Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vodka-marinated Steak

I found this recipe in Nigella Lawson's "Feast" - it was touted as being a Scandinavian-influenced recipe, and since I have a healthy dose of Scand in me and the recipe has just the right amount of quirk (beef and booze = cannot lose) in it, I had to give it a try. It's a really simple recipe with a few household cooking ingredients and quite a bit of vodka combined into a marinade that doubles as a gravy.

The marinade itself was easy to make, but I think the next time I won't even bother with the gravy, because that was kind of a pain to make. Basically you mix a few crushed garlic cloves with thyme, and equal amounts of vodka and olive oil. The steak needs to marinate for a few hours, so I prepared it a day in advance.

This is one SHINY steak, isn't it? Smells really good with the garlic and oil, though.

Cooking the steak itself didn't go so well. The problem was that the steak was so huge that it just barely fit into the pan I was frying it in. This might not sound like a big deal, but when the steak began to cook, all the accumulated juice and marinade seeped out of the steak, which under normal circumstances would have been fine. Problem was, since the steak already took up all the real estate in the pan, the juices accumulated on top of the steak, so instead of frying, it was submerged in liquid and I wound up with a braised steak instead of a fried one. It still tasted great, but instead of tasting like a fried steak, it tasted more like a big, flat pot roast.

The gravy was delicious, if a bit salty. You could taste the faint bite of the vodka in it. To be honest, though, I preferred those boiled potatoes I made to go with it. Those were done just by scrubbing a few red potatoes (and I had a small yellow one I added as well), and boiling them in salted water until they were easily pierced with a fork. Then I drained the water out, leaving the potatoes in the pot, and threw in a big glob of butter and snipped some fresh dill in as well. When the butter was melted, I just popped the cover on the pot and gave it a good vigorous shake to coat the potatoes with the butter and dill.

I think I'm going to try this one again with a thicker cut of steak and cook it the way I like it - more seared, with a crispy brown exterior and a juicy rare inside. For now, this recipe is on probation.

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