Porterhouse Steak, New Potatoes, and Fresh Peas
So what does 1 ½ pounds of porterhouse steak, 1/3 cup of olive oil, ¾ lb of new potatoes, and some peas have in common? They were all eaten by me during my latest dinner. Was I really planning on eating that much? I don’t know but it ended up that way. Let’s go to the recipes:
Porterhouse Steak with Olive Oil, Sage, Rosemary, and Garlic, adapted from “How to Grill” by Steve Raichlen
1 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pound porterhouse steak, about 1 to 1 ½ inches thick
1/3 cup of olive oil
6 sage leaves
1 T coarsely chopped rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a hot grill. Generously season both sides of the porterhouse steak with salt and pepper. Combine the olive oil, sage, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl and set aside. Cook the porterhouse steak on the grill about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove to a plate (or platter) on which the olive oil mixture has been placed. Let the steak sit for about 3 minutes, flip over, and let sit for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Simple New Potatoes, from the “Joy of Cooking”
1 lb new potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes if not very small
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Herb of your choice for garnish
Thoroughly scrub the new potatoes. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are crispy and tender, about 30 minutes.
Buttered Fresh Peas, from the “Joy of Cooking”
2 cups of shelled fresh peas
2 T butter
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Place peas in a sauté pan. Barely cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 3 minutes. At this point, most or all of the water should be evaporated (if not, drain it out). Add the butter and seasonings. Cook until the butter is melted and serve immediately.
This meal was good but could have been improved. Let’s start with the steak. A porterhouse steak is a healthy piece of beef that consists of a tenderloin section, bone, and a strip steak section. To me, it combines the two best steak cuts. When you’re cooking an expensive and tasty piece of beef like this, a simple recipe like the one above is a good way to go. After all, the beef is the main attraction.
What was good about the recipe was the marriage of the distinctiveness of the olive oil, the sharpness of the garlic, the earthiness of the sage and rosemary, and the butteriness and sheer meatiness of the steak. Some of the bites of the steak I had were truly out of this world. But some of them were not as good. The best bites were the ones that were medium-rare to rare. They retained the best beef flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. This is especially true for the part of the steak near the bone. The meat was so flavorful that it almost made you want to cry. On the other hand, the outer edges of the steak were medium-well to well done and had none of those magical qualities of the rarer pieces. The lesson here is that the Porterhouse is a big steak and you need to realize that the steak will cook a little irregularly, especially over really high heat. Perhaps, I had my fire a little too hot or I left my steak on a little too long but I did find parts of the steak a little crispy for my taste. I will be a little bit gentler next time.
One important note about this recipe is to use really good ingredients. Dried rosemary and sage would not be acceptable substitutes for the fresh. Use a good quality olive oil. And find the best Porterhouse steak you can find. There is nothing in this recipe for a cook to hide behind. It’s all about great ingredients and good cooking of the beef.
The new potatoes were a little disappointing. If you’ve read my other post about steak , then you know how I usually make my side dish of potatoes. But, as I was using such fresh potatoes, I thought I could follow the “Joy of Cooking’s” advice and simply fry the potatoes without parboiling. Well, I think I will go back to parboiling all my potatoes before sautéing. The potatoes, even after about 30 minutes, still retained too much bite and were not as crispy as their parboiled counterparts. However, they were still tasty potatoes. They were so fresh (as they came from the Fargo Farmer’s Market) that they somehow tasted more like a potato than those you buy at the grocery store. No one ever thinks of potatoes as tasting vibrant but these potatoes had such a wonderful character that it’s a shame we can’t get such produce year round. They were just sublime. There is no substitute for fresh ingredients.
The peas were also a little disappointing. As I was shucking, I managed to stick a few raw peas in my mouth and was so impressed with the fresh, intense pea flavor they had. After cooking, they seemed to have lost a lot of that character. They were just so much more ordinary. Next time, I am going to skip the water part and simply heat them up in some butter. They are already tender so I fail to see why I need to cook them any more than to bring them up to a hot temp. There are just that good on their own.