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Strip Steaks with Stilton

December 5, 2008

After seeing this recipe in the New York Times, I was just itching for an excuse to cook me up some steak. When my brother’s birthday arrived, it seemed just the right occasion to get my red meat fix (which I don’t eat so much of anymore) AND wow the peeps with the plated presentation.

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The ingredients speak deliciously for themselves, and while the steaks broiled, I hovered greedily over the cheese sauce pot, taking in the aroma of buttery shallots and cider vinegar. This dish is so fantastically simple, but tastes like you’re front-and-center at the best steak house in town.

I did diverge from the stated recipe options in the area of the steak: As I’m not one to leave well enough alone, I wanted to make sure the steak had a little flavor kick that could stand up to the tangy cheese sauce: I marinated the steaks for 15 minutes in a soy sauce and minced ginger bath before shoving them unceremoniously under the broiler. Good choice – if you happened to get a bite of steak without sauce on it, you didn’t feel deprived because the meat had a little sumthin’ sumthin’ all its own.

(Now, if you’re looking at the pictures and wondering what’s up with all the smoke … I used a tad too much cooking spray on the open areas of the broiler pan. Yeah, it set off the smoke alarms. But that’s okay; it reminded me that I needed to change the batteries that I forgot on the switch from daylight savings time. D’oh!)

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Grilled Steak With Roquefort Sauce
Mark Bittman, The New York Times

My [his] favorite blue cheese for this sauce is Roquefort, but Stilton, Gorgonzola, Maytag blue or any high-quality, fairly soft blue cheese will work equally well. Don’t try to make this sauce with commercially produced domestic blue cheeses like those sold precrumbled for salads — it will not provide enough creaminess. As for the steak, the usually too-lean and mildly flavored tenderloin (filet mignon) will do fine. A good strip steak or rib-eye would be chewier and more flavorful, but also fattier.

  1 tablespoon butter or neutral oil, like canola
  4 tablespoons minced shallots
  2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
  6 ounces crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese
  Pinch of cayenne
  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1 1/2 to 2 pounds strip or rib-eye steaks, or filet mignon
  Minced fresh parsley or chives for garnish, optional

Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler; the fire should be quite hot, and grill rack no more than 4 inches from heat source.

Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; when butter melts and its foam begins to subside, add shallots and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, stir, and cook until it is just about evaporated, 1 or 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and stir in cheese, cayenne and a few grindings of pepper. Stir occasionally until cheese melts, then taste and adjust seasoning. Keep warm while you grill steaks.

Season steaks well with salt and pepper, then grill or broil about 3 to 4 minutes a side for medium-rare, longer or shorter according to your taste. Serve steaks with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of sauce over each, garnished with parsley or chives if you like.

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