Monday, September 19, 2011

New York Steak & Lobster with Champagne-Vanilla Sauce

Elizabeth worked some long hours over the last couple of weeks. I won't go into details but once the Emmy's started, her stress level went way down. I decided to make a nice dinner to celebrate.

A couple of Prime New York steaks from Taylor's Prime Meats in Sierra Madre. You may already know this but I will point it out anyway: only 2.9% of beef on the market today is graded as "Prime." It is not cheap, but it is the best. And if you are comfortable with the grill, you will find that you can make steaks as good as the finest steakhouses at a fraction of the price. (I've had fine-dining steaks that have been half the size of each of these pieces, yet cost more than both combined.)

Years ago I read a recipe for champagne-vanilla sauce that, for some reason, stuck with me. (Normally I'm always forgetting at least one ingredient when I try to repeat a recipe from memory.) I don't make this sauce very frequent, but hey, this was a celebratory dinner. This is an action shot of Elizabeth stirring a pat of butter (you have to add the butter piece-by-piece) into the champagne reduction.

My favorite condiment creation at the moment is Peppercorn A.1. and mayonnaise. I made some fries - nothing special, just frozen shoestring fries out of a bag - and tossed them with chopped garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. So obviously they had plenty of flavor. But I still dipped them into this sauce.

At the grocery store, Elizabeth picked up a habanero and ordered me to eat it. I refused. But I did decide to buy it. At home I chopped it in half and threw it in a bowl with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Three hours later I removed the habanero and tasted the sauce - it was great. Very spicy but not painfully so.

The lobster tail with the champagne vanilla sauce. I can count on one hand the number of things I have tasted in my life that were better.

This steak isn't one of those things, but damn close. After a few minutes on each side on the smoking-hot grill pan - I wanted to watch football while I cooked so I made these inside - I took off the steak and let it rest, wrapping it in foil. (I sliced off a bit and took the top picture immediately, then let it continue resting until it was a little less red and a little more pink. It's great either way but just a little more buttery after resting a few minutes.)

It was a good dinner. 


Fritos and Foie Gras said...

The picture of that steak just made me say "DAMN!" out loud. Alone. You have officially intimidated me with your steak cooking prowess! And congrats Elizabeth for getting a few harried weeks out of the way!

Michella said...

I also let out one word, but it was a little bit stronger than Fritos! It looks sooo good.

Michelle said...

Also I misspelled my own name, that's how much I'm out of sorts looking at these pictures.

Liz said...

Thanks Fritos! This was a nice way to finish a week. Honestly, if it wouldn't be gross to people at the table, I would drink that champagne butter sauce. Yum!

SuperLarge said...

Laughing at Michella / Michelle; I do that all the time.

Anonymous said...

pp- how did you cook the lobster?

Banana Wonder said...

Can you please share your recipe for champagne vanilla sauce? Please? You are a nice hubby to make Elizabeth dinner. Good stuff all the way around. And I didn't know that about prime beef.

JustinM said...

Fritos: Trust me, it took many hours and too much money's worth of ruined steaks to admit to before I got comfortable cooking anything. The best piece of advice I got was from a trained-chef buddy of mine: "When in doubt, undercook. You can always make it more well done; you can't make it rarer."

Michelle: No worries, that's a nice compliment.

Liz: I like how you pretend that you don't drink the butter sauce every time I make it.

SuperLarge: It would be funny if your last name were Large and you could misspell things in all sorts of weird ways.

Anon: Usually I steak them in my Joyce Chen wok. But I had so many things going on the burners (pot of oil, grill pan, wok with spinach, and pan with butter sauce) that I just threw them on the grill pan as well.

Banana: Check your email.