Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Meat magic: Smoked Paprika Butter

Between watching 2-1/2 week old Colman eat at a Herculean level, being back at work, cooking dinner for us when I get home, and "sleeping" (as we call our 2 to 3 hour series of interrupted naps), I hope you'll forgive me for not being in the blogging mood. It doesn't in any way mean we have been suffering from appetite deprivation. What with friends bringing over food to see us through (I'm particularly grateful for a welcome home middle eastern takeout feast from J&K, a super satisfying bolognese sauce from Denise and a few bowls of lovely fresh corn chowder from my sis), Colman's ability to sleep soundly for 2 or so hours at a time allowing us to get our restaurant fix, and my cooking after work, we've actually probably never eaten better. With a ton of things on file ready for my blogging and your consumption, I'll start with one of the easiest and satisfying things we've had. I poached this recipe for smoked paprika butter from Food & Wine Magazine, where after reading through it I was ravenous for a good grilled steak. So a few nights ago, after a quick stop at the butchers at Laurelhurst Market where I picked a beautiful piece of flat iron steak, I was set for an evening of beefy bliss. The F&W recipe was for ten people. Maybe that will work when CTB is a teenager, but right now for two it was easy enough to pare down to size.

The smoked paprika butter would be great with any kind of steak off the 'que. After sprinkling our flat iron (which was about 3/4" thick) liberally with salt & pepper, I fired the Weber up to a high heat and grilled the steak about 3-1/2 minutes per side for a perfect medium rare (be sure to let the steak sit for 5 to 10 minutes loosely covered to reabsorb its juices, and be sure to slice across the grain). The length of cooking time depends on the thickness of your steak, but the key is the initial shot of high heat to get that crusty sear and caramelization to release the meat's inherent umami magic. After that it was a quick plating with some garlic mashers and a side of sautéed spinach, then topping the meat with this inspired condiment....
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Smoked Paprika Butter
adapted from Food & Wine

serves 2 to 3

2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and keep warm until your steaks are done. You can also make ahead and reheat gently when needed. When steaks are ready, spoon paprika butter over and serve immediately.

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