Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meat Eater

I pride myself on the ability to make decisions with ease. I am completely type A flexible. I like to have a plan but if that plan changes, no fluttering or faltering here. Today though, it seems I must have been drinking from the De-Caf pot because I haven’t quite ‘come to’ yet. Thankfully, there was no decision making to be done when writing these main course options. These are my home-style stand-bys and I am not ashamed to admit to the ease of creating them. Much like in the spirit of this week, I am not ashamed to admit that my father still buys me Valentine’s Day cards. He’s a fan of the giant ones and pretty little confetti ones that sing. The Hearn’s like a good spectacle. As a blogger, it is my prerogative to read other blogs and this week has been teeming with posts about home-made hand-sewn cards. So this year, with no valentine in particular, I think I’ll try my hand at making some. I have a design degree right-- How hard can it be?

Cast Iron Filet

If your love is a meat eater, then this first option is for you! A savory hunk with red wine reduction. Quite the epitome of seduction I’m sure. I typically use petite filets, but depending on your purse or appetite, have at it! Just remember you have to fit into that little number after the meal.

2 Filets or Sirloin cuts
1 tbsp Olive oil
1tbsp Butter
Fresh ground black pepper
Optional Sauce
1/3 cup dry red wine
1-2 tbsp shallots (fresh or dried)
1 tbsp butter

BRING the steak to room temperature and pat dry with paper towel.

SALT and PEPPER the steak on both sides and let it sit while you preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat, about 5-7 minutes.

MELT the butter and olive oil together, but don’t let the butter brown completely.

PLACE the steak in the skillet, and don’t move it for 3 minutes.*

FLIP the steak, and leave it alone for another 3 minutes.

REMOVE the steak from the skillet to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

WHILE the steak is resting, deglaze the pan with the red wine, and put back over high heat. Scrape up any bits of steak stuck to the pan.

ADD the shallots to soften in the wine as it reduces.

FINISH the sauce by swirling in the butter to incorporate.

POUR sauce over plated steak.

This is a bit of a smoky recipe. Be prepared and have the vents on high!

Panko Pecan Salmon Filet

If you are a pescetarian, which I was, or simply prefer a lower calorie diet with omega 3’s then read on friend. This crunchy filet has always been a crowd pleaser. And though the recipe is only for 2, I won’t judge if you’re feeding more than one this holiday.

2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp good olive oil
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2(4-6 ounce) salmon filets *
Salt and pepper to taste
2lemon wedges

PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees.

PAT the filets dry with a paper towel and rest skin down and SEASON with salt and pepper.

MIX together the mustard and olive oil, and glaze the filets.
In another bowl, MIX together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.

PLACE on a lightly greased and tinfoil’d baking sheet.

CRUST the top and sides of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.*

BAKE for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork.

SERVE garnished with lemon wedges.

When picking filets, I prefer the evenly thick cuts rather than the larger sloped cuts. They don’t cook as evenly and the crust doesn’t hold up as nicely. When crusting the filets, rolling or dipping the filets into a shallow pan of the pecan/panko mixture is a tad easier than trying to pat it on.

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