Well, I suppose the happiest steak would be the one on a still breathing cow? But then I’d be unhappy, because I wouldn’t have had this awesome dinner. And I’m pretty sure my feelings trump the feelings of a farm animal. Also, vegans/vegetarians/etc, don’t hate. I love animals, I really do. I just love me some red meat as well.
But before we get to the goods, let’s have a Food Shenanigans moment of cooking safety. You see this plate? This is what happens when you put a styrofoam plate on a still hot burner. You probably shouldn’t do that. And if you do unthinkingly follow my poor example, you might want to hide it in the trash better than I did, so that maybe your husband [or wife] won’t find it. Of course, the burnt bits of styrofoam on the stove probably would have given me away eventually.
ANYWAY. On to the cooking. I had the best of intentions in following recipes for this dinner, but ended up just doing a mish-mash of the various recipes I had read.
First, I got the onions going, since they were going to take the longest. My goal had been to do an onion jam as a topping for the filet, but I couldn’t wait that long. So we ended up with delicious balsamic caramelized onions that were just short of the time and effort involved in becoming a jam. I sliced one vidalia onion and added it to a pan with 1 tablespoon of salted butter. They cooked over a low heat for about 20 minutes until they were a nice even brown, and then I added a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Then they continued to cook another 20 minutes or so, basically right until the steak was ready to be served.
Next, I halved and then parboiled a package of brussels sprouts and in another pan started cooking 4 ounces of diced pancetta. After about three or four minutes, I removed the brussels sprouts from the water and drained them. The pancetta was likewise removed from the pan, and put on a plate to crisp up. At this point, the sprouts go in with the pancetta fat and a tablespoon of salted butter for good measure. The sprouts were cooked until they were nicely browned and starting to caramelize, and then the pancetta went back into the pan along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
The best part of the meal, in a cruel twist of fate, was the easiest one to cook. I oiled the two steaks, put some Montreal steak seasoning on them, and then slapped them into the cast iron pan. They cooked about four minutes on each side, so my pan definitely wasn’t hot enough [I still need to experiment with it more], but I had my trusty meat thermometer out and cooked it to 120 degrees and then let it rest until it came up to 125.
Everything came out really well, and I was happy to have finally cooked a steak perfectly; I almost always ended up cooking it to more of a medium, than a medium rare, and it makes me sad. But not anymore! Now, I shall always have perfectly cooked meats. Also, because I’m a jerk, I sent this picture to co-workers last week to taunt them with its awesomeness:
Also, another indicator that the dinner came out really well? It’s husband approved! [He's eating noodles that I made for him along with everything else that are not posted because they're from a boxed mix.] Aww, isn’t he precious?