Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Flat-iron steak is the new black

I'll admit it: Oftentimes when I wander into a fully-stocked kitchen, I'm at a complete loss. It's like kid-in-a-candy-store syndrome; everywhere I look, there is something perfectly fresh and yummy, and my gears go into overload trying to figure out how to put together the math. Subsequently, I short-circuit and end up feeling completely uninspired and defeated.

Other times, however, I get handed a beautiful slab of meat and the gears click.

Tonight was a sweet cut of organic flat-iron steak from the farmer's market. According to the Wikipedia entry, it's a relatively new shoulder cut that was "discovered" by some college researchers. Frankly, "discovering" a cut of beef on an animal that's been around for thousands of years sounds a little hokey to me. Whatever the case may be, the verdict is... it's delicious.

I've been wooed into the world of sage butter by a particular recipe in my new favorite huge yellow book: The Gourmet Cookbook. Tossed with microplaned parmesan and fresh pasta, sage butter is the definition of savory.

I also love petit pois. Peas freeze so well, and if you don't have a bag in your freezer right now I think you should.

Gears started turning... 'I like steak, I like peas, I like butter...'

Flat Iron Steak and Peas over Tagliatelle in Basil-Sage Butter
1 flat iron steak, about an inch thick
2/3 cup frozen baby peas
2 servings of fresh or dried tagliatelle (I like the ones dried in nests--quite handy)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup fresh sage
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat a skillet or griddle (cast iron is great) to medium-high heat. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper and drizzle oil on both sides to coat. Don't oil the skillet or it will stick! Grill about 5 minutes per side (medium-rare). Wrap steak loosely in foil and set aside on a cutting board to rest.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan add butter, herbs, 2 T. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Melt and let simmer over very low heat while you do the peas and pasta.

Nuke peas according to package directions, drain and set aside.

When pot of water comes to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt to water. Cook tagliatelle to al dente, 2 minutes for fresh, about 4 minutes for dried. Toss drained pasta with basil-sage butter and peas in a big bowl, adding a few grinds of pepper and a pinch or two of salt to taste.

Thinly slice steak on a diagonal. Serve over pasta. Makes 2 picturesque servings.

p.s. Dried herbs can be substituted, but fresh is always better. Also, I suspect that grape tomatoes would go great with this dish--a good handful, sliced in half and tossed with the pasta.