Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Steak au Poivre w/ Wasabi-Parsley Sauce

Add a little green to your palate. Does a better way exist to usher in spring? Okay, so I gaze longingly as I pass florists wishing on the first buds from the trees. I envy the recent talk regarding the planting of summer gardens. I occasionally under dress in the recent frosty spell, in hopes the weather forecast is wrong and spring is really here (not just on the calendar). Thoughts of lighter foods are on my mind, picnics, beaches, camping and farm visits (I love heading out of the city to seek out local grown produce). But why not a little steak before we finally say goodbye to winter?

On a recent Costco run, D and I nabbed a few steaks, hence the recent postings on steak. Costco is a tricky business. While I like to buy organic and from green markets as often as possible, I am still quite poor (the glories of fulfilling your dreams and living check to check) and cannot always afford quality organic pickings. And while I do not think everything is a bargain at Costco-- I can often beat the prices of fresh produce at my local markets-- I do think for a few essentials, if you have the room and do your comparative shopping magic, it can be worth a trip. Plus, I have found they have a fairly decent meat/ seafood department.

These steaks have been patient with us; quietly awaiting consumption in the freezer. As the fresh produce comes to an end and bellies are a’grumblin’ steak was the chosen one today. In honor of spring, the theme was green. Okay, I had some wilting parsley itching to be used.

Parsley is the underrated herb. Sadly, it often makes its appearance as a mere garnish, rarely taking center stage: A sprinkle here jazzes up soup; a bouquet there adds some color. Its crisp, salty wetness is rarely highlighted as main flavoring.

For me, parsley took center stage on my family’s Seder plate. Once a year it was my highlight of the service: dipping the leafy herb into salt water. Greedily (or perhaps to really remember the salty tears?) I often dipped two or three bunches, relishing the refreshment. I came to love parsley out of humoring myself. Later, there was a time when I always ate the garnish on my plate first—I defended this action declaring I was cleansing my palate. Sometimes it was a flower I would nibble gingerly at, more often than not, it was a large sprig of parsley.

Today this delicate herb will take a much deserved bow. Boldly it will rest atop my steak and declare itself victorious in the tango of taste. This is a sauce that is easy to prepare. It is light, refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to this steak, as I am sure it would be to other meat, poultry or fish dishes. I often think of sauces as thick, creamy and full of fat. And while I love dipping my food into them, I often avoid them. This is one that need not fall in with this bad rap. For a little kick I added some wasabi horseradish. Plain wasabi or horseradish would do the trick as well.

Serving Size= 2. Active Time= 10 minutes.
* 2 steaks, preferred cut
* 1 cup parsley, tightly packed
* 2 Tbl Silver Springs wasabi horseradish; 2 tsp plain wasabi or 1-2 Tbl plain horseradish would also add a kick
* 1 Tbl olive oil
* salt/ pepper

1) Preheat a pan on medium-high heat. Wash the steaks; pat dry. Add salt and ample fresh ground pepper to both sides. When pan is hot, add steak.
2) While steaks are cooking, prepare the Wasabi-Parsley Sauce. Using a blender, add parsley, wasabi horseradish, olive oil and salt/ pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and set aside.
3) Finish cooking the steaks. I give mine about 5 minutes on either side, depending on thickness, for a nice medium-rare. Once ready, spoon on sauce and enjoy.

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