Friday, March 29, 2013

Apéritif Friday - Grilled Rib Eyes, in a Lobster Shirt

First things first. Let me get something off my chest. Namely, the views I enjoyed the past week.

View #1, to the right from the condo where we stayed in Dana Point, CA.
View #2, to the left.
View #3, to the right from the beach house my parents and brother's family rented, and

View #4, to the left.
As if that weren't enough, we enjoyed the last few days of our vacation gazing out at a par three from my in-laws' new patio near Palm Springs.

Whew. It was a rough couple of days.

Now - onto a favorite staple in our house during the warm summer months. Grilled steak. My favorite cut is the coveted tenderloin, primarily due to the tender, melt-in-your mouth, butter consistency of a good, prime, lean cut of beef, but a very close second has to be the beautifully marbled rib eye. Rib eyes are best when simply grilled over a very hot fire - as hot as you can get it - to char the outside with a deliberate crusty outer core, then cooked to medium rare perfection over indirect heat so as to not burn the outside.

My friend Carrie makes a killer gorgonzola cream sauce to top the delectably cooked rib eye, and my favorite campfire ribeye sauce is Bobby Flay's twist - top the rested cut of beef with a schmear of herbed goat cheese, then a simple Meyer lemon honey mustard sauce. Devour over a bed of greens while soaking in views of Echo Lake. I'm now officially ready for the ice to melt so we can start some cabin campfire dining!

Mr. Musky visited his parents several weeks ago to check out their new digs, and he fired up their shiny new outdoor grill. They asked for a repeat performance when we visited last week.
Apéritifs for the evening? Wine for the in-laws, the standard Sapphire and water for Mr. Musky, and for me?
CVC, also known as Cranberry-Vodka-Club Soda. Thanks to the warm, sunny Southern California weather, my palate screamed for something refreshing, slightly tart, yet not too sweet with a little effervescence. This was the perfect cocktail to trick my mind into thinking it's summer.

I cook a lot in the winter months, but Mr. Musky takes over all protein-laden preparation and execution once the weather warms up. He loves grilling, whether it's smoking on the Green Egg all day, roasting over charcoal, whipping up a weeknight meal on gas or experimenting over the firepit at the cabin. I usually prepare the side dishes indoors, but this time, my lovely mother-in-law mixed us up a fresh salad, some fruit and a potato dish to accompany our steaks. Meanwhile, I milked the last few days of vacation.
Mr. Musky is very particular about the preparation of his steak, and after decades of trial and error, he's mastered it to an art form.
Ideally, he prepares a rub of dry ingredients, adds canola oil with some microplaned shallot and garlic and rubs it into the meat. We microplane the shallot and garlic versus chopping it so it doesn't burn when coming into contact with the hot grilling surface, and the flavors penetrate the meat better. However, my mother-in-law doesn't revel in cooking like her offspring. She provides a mandolin when asked for a microplane, and the fact that she even owns a mandolin is a miracle in and of itself, but that's OK. This time we just made a paste with the garlic, omitted the shallot and called it a day.
Just before placing the meat on the grill, Mr. Musky liberally covers the surface in kosher salt. This is what sears in the juices, creates the beautiful char and delicious outer crunchy texture when biting into the meat. But DO NOT salt your meat until just before you place it on the grill, or it won't char properly.
And that, my friends, would be a tragedy of monumental proportions. Charred, juicy steak is the essence of summer.

Can I just pause to say how lovely is it to dine alfresco in 80 degrees in March while watching your son practice chip shots, barefoot, on the fifth hole? I'd like to go back. Now.
It's just about as much fun as watching your husband and his father cook together. Or, at least, your father-in-law providing unsolicited advice to his son, but secretly loving that he does no work and he's passed it on to the next generation.
My family bank is full right now. I'm cherishing the warm fuzzies I feel from spending time with the people I love most over the past week. More to come soon on all that.


1 comment:

  1. From the looks of how he prepares the meat, it looks very flavorful and tender. Adding shallot and garlic is a great strategy to keep the meat from ending up burnt. Aside from kosher salt, another organic salt you might want to use is the sea salt from Mallorca.

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