While waiting for my dinner to cook (just some spaghetti, pre-made alfredo sauce, and a frozen seafood mix from Trader Joe’s) I’d like to write about YESTERDAY’s dinner: filet mignon served with steamed fingerling potatoes tossed with leeks and goat cheese. To wash this down was a fair amount of the 2001 Arrowood “Le Beau Melange” Syrah from Sonoma Valley. Altogether, a great meal.
The impetus for this meal was a half-marathon Alex ran the previous day–the National Half-Marathon–as practice for the true full marathon he was planning on running in early May. He did very well, coming in I believe 74th out of hundreds if not thousands.
The wine was to help celebrate; the steak was to help him recuperate.
True to form, Alex and I had a bit of the Arrowood before dinner–it got us crunk. At 15% alcohol, this one was a heavy hitter. However, it didn’t taste hot, nor was it too big and bold for our tastes. It reminded me of one of my favorite wines–the Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine La Roquete. However, THAT wine, being from Southern France, was made primarily of grenache, while the Arrowood was composed of syrah. It felt more like a “French” wine–apparently, too, Le Beau Melange is Arrowood’s Rhone-style offering. It succeeds despite the higher alcohol content. Australian shiraz it ain’t.
Powerful it was. Dang. Only after about three or four ounces each our heads were spinning. We decided to table the rest till dinner.
Ah–dinner. I purchased some filet mignon from Trader Joe’s. What to make with it? Alex bought some leeks, and I had some fingerling potatoes. We had some goat cheese. Ah. Taking a recipe from Jose Andres (of Jaleo and Oyamel fame) which called for Spanish onions to be cut into slices and fried in vinegar, I decided to slice the leeks into round pieces, fry them in a bit of apple cider vinegar and then, when the vinegar steamed off, some olive oil. Then, I added the sliced steamed fingerlings, a bit of salt, and some crumbled goat cheese. This I used to top off the steaks. It was delicious–definitely something I’ll do again.
But the steaks! This is the important part. At home we cook our thicker steaks as such: first, a coating of pepper and salt, then a sear on both sides and the ends in a cast-iron skillet. We then put the steaks into a hot oven to finish ’em off.
There are so many ways to cook steaks, and everyone has their own preference. First, I marinated the steaks in olive oil, red wine, diced garlic, pepper, and–lacking thyme–some rosemary. I decided to buck family tradition and, per “America’s Test Kitchen,” do the exact opposite: I put the steaks in a 275-degree oven for 20-ish minutes. The internal temperature of the meat at the end of that period got to about 100 degrees. Then, I transferred the steaks to a HOT cast-iron skillet and let them sear. Time in the pan was total about 4 minutes.
I let the steaks rest a bit while I assembled the potatoes and leeks, and when everything was ready I topped off the steaks with a bit of salt and the potato/leek combination.
Quite delicious, if I might say so myself. The ATK method worked extremely well–the steaks were uniformly medium-rare on the inside and had a great char. The potatoes and leeks, with a bit of acidity from the vinegar and cheese, were a wonderful complement to the steaks.
And the Arrowood syrah? Amazing, and it didn’t hit us as hard (obviously) with the food. The steak brought out some pepper in the wine, Alex noted, and the wine seemed a bit rounder with the fat.
I will be replicating this meal in the future. The syrah, at $32.99, is a bit pricey for my tastes, but I think it’s absolutely worth it.
I end on a question: what is your favorite method of cooking a steak? And what do you like pairing with it?