Driving home from the North Shore I hit the butcher shop at Hilltop Steakhouse. I have not been there in years, but always remember respectable victuals...
As I walked in the door they had beautiful medium-sized artichokes at two for a buck. Bot 4.
Then I stumbled towards the holy land, MEAT. I was actually looking for smoked pork products to accompany the made-from-scratch sauerkraut that is currently fermenting on the floor beside me. choucroute garnie coming soon.
They did not have the smoked ham hocks or pork butts that I was hoping for, but they did have some nice commercial thick cut bacon and Hilltop Brand Kielbasa that looked respectable. (Karl's was closed: Sunday).
Then I sauntered over to the beef section. They had some really pretty beef shins for small money. Shins make a good oxtail standin. I almost grabbed a few pounds. But then I took a look at the steak section... DANG.
They had porterhouse and ribeye for $3.99 and $4.99 a pound. I think the porterhouse was even boneless. But there, on the sparse steel rack, was a ribeye shamelessly flirting with me. Beautifully marbled throughout, nice fatty sections, portions of that dark, dark red meat that only mean one thing... I stared at it more intently: "oh honey, you're PRIME, you poor sweet thing. The USDA inspector probably passed over your cow, perhaps you are that one PRIME cut in an otherwise CHOICE cow. But there's no doubting you are as prime as prime could be."
I left the shins behind, the kielbasa and the bacon joined the artichokes, but I made sure that little Ribeye was cozy in my basket.
For those who understand what we are looking ahead too, economically speaking, 3 pounds of kielbasa, 4 artichokes, a pound of bacon, and a one pound, gorgeous, prime Ribeye, all for $17.89, as some local-born folks might say, that was a wicked bargain.
Segway to my own kitchen. When I cut the little darling out of the foam and Saranwrap cradle it was every bit as PRIME as I had imagined. I had a momentary flashback to Hilltop. Others were buying the porterhouse, which at $3.99 a pound was a deal, but looked to me more like pot roast then anything you would find at Peter Luger's.
A delicate coat of Moutard de Maille, a slight sprinkle of sea salt and just the right amount of coarsely cracked pepper; the ole trusty cast iron pan fired up blazingly hot.
I seared each side nicely for 3-4 minutes each forming a nice charred crust, then into a 420 degree oven just to finish for another 5 minutes. When the internal temp was 130, perfectly medium rare, it was ready. OH YEAH IT WAS READY. I deglazed the pepper-laden pan with white Vermouth. and poured the jus over the steak.
My sides were steamed brussels spouts and new potatoes with butter, tarragon, dill, and celery seed. All the sides also got a healthy dousing with pan drippings.
Big glass of ice water, a nice LARGE glass of red Ribera de Duero wine...
Not a bad meal considering I often eat VEGAN at home.
I wanted to end the post there, but I just couldn't. That little ribeye was every bit as good as I had imagined. Probably the best steak I've had this year. By the end I was mashing potatoes and brussels sprouts into the cast iron pan and licking jus off my plate.
Wonderful beefy goodness. And I even managed to save a third of the steak for lunch tomorrow...