 oz of goat cheese
1 lb of fresh spring artichokes or 14 oz canned artichoke hearts
1 TB pinot grigio (or other white wine) vinegar
1/2 a full size watermelon
1 quart of heavy cream
2 cups of sugar
8 large egg yolks
One 8 to 12 oz bottle of 5 year balsamic vinegar (without additives)
Watermelon Ice Cream
Remove the flesh from the half watermelon and take out the seeds. Dice into small chunks over a large mixing bowl (to keep the juice). Heat the cream and sugar over medium heat until it comes up to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks and add to the hot cream a little at a time, whisking the entire time. Cook (continuing to whisk) until it begins to thicken (4 to 5 minutes total). Pour the mixture in the bowl with the watermelon and cool to room temperature. Blend the entire mixture in batches in the blender until smooth. Strain. Place into the ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s directions. Put into an airtight container and freeze.
Pour bottle of vinegar into a saucepan and reduce until it is a syrup consistency. Do not boil rapidly. Bring up to just below a simmer. Allow to cool and put into a container to drizzle over the ice cream later.
Spring Artichoke Salad
Completely trim the outside leaves and stem from the baby artichokes. (If using canned, simply drain the can and put into a bowl, then add the olive oil etc. Do not cook.) Cut in half lengthwise and remove the fuzzy choke and purple leaves. Boil in salted water until tender. Allow to cool. Cut into half again and place in a medium bowl. Add 3 TB good olive oil and a TB of white wine vinegar. Add sea salt to taste. Allow to marinate at room temperature until serving time. If it is too acidic for you, add a little more olive oil.
Polenta with Goat Cheese and Rosemary
In a large saucepan, boil the stock or milk or mixture of the two. Slowly whisk in the polenta and lower the heat to medium. Using a wooden spoon, keep stirring the polenta until it thickens. Add the goat cheese and rosemary. Stir until combined. Remove from the heat. If you want a little more richness, some people add a couple of TB of butter and stir it in. Keep warm until serving time. If it is too thick by then, thin with a little stock or milk.
This is more about the cut of steak than the execution. Purchase a 2 -3 inch thick, dry aged, hormone free ribeyes or porterhouse steaks. Allow to come to room temperature. Rub with olive oil, liberally use sea salt and pepper to season. Heat a cast iron pan to hot or a grill to high. Sear the steaks for 5 minutes on each side. (Try to avoid flareups.) These are meant to be eaten rare because of the quality of the meat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then slice and serve with the polenta and artichoke salad. Done right, this will rival any steakhouse steak.
Elizabeth Dougherty has been cooking and writing about food intensively for more than ten years. She is the fourth generation of chefs and gourmet grocers in her family with her mother, Francesca Esposito and grandmother, Carmella being major influences in her early cooking years. As a teenager, her family sent her to Europe where she became focused on French and Italian cuisine. She survived a year and half of culinary tutelage under a maniacal Swiss-German chef and is a graduate of NYIT, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations.
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