I have a little story for you today: Once upon a time, on a gorgeous New Jersey summer evening, there was a little redhead, about two years old, playing outside while her Dad and her SUE! tinkered around in the flower beds and vegetable garden. All of a sudden, the little redhead was gone. Her parents started calling her name, looking (with increasing urgency) on the porch, along the length of the yard, in the bushes… but they could not find the her anywhere. As you can imagine, they started to worry a little: a farm has plenty of places where a 2-year old can get into some serious trouble, and this was one exceptionally cute redhead.
After exhausting all the hiding spots in close proximity, the Dad calls over to the SUE!, “I’m going to go check in the barn!” And with that, a small voice calls out “Wait for me, Daddy!” and the little redhead pops out of the dog house and starts frantically running after him as fast as her little two-year old legs could go. As much as I’m sure the Dad wanted to choke the little redhead for sitting inside the dog house (probably giggling) while her parents ran around like idiots looking for her, she was just too cute to be mad at. So he scooped her up and took her to the barn to look for kittens. Later that night after after he tucked her into bed and kissed her on the cheek, he gave the dog away and boarded up the old dog house until she was too big to fit into it. And they lived happily ever after. The End.
So my Dad didn’t actually get rid of the dog and board up the dog house, but the rest is true. And it’s a fact of life – sometimes we all find ourselves in the dog house. Perhaps I’m one of the few to literally climb into an actual dog’s house, but we’ve all made mistakes and have been banished to the proverbial hall of shame. When you do, you need a trick up your sleeve to get out – STAT. And I’ve found that if you happen to be in trouble with a significant other who happens to be a guy, there’s no better remedy than a delicious dinner. I tend to try out these home-run dinners in advance so I’ll have them perfected for the next time I’m in a pickle.
If you happen to find yourself limping around with your tail in between your legs, might I suggest this recipe to fix it. It’s actually not even a dish – it’s just a steak with some butter on it. But let me tell you, this butter is DY-NO-MITE. Literally – it is such an intense kick of flavor that it explodes on your taste buds.
(Side note: you may be a little taken aback by the thought of slathering a big, rich steak with butter. Yes, it is a bit indulgent and I’m not suggesting that you eat this regularly, but it’s the secret ingredient that makes those fancy steakhouse steaks sooo good – every restaurant does it. And let’s be frank here, you’re in some hot water, and I’m pulling out all the stops to help you. Your arteries just might have to take one for the team.)
First, buy a nice piece of steak. Talk to the butcher at the grocery store and ask him what looks good. Let me tell you – butchers love to talk to customers. Can you blame them? They’re cutting up carcasses all day. I’d recommend a cut of steak that tastes like steak – such as strip or flank, instead of something milder like a tenderloin. You can use whatever preparation you like to cook your steak – pan roast, grill, broil, and while it’s resting you can whip up this accoutrement in a matter of minutes. The flavor profile is equal parts salt, garlic, and rich cream, and it balances a thick meaty steak wonderfully. Though I’d image it would be equally lip-smacking on a baked potato, crusty piece of bread, fish, or chicken breast.
Don’t be scared off by the anchovies – the ingredient translates into a briny, sea-salty flavor, not a fishy one. The butter concoction will hold in the fridge for a few days, and would probably freeze nicely, molded into a log and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Serve your steak with a baked potato (slathered with the butter, of course) and a nice side salad or green vegetable and you will find yourself back in good graces by the end of the meal. Just don’t push your luck and ask him to do the dishes. Enjoy!
Steak with Anchovy Garlic Butter
Click here to print this recipe.
From: Gourmet Magazine, November 2006
Time to prepare: 30 minutes
2 garlic cloves
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 6-8 anchovy filets (or enough to yield 1 tablespoon when creamed)
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 1-inch thick boneless beef strip steaks (each about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Drag the edge of the knife along the mashed garlic until it resembles a paste. Repeat with the anchovy filets if using instead of paste.
Mash together butter, anchovy paste, lemon juice, garlic paste, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined. Stir in parsley.
Pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot by not smoking. Saute steaks one at a time, turning once, about 8 minutes total for medium-rare.
Transfer steaks to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Top steaks with a dollop of anchovy butter and slice.