Monday, January 9, 2017

good with the bad


For as fancy-steakhouse as tonight's dinner looks, it was truly an exercise in cleaning out the fridge.

The steak is from a well-intentioned plan for a steak (and roasted cauliflower!) riff on Caesar salad, but let's be real about how salad is not going to happen during Storm Watch 2017 here in used-to-be sunny Los Angeles.

The potatoes were left over from a lovely Prime Rib Dinner Party on Saturday. I tried taking a photo and posting then just to space out and not overload my posts with too many recipes, but as delicious as they are, there's really no good photo that can be taken of this potato-cheese lava.

And the Brussels sprouts? Beats me. They were in the crisper. I forget why I bought them. I think they were the oldest thing in there, though, so into the saute pan they went with some butter.

The steak was just okay. I halved both the sugar and the bourbon in the original recipe's marinade because so many of the comments complained about the results, and I think balance-wise, it made the most sense for my palate. It's flavorful enough considering how little time it takes to put together, but I'd go with a more aggressive flavor profile next time.

The potatoes, though, are the complete star. If mashed potatoes and fondue had a love child, it would be pommes aligot. There is an obscene ratio of cheese/cream-to-potatoes, and while it doesn't take much to fill you up, you also won't be able to stop. The biggest problem with adding this to the Thanksgiving menu is figuring out how much is enough to make for a large group, in light of folks' tendency to go for it on that special day.

Sugar Steak with Bourbon
slightly adapted from Food52
serves 2

1 1-lb. piece of flank steak
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. bourbon
salt and red pepper flakes to taste

1. Lightly cross-hatch both sides of the steak.

2. Rub each side of the steak with 1 T. brown sugar. Place the steak in a shallow dish, and pour the bourbon over. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, flipping the steak halfway through.

3. Heat the broiler and lay the steak on a cast-iron pan. Generously season the steak all over with salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Place the steak 4-6 inches under the broiler, and broil for 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Serve immediately.

Pommes Aligot
from Serious Eats
serves 8-10

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
8 T. butter
1 c. heavy cream
10 oz. mixed Alpine cheeses, grated (I used Swiss and Gruyere)
salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes and garlic with cold water by at least 2 inches. Add the rosemary. Season the water with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until a knife easily pierces potatoes with no resistance, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander; discard rosemary.

2. Return the potatoes to the saucepan with the butter and cream. Blend with an immersion blender until completely smooth.

3. Set the saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir and work the potatoes, lowering the heat to low if potatoes begin to sizzle and steam, until the potato mass feels thickened and sticky, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the grated cheese in small batches, stirring between each addition until cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Continue stirring potatoes until they become thick, silky, smooth, and elastic, about 3 minutes longer. The aligot should form long, stretchy strands when you lift it from the pot. Season with salt and serve immediately.

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