Friday, May 7, 2010

New York Strip Steaks with Mushroom Sauce and Cornmeal-Crusted Onion Rings

        Friday night has been Steak night at our house for a long time. New York Strip is right up there with our favorites.  It’s easy to cook on the stove top and the chewier texture of the steak appeals to the meat-eater extinct.  You can be a purist and simply salt and pepper the steak vigorously, put it into a very hot pan with a tablespoon of peanut oil and one of butter and you’ve got a beautiful steak in about 8 minutes.  But occasionally we like to try it with a sauce to give it another dimension.  This mushroom sauce is both easy and delicious, a take on one we say Tyler Florence making on Tyler’s Ultimate, his terrific show on Food Network. And along with it, nothing goes better than Ina Garten’s Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings and some simple sautéed spinach.  So on to the recipes.

        You should start the Onion Rings first.  They need a minimum of 15 minutes in their buttermilk marinade and can actually stay in it for several hours.   Once cooked, they will keep in the oven for 30 minutes which is more than enough time to cook the steak and mushroom sauce. 

Recipe for Ina Garten’s Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings

1 large Spanish onion
    2 cups buttermilk             
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
Vegetable oil

  1. Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  3. When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  4. Heat about two inches of oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot will help you maintain the proper temperature.) Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the cornmeal and  flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. 
  5. Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remain crisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Recipe for New York Strip Steak with Mushroom Sauce

2 New York Strip steaks about 1 ½ inch thick.
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Peanut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb of wild mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and stemmed, half chopped and half left whole
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ cup of Brandy
½ cup heavy cream

  1. Heat the butter and peanut oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until they smoke.  Generously salt and pepper steaks on both sides.  Put the steaks in the pan and cook, turning to brown all sides completely until medium rare – about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks.  Remove the steaks to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm while cooking the sauce.
  2. Put the sauté pan back over medium high heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil.  When the oil is smoking, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Then add the thyme leaves and the chopped garlic seasoning well with salt and pepper.  Toss a few more times to cook the garlic then remove the mushrooms to a platter. 
  3. Take the pan off the heat and add the brandy cooking it until it is almost evaporated.  Add the cream and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until it is reduced by about one half and thickened.  Return the mushrooms to the pan with whatever juices have accumulated on the platter and simmer the sauce for about two minutes until thickened again.  Test for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  
  4. Cover the pan, turn heat to low. 
  5. If you are making the spinach, sauté it now in a little butter and oil.
  6. When ready to serve, slice the steak thinly against the grain.  Top with mushroom sauce and serve.

Serves 2. The entire dinner can easily be doubled or tripled for 4 to 6 people.  Serve with a big Cabernet like Paso Creek 2006 (about $15.00 btl.)