We were back in our old neighborhood - Boston's South End - on Saturday afternoon to see Sam the Barber at Blade Barber Shop (I just can't get the haircut I want in our new neighborhood!). We had a little time to kill after the haircut so we wandered into Lionette's Gourmet Shop on Tremont Street to inspect the meat case. Salivating over the thought of a steak on the grill, I asked if they had any aged beef. Sure enough, the grass-fed Vermont beef was all aged five months. The proprietor suggested a New York Strip steak and I had him cut me a large one-pound-plus cut of the wonderfully marbled beef. At $19/lb, this is a special occasion purchase for us - but what better occasion than the birth of our nation?
I wanted to get this right so I did a little research and focused on this article from the New York Metro that included input from the Executive Chef at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in NYC. Seems like a good source to me! He described an easy, but new (to us) method that involved dipping the steak in a mixture of 1/2 clarified butter and 1/2 oil, then covering liberally with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. According to the chef, the oil and butter and salt and pepper coating hitting high heat will form a nice crust - achieving that desired crusty outside, buttery-textured inside when medium-rare. Brilliant!
So we clarified a stick up butter - simply heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat. When it completely melts, you'll see the milk solids sink to the bottom leaving the clear butter at the top. Skim away the few white floaties at the top, then pour the clear butter off. Let that cool a little and then combine with an equal part oil (we used olive oil). Dip your room temperature steak in this mixture and allow as much excess drip off as possible. Then liberally coat each side with kosher salt and black pepper. As the chef says: "You can't have too much salt on a steak," says Walzog. "It makes a great crust."
That steak went on a searingly hot grill for 6 minutes, then flipped and went 4 minutes more. We had some sweet potato wedges grilling happily for 15 minutes over the lower burner in the back and when we pulled the steak off, we threw on some pre-par-boiled (about 3 minutes) asparagus spears and grilled them up for 5 minutes. Both sweet potatoes and asparagus had a thin coat of olive oil and salt and pepper.
The steak was delicious - it did, literally, melt in your mouth. The crust was perfect and the inside was very tender, but maybe on the grill 1-2 minutes too long. Next time we pull it off one minute earlier on both sides. Other than that, perfect.
Check out Lionette's if in the South End... bring your wallet! They had all-local pork and chicken (fresh every Thursday), sausages, steaks, etc... plus salads and spices and marinades and rubs...