In my mind there are three rules to a great steak dinner:
- A good, quality cut of meat. Go to either your butcher or a higher-end grocer like Wegmans or Whole Food that carries quality meat with the Prime designation (the highest). This page gives a great overview of the various beef quality ratings and what it takes for the beef to achieve that rating. I can attest that if you engage with the person you’re buying your beef from, they will educate you beyond what you’ve ever wanted to know. Like many professions, these ladies and gentlemen take pride in what they sell and want to give you the best cut possible.
- Cooking that steak properly. There are tons of methods to cooking a piece of beef, and of course all are valid and have their benefits. The thing to know is, unless you’re in a restaurant with access to the best equipment, your steak will taste and cook different. If you’re planning a steak dinner and want the exact style of your favorite local steakhouse, go there. To cook your steak properly, you need a good cooking surface, high heat and attention to detail. I will be utilizing a gas grill for this dinner but again, there are various methods and I’ll explore those in future posts.
- Steakhouse style sides. Many times when I go to steakhouses, the thing I look forward to the most (after the steak of course) are the sides. Side dishes aren’t only a culinary accompaniment that provides more sustenance but they add to the flavor palette too. I have made dozens of different sides for my steak dinners but I typically find that a starch and a green vegetable go best together and compliment nicely. For this meal, I’ll be making a watercress and radish salad along with a potato au gratin.
Now that we’ve established the rules of the game, let me talk about this particular meal. I’m a fan of making the steak the main attraction so I don’t cook appetizers or do a pre-dinner salad when I’m cooking at home for just two or three people. I also like to serve family style even with just two or three people, it allows people to take the amount of steak and sides they want and typically creates some leftovers.
For this particular meal, I purchased my bone-in ribeyes a few days before the dinner. Two days before, I unwrapped the steaks and seasoned them heavily with smoked sea salt and fresh black pepper. I then let them dry age in the fridge for two days, covered and on a plate, flipping one or twice a day. After two days, You’ll notice the steak will start to take on a different color as well as the edges hardening as they start to decay. It should be made clear that this is all very safe as long as your fridge is below 40 degrees. The key I find with this particular method and the smoked salt is that the salt will penetrate over the course of those two days and will provide a great flavor when grilling.
Let’s make this dinner!
- Take the steaks out of the fridge and uncover about an hour before cooking. Doing this will allow the steaks to sear better and cook more evenly.
- Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a boil and add the chopped potatoes, cook for 12 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk cream, white pepper, cayenne pepper, and grated cheddar together, season with salt to taste.
- Strain potatoes and add to your favorite au gratin vessel. I like to use a 4″ deep 9″ round, flat bottom Pyrex, but use whatever works the best.
- Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes, making sure there’s just a little bit poking out of the top. Top with more shredded cheddar, smoked sea salt and cracked pepper. Set aside.
- Fire up the grill and pre-heat for at least 15 minutes.
- Make the dressing:
- Place shallot, honey, Dijon, salt and vinegar in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Slowly whisk in the Olive oil
- Toss radishes and the watercress in a salad bowl with desired amount of dressing.
- Sprinkle blue cheese over the top.
- Turn over broiler to high to pre-heat for the potatoes
- Grill the steaks:
- Brush both sides of the steak with a high heat oil like canola or vegetable, optionally you can use unsalted butter too.
- Place the steaks on the grill, about 3/4 of the way towards the back diagonally.
- Grill for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning 90 degrees half way on each side to establish grill crosshatch.
- Remove steaks from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes
- Place potatoes in oven under broiler, removing after the top layer of cheese has melted and browned slightly.
- Carve steak into 1/4″ thick slices and serve family style.
- 4 Prime bone-in Ribeye steaks
- 3 large Idaho potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 c. whipping cream
- salt and pepper
- 1 c. champagne vinegar
- 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 c. blue cheese crumbles
- 1 c. radishes
- 2 bunches watercress