Yes We Can! As Long As Joe Lieberman Says It’s OK!

So dinner yesterday was not soup, actually. It was steak. The roads improved a bit, so the family set off to buy a Christmas tree. And returned with strip steaks. (And a tree, sure, but let’s concentrate on the important stuff). There were also maitake and brown birch mushrooms. Instead of just making sweet potato fries, I busted out the saladacco and spun a tuber into lovely thin strips which I then double-fried into appealing tangles of sweet, crunchy orange joy. To the steaks I gave what is by now standard procedure when there’s no time for sous vide: brown them in butter and then grate homemade lardo over them while they rest. Then I gave the mushrooms a quick sautée in the steak skillet and deglazed with a little wine. That little grey mound next to meathenge is a mixture of grated daikon and black radish mixed with salt, pepper, truffle oil, and kimchi brine.

I should have taken the picture a minute later, after I added homemade red onion-habañero pickles and a fat dab of mustard to the plate. Lest anybody reach for their pearls at the dearth of greenery- that little thyme sprig only highlights it, really- there was a big bowl of lovely winter mesclun also in attendance. These fries need a tetch of tweaking to attain perfection, but they’re close. And I should have made a post-mushroom pan sauce since they bogarted most of the wine I poured in. To make up for it, I poured some wine into myself- a 2003 Ada Nada Barbaresco “Valeirano”- that ably tarted up this barely glorified pub fare.

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  1. Zoomie
    December 10

    I'm intrigued by the sweet potato nest – looks like pasta. Wish I had a device that would do that with sweet potatoes. Might have to ask Santa for that.

  2. Zoomie
    December 10

    Just looked online and found several – does yours have several blades? Care to share the brand name?

  3. genevelyn
    December 11

    love your low-fat cooking, Peter

  4. The Spiteful Chef
    December 11

    Zoomie: I make sweet potato nests using an apple peeler/corer. If you have one of those, you can do the same thing, albeit slightly more labor intensive.

    Peter–your steaks are gorgeous. It's like you don't even need sous-vide.

  5. peter
    December 11

    Zoomie: Benriner. Amazon has them for about $60. Don't get the cheap one.

    Genevelyn: I know, but a pat of butter and a teaspoon of lardo make a steak into a sex act.

    Kristie: I've been using it less lately, since my skillet mojo is improving. But it's still nice to have around for pâtés, etc.

  6. Zoomie
    December 13

    Spiteful Chef and Peter, thanks for the tips. I do have an apple peeler, inherited from My Beloved's mother – I'll try that first. If that doesn't work, I'll look for the Benriner.

  7. Miss jane
    May 18

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