Sunday Night Special: Rib-Eye Steak with Pan-Seared Grape Tomatoes
I don’t usually make cover recipes but the July Gourmet’s Porterhouse Steak with Pan-Seared Cherry Tomatoes seemed very simple (it’s been too humid for any serious cooking lately) and gave me the excuse to try the Grazin’ Angus Acres’s beef at Carroll Gardens’s tiny Sunday farmers market. Unfortunately, tomatoes aren’t really here yet (I just ate three cherry tomatoes in my Pret a Manger cobb salad and the tartness was none too pleasing, though the salad overall was better than expected) and I had to settle for regular grape tomatoes.
Yes, it’s a little strange that when food prices are getting out of control, I decide to start paying double for meat. I’ve never been one for organics and this isn’t something I’ll be able to make a habit of, I was just curious about American grass-fed beef after my steak binge in Buenos Aires. I did opt for a rib eye instead of the porterhouse because the latter tends to be large and there’s no convincing myself to spend $40+ for one piece of meat. I kind of justified the $23/lb rib eye because I decided to stop taking a $50 monthly prescription (not birth control pills—heavens). Maybe I can swing a locally raised steak once a month, which is plenty for anyone.
The meat definitely turned out more rare than medium-rare. It’s my own fault for not using a thermometer even though I have two, one digital, the other old-fashioned. You would think that I would’ve learned after six years of using an undercooking Magic Chef brand stove (it is not lost on me that my fancy Carroll Gardens apartment has the same exact lame stove that was in my former crappy Sunset Park apartment. Yes, there’s something sad about paying 3.73 times as much rent and still getting the same cheap appliances and 15 inches of counter space) and countless Thanksgivings with a turkey that takes an abnormal amount of time to reach doneness that I would compensate and cook my meat for longer than recommended (six minutes in this instance).
Regardless, this a fitting showcase for pristine beef. I tried to savor each bite and detect differences from the usual cuts I buy from Western Beef. I don’t doubt that I could tell the difference between a grocery store steak and one fresh from the farm; meat isn’t as esoteric to me as say, wine tasting. As I’ve said before, beef isn’t my favorite meat because it’s usually overwhelming, murky and one-note. This steak had a clean flavor, if that makes any sense. I noticed the biggest difference when I gnawed bits off of the bone and the shreds were just slightly gamey, kind of like some country hams and Spanish cured pork. The basil, tomatoes and garlic were slightly sweet without distracting from the meat.
Of course, Gourmet’s photography is 50 times more attractive than mine. But it's the taste that counts, right?