Friday, February 10, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Surf, Turf, and Other Stuff

Surf and turf can take many forms, but it's usually some kind of steak along with seafood. But that's not enough for dinner. You need a side dish, too, right? That's the "other stuff" in the title of this post.

I tried to come up with a clever play on the surf-turf name and came up with nothing useful. After all, vegetables are more "turf" than beef is. Surf and turf and dirt? Nah, that doesn't work.

In summer, I'd be most likely to grill a steak. I could have used a grill pan, but cooking steak in a cast iron pan is great, too. You get a nice brown crust on the meat which adds flavor and texture.

A good steak doesn't need much embellishment - salt and pepper is plenty. After that, it's all about technique. And, of course, having a good steak.

The first time I ever had a flatiron steak, it was shortly after I moved to Colorado. I thought it might be a regional cut, named after the Flatirons. But no, it's simply a cut that coincidentally become popular shortly after I moved here.

Flatiron steaks are pretty tender to begin with, but I see nothing wrong with treating the steak in a way that makes it even more tender. If you can, then why not?

Part of what makes this preparation seem more tender is the thin slices. Those thin slices also become a easy method of portion control. Give someone a big chunk of meat, and chances are that they'll eat most or all of it. Present slices, and folks will take less and eat less.

The "surf" portion of this meal is shrimp, cooked simply, shell-on. It's a messy hands-on item that you can serve as an appetizer, or right along with the steak, Even better, you can serve the shrimp hot, warm, or chilled - your choice.

And last, the vegetables. That post will be up next.

Want to know about Whole Foods Friday? Check out the tab at the top.

Cast Iron Flat Iron Steak

1 flatiron steak
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Several generous grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon oil, for cooking

About an hour before cooking, remove the meat for the refrigerator and salt and pepper both sides.

When you're ready to cook, heat a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Add the oil and let it heat until it's just barely smoking. Add the meat. Let it cook without poking, prodding, or turning it until the meat releases from the pan on its own and the meat is nicely browned.

Turn the meat over and cook on the second side until browned. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked to your liking.

Remove the meat from the pan and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing it into thin strips for serving.

Shrimp and Sherry

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound medium or large shell-on shrimp
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter and oil in a saute pan until the butter melts. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is almost cooked through.

Add the lemon juice and sherry along with salt an pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is almost gone.

Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.