Steak a New Year’s main course

WOLFGANG PUCK Tribune Media Services Published December 29, 2011 at 3:14 a.m.
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— One of my favorite ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve is to throw an elegant dinner party that features delicious foods and wines. But, to me, the word “elegant” doesn’t have to mean that the meal I cook and serve is something elaborate.

Instead, elegance in cooking can often translate as a meal that is simple, beautiful and high quality. Think of a classic black dress or a tux with a black tie, rather than a gown made of swirls of fabric or the sorts of outfits some rock stars wear on stage!

That is why I would like to suggest that you cook a whole New York strip steak for your dinner party to see in 2012.

Think of the New York strip steak as beef’s equivalent of the tuxedo, clean-lined and elegant. This large, boneless steak comes from the top loin section. Full of rich flavor and with a firm yet tender texture, it has a long, uniformly thick shape that makes it perfect for pan-roasting, a cooking method that ensures juicy medium-rare results without the need for you to spend much time in the kitchen. In fact, all you have to do is season the steak all over, sear it quickly all over in the roasting pan to give it a beautiful dark-brown crust, and then cook it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Be sure to order your steak from the butcher at least a couple of days before you plan to cook it. Ask that it be trimmed of excess fat and silver skin, the thin translucent tissue that sheaths the muscle. But be sure to request that all the trimmings be saved for you. Cooked in the pan with the steak, they’ll help provide more pan drippings for you to turn into a quick sauce.

Even the sauce making happens efficiently and elegantly in this recipe. The steak should rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, covered with foil on a platter, to let its hot juices settle back into the meat’s fibers before you carve it. That resting period is just the right amount of time for you to deglaze the flavorful roasting pan deposits, stirring and scraping to dissolve them into the sauce’s mixture of Port wine and broth, before you reduce the sauce, enrich it with some cream and butter, and flavor it with mustard.

Add some mashed potatoes or a rice pilaf, quickly steamed or sauteed vegetables, a decent bottle of your favorite red wine, and maybe some good crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce, and you’ll have a main course worthy of the finest restaurants. And you and your guests don’t even have to dress up formally for the occasion!

ROASTED NEW YORK STRIP

STEAK WITH PORT WINE MUSTARD SAUCE Serves 10 to 12 ROASTED NEW YORK STRIP STEAK Ingredients: 1 whole New York strip steak, about 5 pounds well-trimmed of excess fat and surface tissue, trimmings reserved Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil PORT WINE MUSTARD SAUCE Ingredients: 1 tablespoon minced shallot 1 cup Port wine 1 cup organic beef or chicken broth1 cup heavy cream 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 2 tablespoons grainy Meaux mustard or smooth Dijon mustard Salt Freshly ground white pepper Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Generously season the New York strip steak all over with kosher salt and pepper. Position a heavy metal roasting pan on top of one or two stove top burners, depending on the size of the pan and the burners’ positioning on your stove, and heat over high heat. Add just enough olive oil to form a thin film in the bottom. When the oil begins to shimmer and give off slight wisps of smoke, carefully place the meat in the pan with its most attractive side down, immediately reduce the heat to medium-high, and scatter all the reserved trimming scraps around its sides. Sear the meat without disturbing it until the underside is browned, about 5 minutes. Using tongs or a long-handled fork, carefully turn the meat and continue searing until evenly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes more per side. While browning, stir the scraps occasionally so they also brown evenly.

With the steak’s most attractive side facing up, carefully transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Cook until the steak is done medium-rare, registering 140 to 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part, about 45 minutes.

Transfer the steak from the roasting pan to a serving platter, cover it with aluminum foil, and leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Port Wine Mustard Sauce. Remove and discard the scraps from the roasting pan and carefully pour off all but a thin film of fat. Put the pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and, as soon as it starts to sizzle, pour in the Port and the broth, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve the pan deposits. With a whisk, stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to maintain a bare simmer and, a piece at a time, whisk in the butter until it melts. Continue cooking until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and whisk in the mustard until thoroughly blended, then season the sauce to taste with salt and white pepper. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan to keep it warm.

Uncover the steak and transfer it to a cutting board. Pour any juices that have collected on the platter into the sauce, stirring it in. With a sharp knife, cut the meat diagonally across the grain into slices about 1/2 inch thick, arranging them overlapping on the platter. Ladle a little sauce over the meat and pass the rest alongside. Serve immediately.

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