I am sitting in my office surrounded by many things I love. Over 300 cookbooks, my camera gear, yarn and knitting supplies and my connection to ya’ll. On the dining room table is another pile of cookbooks, all fairly new releases, about 30 in total. On my corner of the couch are a dozen more cookbooks from the library, unread copies of Food and Wine, my I Pad with bookmarked blog pages, and a basket with 3, ok 5, current knitting projects. In spite of being surrounded by all this inspiration and creativity I still find it difficult to figure out what to make for dinner!
I am not brazen enough to say I’m making a NY resolution here, but I am going to share with you how we intend to get out of the “recipe rut” going forward. Dave’s idea actually! He came up with it one day when I was even more frustrated then normal, and really struggling to come up with “something for dinner”. Dave handed me a book from the top of the pile and said “open it, any page”. “There”, he said, “that’s what’s for dinner”. I might mention, that this is the same guy that chose his daily outfit by whatever was on top in the laundry basket and advised me to do the same when dressing for the day! Anyway, the book on the top of the pile was Sara Moulton’s newest book “Home Cooking 101, How to Make Everything Taste Better”. I had turned to a flat iron steak recipe, to be cooked in a skillet. Since our grill was acting weird; because of the sub-freezing temperatures effect on the propane, I thought the skillet approach was fabulous. I showed Dave the salsa verde recipe and he was not enthused. The book recommended a soft, baked polenta as a side…not Dave’s first choice. So, I flipped further into the book and chose Hassleback potatoes. I’d never made them before. They looked really good. What’s not to love about a potato basted with butter and garlic….crisp on the edges and soft on the inside? All set, decision made, we headed to the kitchen!
Again, all recipes adapted from “Home Cooking 101″ by Sara Moulton”
For the Pickle Salsa Verde
2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste, if desired)
1/4 quick light olive oil
Mix all the ingredients well. Add in
1 1/2 cups medium chopped, fresh parley leaves, and stir. Set aside while you prepare the steak and the potatoes.
For the Hassleback Potatoes
heat the oven to 400′
2 – 4 russet potatoes, or 1 potato per person
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes. Drop each potato into a bowl of cold water. Work with one potato at a time, slice a small amount off the bottom of each potato to ensure it will sit flat. Place the potato between 2 chopsticks on the cutting board. (Sara’s genius advice!) slice the potatoes into 1/8″ slices, as shown. The chopsticks will prevent your knife from cutting all the way through the potato. Return the potato to the bowl of water until all are sliced. Remove from the water and dry well. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave with the garlic and thyme. Brush each potato with the melted butter, getting in between the slices as much as possible. Season with salt. Bake 30 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Gently separate the slices with a bread knife and baste between all the slices with the butter. Return to the oven, and bake another 30-40 minutes, until crispy on the edges and soft in the centers. Keep warm while you prepare the steak.
For the Skillet Steak
1 1/2 pound flank, flat iron or skirt steak, about an inch thick
Let the steak come to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels. Dry steaks and hot skillets are friends! Season the steaks as desired. My favorite is Kosher salt and garlic pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. I think cast iron is the best for searing a steak. Sear the steak on each side, 3-4 minutes for rare, 4-5 minutes for medium rare. Remember, your steak will continue cooking a bit while it rests!!! Remove from skillet to a plate. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 8-10 minutes. Slice the steak across the grain and plate. Place a couple tablespoons of the salsa on each serving.
We enjoyed this meal very much alongside a broiled tomato and tossed green salad. I loved the salsa….I love salty briny things. It was not Dave’s favorite. Those potatoes though…MAKE THE POTATOES.
I hope you have a great evening. Thanks for stopping by.