Monday, May 18, 2009

In Moderation

I try to eat healthy foods. I try to eat sustainably-grown foods, local foods and seasonal foods. However, sometimes I need to just go with a craving.

I'm usually glad I did. Except when I just go with my cravings for M&M's. Or, once, when I was a sophomore in college, sweet and sour soup made from a packet - the kind to which you add water and one egg. I ate two packets' worth of soup while reading a Patricia Cornwall novel on my parents' couch and rarely have felt so sick from a meal or a book. It was an afternoon laden with regret.

Most of my cravings are more reasonable. On Saturday morning, I mentioned to Steve that I craved burgers from Smitty's, our local butcher, for lunch. Smitty's burgers are unlike any other I have had. They must have a very high fat content to be so juicy and flavorful, but some details I would prefer not to know. I would rather enjoy my burger ignorantly, with pleasure.

Steve returned from the butcher shop with not only two luscious hamburger patties, but two Delmonico's, a handful of shallots, and two knobs of soft mozzarella packed in water.

The hamburgers, we grilled for lunch. I ate mine with my legs in the pool, the juice of the patty running over the bun and down my wrists. The mozzarella, we put in a salad yesterday afternoon following an afternoon of corn toss for charity and a sudden cloudburst that sent us hurrying home. The Delmonico's and shallots went into the recipe below, which we enjoyed on Saturday night.

Balsamic reductions and steak belong together. There's something about the acidic tang with the tender meat that just works for me. This sauce may be one of the best I have tried. It fulfilled a craving that I did not even know I had.

Rib-Eye Steaks with Balsamic-Caper Vinaigrette
Adapted from this recipe at

2 3/4-inch-thick rib-eye steaks (we used a Delmonico cut, known also as a boneless rib-eye)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus another 1/8 cup, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/8 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Lay the steaks on a rimmed cookie sheet. Rub both sides of the steaks with 1/8 cup of the extra virgin olive oil and the garlic. Mix the smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in a small ramekin. Pat onto both sides of the steaks. Let the steaks stand at least 15 minutes and up to 45 minutes.

In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat until it has reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Add the shallots, 1/8 extra virgin olive oil, and crushed red pepper and return to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat, then whisk in the parsley, capers, and thyme. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper, then cover and set aside.

Heat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush the grill rack with oil to coat. Grill the steaks until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to plates and spoon the vinaigrette generously over the top of each.

Makes: 2 portions


Foodycat said...

I haven't heard the term Delmonico for that cut before - but the sauce looks perfect for steak!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me: All things in moderation, including moderation itself.

muddywaters said...

Forget the filet. The ribeye is my favorite cut of meat.

I need to do more with sauces.

Moderation is the key. I thought about Ben Franklin's plan for moral perfection when I read this post.

muddywaters said...

I see you're reading Olive Kittridge. How would you like to have her as a mother-in-law?