Saturday, March 04, 2006

Horseradish Encrusted Steak (WCB#39)

There are some mornings when a good hunter’s breakfast is in order. On those mornings the cold freezes the world and the air is crisp, harsh and blue. The days when you go out and everything is in slow motion and appears 2-dimensional. When even the winter birds seem to slug their pace and when you wish you too, like so many other creatures, could take to hibernation. It is when Mother Nature plays tricks with your immunities and confidence: one day you are so sure you can smell spring; the next day an Arctic blast finds comfort in your surrounds and takes an extended vacation. It is these mornings when a hearty breakfast is due.

On some days a solid meal may be Scottish Oats laced with fresh fruits. Some days it is braised oxtail or simple poached eggs. The Joy of Cooking lists a significant 10 course (depending on how you count it) meal that should be had before the hunt—from pheasant to quail eggs, rabbits and three liquors to warm you and send you on the way.

Today’s hunter’s breakfast was a simpler one. Enough to warm the soul on this bitter day, filling enough to stand on its own-- yet not so much that dinner is hopeless. Eggs may be served with it, forming steak and eggs, some citrus to act as cleanser, or a sufficient Bloody Mary.

Note: I was recently sent some samples of Silver Springs horseradish products. I was given plain, freshly ground horseradish, as well as flavored: Cranberry Horseradish, Pineapple-Apricot Horseradish, Wasabi Horseradish, as well as two mustard flavors: Deli and Chiptole. In attempts to dig through these products with a more refined nose (after all, horseradish is all in the nose), I thought a head-to-head taste off comparing the products should be in order. I then thought better and decided to prepare a meal specifically for each product, qualifying the merits of the taste paired with each. For some, I will use two products, others I will use three.

Today’s was a simple steak. Though I am sure the Wasabi or Cranberry would have been delicious on steak, I wanted the meat’s simple flavor to really shine through. For this reason, it was the plain horseradish that was used. I found this recipe off of I chose this over others because it was quick and simple. It was one of the few that I found that used no mayonnaise or sour cream and a binder. Because of the few ingredients, both the horseradish and the steak were able to take the platform for their own tasty merits.

Serves 4. Active Time= 10 minutes.
* 4 2-3” thick New York strip steaks
* 2 cups fine breadcrumbs
* ½ cup melted butter
* ½ cup ground horseradish
* ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1) Mix together everything but the steaks; season to taste with salt and pepper.
2) Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill to preferred degree of doneness.
3) When steaks are almost ready, remove from grill, press horseradish crust onto one side of each steak.
4) Place under a hot broiler until breadcrumbs start to toast, you will see the butter bubbling and sizzling.

NOTE: If cooking indoors, as I did, make sure your kitchen is properly ventilated. I cooked my steaks on a HOT griddle, 4 minutes on each side producing medium-rare meat. The steaks were in the broiler for maybe 4 minutes; I saw no butter bubble or sizzle, but the breadcrumbs did toast very nicely.

Please check out my piece on Paper Palate. Paper Palate is part of the WellFed Network.

And for the non-food related segment of this post... WCB #39 hosted by Eat Stuff. Last time I brought you Face Off, today I bring you Disgruntled Bedside Lovers:

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