Posts Tagged ‘Olive oil’

It’s a spring thing

March 23, 2013

It's a spring thing

The local fish monger had shad fillets and roe sets today. Just what I wanted for dinner.

I melted a couple of tablespoons of sweet butter in a large skillet with an equal amount of olive oil. When it got hot, I placed the shad fillet in the skillet skin side down. I had already salted and peppered the fillet.

I spooned some of the butter/oil over the top of the fillet and, after two minutes on the stove top, I placed the skillet in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven.

For the roe set, I had soaked them for an hour or so in some cool water with a hit of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then I rinsed the set and patted it dry.

I gently separated the sacks and dusted them with some flour seasoned with white pepper and salt.

I heated up some bacon fat in small skillet over medium low heat and placed the roe set into the fat.

Meanwhile, I pulled the pan with the fillet out of the over and set it back on the stove top over medium heat. I let it cook for a couple of minutes and then poured in about 3 ounces of white wine. Turning the flame up to medium high, I let the wine reduce by half. Then I added a couple more tablespoons of butter and a few ounces of heavy cream. I removed the fish to a plate and kept it warm while continuing to sitr and reduce the wine/butter/cream mixture.

The roe set I turned over just as it was crisping up…about three minutes. I let the roe continue to cook for another three minutes or so and then removed from the heat.

As the sauce thickened, I added some finely chopped parsely, tasted for seasoning and salted and peppered as needed.

I napped the fillet with the sauce and sprinkled on more chopped parsely.

The roe set I placed on the side of the plate with the fillet. I had a small sprig of bronze fennel I got out of the garden that I minced up and sprinkled over the top of the roe.

As an accompaniment, I sauteed some oyster mushrooms and put them on the plate as well.

Spring had sprung!

Crawfish Monica

February 8, 2013
Crawfish Monica with sweet pepper garnish

Crawfish Monica with sweet pepper garnish

If you know me, you know that Thursday is “pasta night.”  There is little variation from that. It was the way it was as I was coming up and it is the way I prefer it now.

Unfortunately, every 1st and 3rd Thursday is also city council night. As such, I am often attending the meeting, which starts at 5;30 pm, and that throws dinner off schedule.

Last night, cold, damp, grey, was a council night. And a pasta night.

It was also the Thursday before Mardi Gras and just a few days after the Superbowl played in the Superdome, so I was especially attuned to New Orleans food inspirations.

In discussing dinner early in the day, I teasingly tossed out the idea of having Crawfish Monica for dinner. While we had everything we needed on hand (including the crawfish tailmeat), the evening’s schedule wasn’t condusive to an involved dinner prep.

We decided that pasta e fagioli would pass muster for Thursday night’s dinner. It could be slow simmered sans pasta until I was on my way home from city hall.

But the crawfish monica stuck in my mind.

With the threatened Snow-easter scheduled to come in overnight, we were prepared to batten down the hatches, have an adult beverage or two, build a fire and enjoy a relaxing dinner.

Crawfish Monica seemed to fit the bill.

It’s a rich dish. Fortunately, it is also satisfying so you don’t need to consume tons.

The dish screams NOLA! It is comforting and slightly decadent.  And it let afforded me the opportunity to have pasta two nights in a row.

Here’s a version of the dish from Emeril Lagasse and found on the Go Nola website.

Crawfish Monica

  • 1 pound linguine or fettucine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pound crawfish tails*
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the pot and toss with the olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm.

In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Essence, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook over high heat until nearly all evaporated. Add the cream lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced. Add the crawfish tails and cook, stirring, to warm through. Add the onions and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce. Cook until the pasta is warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Turn out into a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Serves 6 – 8

*What? You don’t have crawfish tailmeat in the freezer? Why not? Check the frozen seafood section of your favorite supermarket or fish monger. You can order it online from Cajun Grocer. I know, it is not cheap. Splurge and get a couple of pounds to keep in the freezer. You never know when you might want to make some crawfish etoufee or crawfish cheesebread (a recipe I’ll get around to posting someday).  And if you can’t find the crawfish tailmeat or don’t want to order it, use the small “salad” shrimp that are readily available in the grocery store.

Just remember to rename the dish, SHRIMP Monica.

A journey to discover a great snack

November 12, 2012

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

NOTE: Recipe edited to reduce the amount of oil used.

This one was tricky.

On our trip to Italy in 2011, we spend time in the Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast. The Cinque Terre, (literally, the five lands) are five villages situated among vineyards and olive groves that line the rocky slopes above the Ligurian Sea, a branch of the Mediterranean Sea.

On the day we hiked from Corniglia (the middle village, high up on a bluff over the sea) back to Monterosso, we stopped for rest and lunch in Vernazza. Just before leaving town for the next segment of our hike, I stopped into a pizzeria that advertised the local specialty, farinata.

Sold by the slice, in small shops, farinata is a large pancake made from ceci (chick pea) flour, water, salt and olive oil, baked in special pans in wood fired ovens. It’s also known as socca (France), cecina (Tuscany), or fainâ (Genoa). Most often eaten by hand, farinata is sometimes served as the filling for a sandwich or on top of a slice of traditional pizza. We like it just fine straight from the oven and a couple of pieces can be quite filling. Farinata is high in protein, but gluten free. It lends itself to doctoring up with toppings or, my preferred, just eaten plain.

Good stuff!

A slice of rosemary infused farinata

This past summer, I embarked upon a quest to make my own farinata. Turning to the internet, I found numerous recipes and several videos suggesting ways to prepare this dish. About the only thing they all had in common was the basic ingredients. After that, everyone had a different take on the best way to make it.The first problem for me was, what to make it in. In Italy, farinata is baked in circular pans made of tinned copper. Some recipes suggested using cast iron skillets, some said try a rimmed cookie sheet. My first attempt was made in an aluminum pizza pan that we had on hand. It was a little too shallow to hold the thin batter without making a mess. I remembered that we had an enameled paella pan and tried that. Better. Much better.

The next obstacle seemed to be the cooking procedure. I immediately discarded the notion of doing it on the stove top, even partially, as in some recipes and one of the videos I had found. Baking was the way to go, but at what temp?

I tried high heat, but that didn’t seem to work. The farinata got a nice top and bottom crust but was either under cooked in the middle or crispy through. Trial and error led me to a process that seems to work for my pan, oven and patience. You may have to play around a bit to find what works for you, but it will be worth it.

Farinata

  • 600 ml of water (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
  • 200 grams of ceci flour (approximately 1 2/3 cups)  NOTE: make as much batter as is needed, just keep the 3 parts water to 1 part flour ratio
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh rosemary (or sage, or a combination) to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus enough oil to just coat the pan you cook the farinata in (up to another 1/4 cup) oil for the pan (use a good quality oil as it lends quite a bit of the character to the finished dish)

Mix the ceci (garbonzo bean) flour into water with a whisk. Let stand at room temperature for at least three hours or over night.

Pre-heat oven (with pizza stone, if you have it) to 475. Place the empty pan on the stone in oven so it can heat up while finishing the batter prep.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the foam from the top of the mixture. Stir chopped rosemary, salt, fresh ground black pepper, olive oil into batter. Mix well.

Add enough olive oil to pan to cover the bottom, swirl to coat evenly. Return the oiled pan to the overn and let it heat for just one minute.

Stir batter very well one more time, pour into hot, oiled pan. Immediately reduce heat to 350 and bake for 20- 25 minutes, turning pan once or twice for even cooking. Top should just be turning golden.

Kick on the broiler (high) and broil until top is a deep golden brown (turning once or twice to make sure it cooks evenly).

After about 7 – 10 minutes, removed from oven and sat on rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Gently loosen edges and bottom of farinata. Remove from pan and serve.

This will make a 12 inch diameter farinata that is a nice snack for four to six people. Served with a small salad, it could make a nice light meal.

Mushrooms and Peppers

August 23, 2012

One summer night we were dining at the late, lamented Cesare’s Cafe here in Trenton.

We’d placed our order and were relaxing with our drinks and enjoying small talk when, out of the kitchen, came Cesare himself. He was carrying a sizzling platter of sauteed mushrooms and hot peppers. “From the garden!” He said, as he placed the platter on our table.

Every table in the dining room got one of those platters that night. That’s the way Cesare was. It was that touch of “home.” Like having dinner at your grandparents house in the ‘Burg. It’s what made the place a favorite and why we miss is it so.

I’m a huge fan of mushrooms. And peppers. Especially hot peppers. The idea of cooking them up together is not foreign to me. They make a nice side/topping for a sizzling steak or some roasted chicken.

Served on their own, with some bread for dipping into the flavor infused olive oil….! What better way to start a meal?

Cesare’s, unfortunately, is long gone. You can find this dish on the menu at Rossi‘s…perhaps the “old ‘Burg’s” remaining hold out.

Or you can make it at home.

Right now, while the local peppers are in abundance in backyard gardens and farmers’ markets, is the time to do it.

So simple. So good.

Mushrooms and Peppers

  • 10 ounce package of fresh mushrooms, preferably brown (crimini, baby bellas) but white will do. Wipe them clean but leave whole, only removing the hardest ends of the stems.
  • 4 to 8 fresh, locally grown hot peppers (pick your favorite or go with what is available from your garden or the market), cut into 1 inch pieces or left whole; stemmed; seeded if you want/need to control the heat.
  • 4 cloves of garlic. Three peeled and whole, one peeled and minced.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for “drizzling” if needed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • several slices of good bread for dipping and sopping.

In a 10 inch skillet, warm the 1/2 cup of olive oil and whole cloves of garlic over medium/medium-high heat. Let the garlic color (and flavor the oil) but do not let it burn!  (about 5 minutes)

Remove the garlic and add the peppers. If the peppers are of medium to thin walled (banana or cayenne types), cook for two minutes. If thicker, cook just until they start to color and soften.

Add the minced garlic.

Add the mushrooms and stir. Sprinkle lightly with salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Stir to mix well.

Cook until mushrooms and peppers have softened but don’t let them become mush (3 to 4 minutes). Stir as needed.

Remove from heat, place in platter to serve. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if needed.

Serve with bread for sopping.

Serves 2 as an appetizer, 1 as a light lunch.

Spaghetti with crabs

March 29, 2012

Spaghetti con i granchi

I admit it. It doesn’t take much to plant an idea in my head. Sometimes this is a good thing; sometimes not.

When a friend reported that a local fishmonger had blue claw crabs in, I didn’t give it much thought. Instead, I started thinking ahead to when the softshells become available.  Then the friend lightly chastised for passing up the seasonal pleasure of blue crabs and I redirected my thoughts.  “What about spaghetti with crabs?”

So, off to the market I went to fetch four nice “jimmies” (male crabs) to toss into the sauce for tonight’s pasta.

Spaghetti with crabs

(spaghetti con i granchi)

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbs chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 28 ounce can of crushed, italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 live blue crabs
  • 1 pound thick spaghetti
  • optional any fresh or dried herbs you like in your “gravy” (oregano, basil, thyme)

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and stir until it just starts to show some color (1 to 2 minutes). Add red pepper flakes and stir. Add tomatoes and parsley. Rinse tomato can with white wine and add wine to pot. Stir and let come to a simmer. Toss the crabs into the sauce, stir, gently and let the pot come to a boil. Reduce heat and let sauce sit at a slow simmer until the crabs turn red (30 – 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, salt it and cook the pasta per package instructions so it is al dente and ready to go when the sauce is ready.

Pull the crabs from the sauce and set aside in a bowl. Cover to keep warm.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce pot. Toss. Serve. (Note: as a rule, Italian do NOT use grated cheese with seafood pastas. Try some fresh ground black pepper instead).

The crabs can be picked of their meat as a second course.

Serve with a salad, some bread and more wine and you’ve got a nice meal for four.

Fegato alla Veneziana

November 2, 2011

Everything sounds and tastes better in Italian.

Take for instance, liver and onions.

When we were kids, we knew when we would be served one of our occasional meals of liver and onions.  The aroma of bacon frying followed immediately by the smell of cooking onions would tip us off to a dinner of dry, mealy, strong flavored liver.

Dad liked it. None of the rest of us did, but if that was what Mom cooked that night, that was what we ate.

So what was it that tempted me to order Fegato alla Veneziana on our first night in Venice?

We had wandered around trying to get oriented and it was time to settle down and have dinner. The restaurant we chose had a three-course prix fix meal option, so we took our seats at a table in the little garden in the rear and perused our menu choices.

Nero di seppie (cuttlefish in squid ink sauce with pasta),  was my starter.  Liver and onions was my second course.  I knew that this was considered a regional specialty and it came served with polenta so just how bad could it be.

I was not disappointed.

The dish came out, thin slices of slightly pink liver, golden brown, aromatic onions and a nice serving of soft polenta.  I couldn’t wait to dig in and was rewarded with nothing like my mother’s liver and onions (no offense, Mom).  The liver was moist and tender; not at all like I was used to growing up. The sweet, soft onions smoothed out the flavor (liver and onions have a natural affinity…think about a liverwurst sandwich with a thick slice of raw onion).  The polenta provided its own creamy, sweet corn taste to the dish. Excellent!

I’m not going to say I will be serving or eating fried liver regularly, but I can definitely say this is a simple and easy way to prepare what is actually a nourishing dish.

Fegato alla Venenziana

Liver and onions Venetian style

  • ½-pound fresh calf’s liver, trimmed of all skin, membrane and veins. Sliced ¼ inch thick and no more than two inches long.
  • 2 cups onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tbs of olive oil
  • 2 tbs of sweet butter, divided
  • 1 cup of polenta (corn meal)
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large skillet over medium low flame, melt two tablespoons of the butter into the olive oil. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring as needed until soft and medium brown; about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water to boil in saucepan. Salt the water and slowly add the corn meal while whisking it in to avoid lumps. When all the corn meal has been added, continue to stir until the porridge is bubbling. Turn down heat so that it is at an active simmer but not a boil. Cover. After 10 minutes, stir vigorously for two minutes. Cover and keep an eye on it. Polenta is done when it pulls from the sides of the pan.

When the onions have browned and softened, remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Raise the heat and add the liver pieces, making sure NOT to crowd the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Sear and flip over.  Turn the heat down and add back the onions. Cut the heat under the pan and stir to mix the liver and onions.  The liver should be cooked through, but still a little pink (not gray).

If your timing is right, the polenta should just be done. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and some grated pecorino Romano. Season with some fresh ground black pepper.

To plate, spoon some polenta onto a warm plate, add half of the liver and half of the onions. Repeat with a second plate, the remaining liver and the rest of the onions.

Serves 2

Try it, you might like it!

Sugo alle melanzane

October 6, 2011

It was one of those days around here.

I was out all day with a tour group and didn’t get home until just in time to walk the dogs. The wife is under the weather and a little stressed about the new job. It’s Thursday night…which is pasta night around here. What to have that is satisfying but not just everyday sauce.

Then the aha! moment.

I’d acquired two smallish eggplants as payment for a favor.  Why not an eggplant/tomato sauce for the pasta?

A couple of years ago we had discovered an imported, jarred sauce that included eggplant. It was just different enough from the everyday, familiar sauces and we were fond of it.

Using that thought for inspiration, here’s what I did:

Sugo alle melanzane (Eggpant Sauce)

I washed the eggplants and then cut them into a rough dice (I was rushed. A little more time and a nice quarter inch dice would be perfect).  NOTE: I did not peel the eggplant; nor did I salt them and leave them to “weep”.  They were smallish and young and not bitter at all.

In a large skillet, I heated up some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When it started to shimmer, I threw in the cut-up eggplant and tossed it around.  I gave the eggplant a generous sprinkle of salt and cracked pepper.

After about two minutes, I added the garlic which I had chopped.  I also tossed in a healthy pinch of dried red pepper flakes.

A quick stir or two and then I added the tomatoes. (When using canned whole plum tomatoes, crush them with your hands first so they are broken up). Stir.  Keep a watch, stir or toss frequently to keep at a low simmer.

In the pot of boiling, salted water toss in a pound of pasta (we used penne). Cook until just al dente.  About half way through the cooking time for the pasta, add half of the fresh basil, minced to the sauce. When the pasta is done, mix a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water into the skillet with the sauce.  Drain the pasta. Toss with the sauce. Add the remainder of the basil.

Serves 4 – 6

We’re back

October 2, 2011

It has been a busy stretch for us and I have neglected this blog.  Hopefully, you haven’t gone hungry waiting for tidbits and teasers from me.

One of the “distractions” of the past few months was our recent trip to Venice, the Cinque Terre and Milan. Obviously, we ate.  We ate well.  There will be reports about that later.

Tonight, I noticed a number of notes on Facebook from friends describing their various Sunday night dinners.  Although varied, they had in common a turn towards cool weather foods.

Our own meal this evening was what I would consider “transitional” between the summer and fall seasons.

Tonight, we had homemade fettucine in a burro oro e salvia (butter and sage) sauce, chicken breasts with fresh herbs and salad and pecan pie for dessert.

The cool weather inspired Ann to make the pasta.  With an abundance of herbs in the garden, why not use them in the sauce.  Butter and sage, while good anytime of year are rich and savory and comforting enough on a damp, chilly night.  The Rosemary and oregano were begging to be used as well, and what better way to flavor the chicken breasts.

We chopped the herbs and mixed them with salt, black pepper and olive oil.  The mix was then placed into a plastic bag with the boneless,  chicken breasts and left to marinate for an hour or so before being cooked over medium heat in a frying pan and a little more olive oil.

For the burro oro e salvia, I took about 5 tablespoons of sweet butter and melted it in a small pan over medium heat.  When the butter was completely melted and the foaming subsided, let it go a couple of minutes until it picks up a golden color. Toss in 6 to 8 leaves of fresh sage and remove from heat.

At about the time we put sage in the butter, we placed our fresh pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water.  The pasta  should be done shortly after the water has returned to a boil and the fettucine has risen to the top.  Drain, toss with the sage butter and serve.

Sunday, season bridging dinner. Homemade, part home-grown; comforting; quick.

Chopped?

July 31, 2011

The real life application of the “reality television” conceit.

Years ago…before there was The Food Network; before “reality TV” took over the networks, broadcast and cable, there was real life.

Years ago, I found myself home alone on a Saturday night. The wife was away for the weekend visiting with her parents at their then full-time residence in Pennsylvania‘s Poconos (Note: “the Poconos” are often referred to as mountains but, in truth, they are just a time-worn and eroded plateau.  Or so my geologic-oriented friends tell me). As dinner time came, I started rummaging around in the kitchen and pantry to find something to prepare for my evening meal.  The result of my in-house foraging was a smoked oyster risotto.  But that is a story for another day.

Today’s installment is about a similar situation but with just a little more planning and that includes using what was on hand with one quick trip to the market.

My in laws have long since relocated to the far reaches of Montgomery County, PA.  It’s about an hour’s drive from our home in Trenton.  They’ve been dealing with some health issues and my wife went out today to stay with them for about a week.  Thinking about dinner tonight, I decided to grab some sort of seafood…a lovely 3/4 pound tuna steak.

After yesterday’s trip to the local farmers’ market I had on hand at the house some Jersey peaches, moderately hot banana peppers, tomatoes and a very interesting spanish spice mix called “pinchito” seasoning.  There was also a handful of locally grown romano beans.

This put me in mind of a meal I had on one of our trips to the Florida Keys…a kingfish steak with a mango/habanero salsa.

I fired up the grill and took one of the peaches, cut it in half and removed the pit. I washed off one of the banana peppers. Once the grill was hot, I put the peach halves…flesh side down, and the chile on the grill.

In the meantime, I rinsed the tuna steak and dried it then dusted it with some pinchitos seasoning that I bought from La Tienda.  Both sides.

When I could smell the peach caramelizing, I flipped it over.  I also turned the pepper so it would char all over. While they roasted, I diced up a tomato and tossed it into a bowl.

Once the skin of the peach was charred and the pepper roasted, I took them off the grill and put my cast iron skillet on to heat.

I skinned the peach halves and rough chopped them.  The pepper I skinned and removed the top, seeds and membranes.  That also got chopped and tossed into the bowl with the peach, tomato and a splash of “juice” left over from a container of salsa from the mexican stall at the market.  Stir and let sit.

Now the pan was smoking hot.  I added a little olive oil and then,, once the oil was hot,  laid the tuna into the pan.  Two minutes a side and dinner was ready.

I plated up the tuna steak, topped it with some of the salsa and added the beans which I had prepared earlier (boiled in salted water for 4 minutes, drained tossed with salt, pepper and peperoncino and a drizzle of garlic/rosemary infused olive oil then placed in the fridge to chill).

The wine cellar is a little light on whites right now, but I had this bottle of Nissely Classic White (2008) from a wine tour of Lancaster County we had taken last year.  Dinner was served.

It filled the belly and brought some contentment even though my beloved spouse was gone on the eve of our 24th wedding anniversary.

For Dad

June 18, 2011

WARNING: If you are not into consuming meat, you probably don’t want to read this.

38 ounce Porterhouse with garlic/rosemary smashed potatoes

Steak was arguably my father’s favorite food. Dad was enamored of those steakhouses that used to dot Manhattan where they charbroiled the meat to order in the front window.  The meals were relatively inexpensive and the meat pretty good.

As far back as I can remember we managed to have steak on the table at least once each week.  In the winter, my father would cook them under the broiler of the oven.  In the summer it was charcoal grill all the way.

When home gas grills first became available, Dad bought one that ran on natural gas rather than LPG and ran a line out to it. No more smoking up the kitchen, he could “grill” a steak year round.

I’m fond of steak, too, but not on a weekly basis. In fact, I can go a couple or three months between servings of “big meat” but when the craving hits, nothing else will do.

After returning from an extended trip to Italy, a friend recently noted her regret at not having tried the famed ‘bistecca alla fiorentina”: a porterhouse cut of the famously tender and flavorful Chianina beef indigenous to Tuscany.

That comment flashed me back to our experience with that wonderful steak served up from a wood fired grill in a restaurant in the little mountain village about 25 miles northwest of Florence. Four of us had put in a long hard day of being tourists and stopped at the restaurant on our way to our apartment on a nearby farm.  Two immense slabs of beef, a simple salad and, of course, some local red wine were just what we needed. 

The memory planted a seed.  I knew I’d be visiting Pat’s Market in Lincroft after a charity bicycling event at Brookdale Community College.  Pat’s is an Italian deli and honest to goodness butcher shop that serves up some mean sandwiches and hosts a meat counter full of tempting slabs of beef and pork.

I ordered my sandwich and then studied the meat case so I’d be ready for the inevitable question “Would you like something else?”

Down in the front of the case, at the head of a row of gorgeous porterhouses was a steak with a nice sized filet portion as well as the sirloin.  That and a filet mignon for Ann completed the order.

Sunday, after the Thunder game, I fired up the grill and cooked up the steaks.  Ann’s 8 ounce filet was a lovely size.  My 38 ounce monster by rights, should have fed two people (or more) but I allowed myself to indulge since I’d put in 25 miles on the bike for a charitable cause the day before. A salad, some garlic/rosemary smashed potatoes and a bottle of Brunello.  What more could anyone want?

So treat your Dad this year (and the rest of the family) and grill up a large, thick porterhouse. If he’s a real carnivore, he may be up to eating one whole steak himself.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Porterhouse Florence-style)

  •  Porterhouse steak, dry aged if possible, a minimum of 1 to 1½ inches thick
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional

Pre-heat your grill or ignite your charcoal.  You will want a very hot area on one part of your grill and a cooler area on the other.  Bring steak to room temperature.

Lightly salt, but liberally pepper one side of the meat.  When grill is ready, place steak, seasoned side down over hottest part of grill.  After three minutes, season the top side and then flip it. Cook another three minutes.

Depending upon your preferred degree of doneness and the thickness of the steak, your meat may be ready if you like it rare.  If it is exceptionally thick or large, move it to the cooler side of the grill and cook to desired doneness, flipping once more if need be.

The object here is to have a nicely seared exterior but a juicy (and, in my case red) interior.

Remove from grill, rub each side with the cut garlic and drizzle a little very good olive oil and/or lemon juice over the meat and serve. For presentation, the meat can be cut from the bone and neatly parsed in to ¼ inch slices for easier serving.  Serves one hearty beef eater or two to three regular folks.