It’s not that we haven’t been cooking lately – far from it. Sometimes, the finished plate is too underwhelming to blog. More often, it just seems that we’re so eager to eat that we photograph everything but the finished dish.
In that spirit, before we even cook dinner tonight, here’s a way to prep steak that takes it far, far beyond the ordinary. This is adapted from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill.
Take an ounce (by weight) of dried wild mushrooms. Porcini are recommended, but shiitake or a mix of the two would be just fine. Grind them to a fine powder in the cheapo coffee grinder you keep to grind things other than coffee. You’ll get about 1/4 cup of powder.
Mix that up with a few cloves of garlic-minced-and-mashed-with-salt, 1 Tbsp sugar (which will add crusty goodness to your steak), 1 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1.5 Tbsp kosher salt, or the same amount of today’s mystery ingredient (which we’ll discuss below).
Add enough olive oil – maybe 1/3 cup? – to make a slurry that’s slightly more liquidy-spoonable than it is solidly-spreadable, and anoint your steaks with a good layer of this umami-splosive. The recipe above is enough for 2 or 3 rib-eyes, or 4 strip steaks.
Marinate your steaks in the fridge for anywhere from 2-12 hours, remove it 1 hour before cooking, and grill away.
Salamoia Bolognese: a mix of chopped fresh herbs preserved in salt (or, if you prefer, salt infused with fresh herbs). This particular blend contains sage, rosemary, garlic, and pepper. You can also find it with lemon zest. It’s an amazing way to add fresh herb flavour to chicken, beef, and pork without having to buy little bunches of herbs that – minus the 8% that you use – turn black in your fridge. The stuff lasts indefinitely. You can find it at Italian grocers. You’re welcome.