Hot Outta The Oven: Peppercorn-Crusted Steak

Ask any man where he wants to go for his birthday and 98% of the time* he will answer “steak house.” Ask him today, and hopefully he’d have the good sense to utter, “Steak and a blow job please,” as today, March 14, is the unofficial reverse Valentine’s Day known as “Steak & Blow Job Day.” I won’t tell you how to do the latter (that’s Dr. V’s territory), but I can handle the former. Face it, if you’re hitting up a spot a few steps up from the Red Lobster, chances are the meal will cost you a few Benjamins. As with most DIY projects, this steak dinner will save you enough greenbacks to fund a new birthday dinner outfit without compromising what it is he desires – a juicy seared steak. (*unconfirmed but highly probable statistic)Seek out a dry-aged steak, which is a high-falutin’ way of saying extra-tender. Rib eye, strip steak or the perennial man favorite Porterhouse (essentially a T-bone cut to feed two overeaters or a family of four according to the gang who developed the U.S. Food Pyramid), are pricey cuts, but when you’re keeping things simple, only a high-quality slab of meat will do.

(Equipment Tip: If your household enjoys a good crust on most foods, pick-up a Lodge 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet for about $10-15 at major household retailers. Nothing does steak the same way.)

Peppercorn-Crusted Steak with Melted Onions and Mushrooms
Serves Two People Celebrating Steak & Blow Job Day (March 14, 2009)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch scallions, green and white portions thinly sliced separately
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
One 8-ounce package thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
Two 8-ounce rib eye steaks, preferably dry-aged
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Preheat a medium cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat (do not use nonstick as this will prevent a crust from forming). Melt 1 tablespoon butter, stir in the scallion whites and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the onions, season with salt and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid from the mushrooms has been cooked off, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the pepper, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate; whisk to combine. Stir the scallion greens into the onion mixture and then divide it among two serving plates.
3. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet and turn the heat up to high. Coat the steaks on both sides with the pepper mixture, pressing firmly to adhere; the surface of the steak should be evenly coated. Add the steaks and cook for 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip over the steak and cook for 3 minutes more for medium-rare. Serve immediately with the melted onions and mushrooms.


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