Sunday, January 20, 2008

c's steak au poivre

With the threat of wintery weather all weekend, we decided to not even consider going out to eat. Instead, we ventured out on Saturday morning to the Fresh Market to pick up what we needed to eat out, but in. I love to browse at Fresh Market, but it didn't take us long to get drawn in by the beautiful Hereford filet mignon and C's idea to have steak au poivre (a French dish consisting of a steak coated in cracked peppercorns). Traditionally it's just coated on one side, but C likes them on the side too (and a little gorgonzola crumbled on top never hurts).

Our method:

Crack a pile of whole peppercorns with a rolling pin, and then warm them in a little olive oil over low heat for 15 minutes.

Dip steak into peppercorn mixture and coat one side completely.

Heat oven to 450°

Meanwhile, heat a pat of butter and a little olive oil in a cast iron pan until it starts to shimmer. Sear steaks until you have a nice crust on both sides (3-4 minutes per side)

(one au poivre and one salt/pepper steak shown)

Once the steaks are seared, move them to the hot oven (here we used a sheet pan, but if your searing pan is oven safe, just throw it in the oven)

These steaks were fairly thick, so it took about 7 minutes for medium rare. Yum.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Knead Italian Bread

I know its been a while, but we're back, and what better to start than with bread! This recipe takes advanced prep, but it's worth it for a fresh crusty loaf out of the oven.

Adapted from NY Times/Sullivan Street Bakery.

Yield: one 1½ lb loaf
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water

Equipment Needed: Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you've got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Holding towel, dump wobbly dough into pot. Doesn't matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes.