If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, here is a restaurant quality Valentine’s Day dinner with wine pairing to impress your sweetheart with your culinary prowess.
Steak is manly fare. And so is its price tag if you dine at one of the ubiquitous steakhouses where ala carte dinner tabs can exceed $300+ for two if you like a cocktail and decent wine with your meal. Fortunately, steakhouse dinners are easily replicated at home. All you need is a top quality piece of meat and a great grill, like The Big Green Egg, or a superior indoor cooking method, like that used by The Palm Restaurant.
In the not too distant past, the highest quality cuts (U.S. Prime, which includes less than 2% of all meat produced in the United States) were reserved for restaurants and hotels. Now many supermarkets are carrying U.S. Prime cuts and some even have dry-aged cuts that provide even more natural flavor. High quality meat requires a major financial investment, so proper cooking is essential.
The Palm Restaurant method involves both the stovetop and the oven. The steak is wiped dry, coated lightly in olive oil (and salt if you like at this time as some chefs do), and brought to room temperature. Then it is sprinkled with salt (if you have not already done so) and pepper and seared over high heat for 2 ½ minutes each side in a cast iron grill pan, removed from the pan and left to rest on a rack for a minimum of 30 minutes, then placed in a preheated 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, and finally left to rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking.
The Big Green Egg lets you cook meat at a very high temperature for a short period of time. Although not in the class of Ruth’s Chris’ Steakhouse at 1800 degrees, the BGE can be cranked up to nearly 1000 degrees. Sous Chef recently grilled a 1 ¼ inch New York cut at around 650 degrees for 3 minutes on each side. He let it rest for 5 minutes and got a perfect medium rare. The steak exhibited a nice smoky, chargrilled flavor with a deep dark crust on the outside. It looked fantastic and tasted better.
Every great piece of meat deserves a great wine like the 2013 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a great value for cabernet sauvignon, retailing around $30-35. It’s a dark, full-bodied beauty that has classic California cabernet characteristics in an immediately accessible package of flavors and aromas. It is fruity with a soft floral nose with hints of black cherry, berry, vanilla, and cola. On the palate it exhibits notes of spice and herbs. The wine is very well balanced and smooth, the tannins restrained, and though the ABV is 14.9%, it is not hot on the finish. This wine is drinking well on its own, but also benefits from a little aeration from a Vinturi or decanting.
For Valentine’s Day, pair your steak with some steakhouse classic sides like haricot vert, creamed spinach, and mashed or baked potatoes – which take little to no effort — and a great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, like the 2013 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon, and you just might get luckier than you thought possible!
- 2 steaks – your cut of choice
- olive oil
- The Palm Restaurant method involves both the stovetop and the oven. The steak is wiped dry, coated lightly in olive oil (and salt if you like at this time as some chefs do), and brought to room temperature. Then it is sprinkled with salt (if you have not already done so) and pepper and seared over high heat for 2 ½ minutes each side in a cast iron pan, removed from the pan and left to rest on a rack for a minimum of 30 minutes, then placed in a preheated 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, and finally left to rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking.
- 2 steaks – your cut of choice, approximately 1¼ inch thick
- olive oil
- Preheat The Big Green egg to 625-650.
- Wipe the steak dry, coat with olive oil and salt and bring to room temperature.
- Grill each side of the steak for approximately 3 minutes per side for medium rare.
- 1 package cleaned/trimmed haricot vert
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard with seeds
- salt & pepper
- Place the haricot vert in a microwave safe container. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, juice of ½ lemon, and mix with Dijon mustard. Top with lemon zest and salt and pepper.
- Microwave for 1 minute 45 seconds.