Okay, so I probably want a little overboard with dinner for our anniversary last night, but it was certainly worth it. It was a lot of work to get everything prepared and it was an awful lot of food for just the three of us (of course Sean joined us for dinner), but everything tasted great so I had nothing to complain about. I went to the store yesterday morning and picked out some nice-looking rib-eye steaks to make and with a little help from Denise Landis of The New York Times I was able to put together a quick port wine pan sauce to go with the steaks. Both were pretty easy to do.
Pan Seared Rib-eye Steaks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (8-to 10-ounce) rib-eye steaks, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick
Salt and pepper
1 recipe Port Wine Pan Sauce (to follow)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Lay the steaks in the pan, leaving 1/4 inch between the steaks. Cook, without moving the steaks, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steaks and continue to cook until the meat registers 115 to 120° (for rare) or 120 to 125° (for medium-rare), 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil to rest or while preparing the pan sauce, then serve.
Port Wine Pan Sauce
1 small shallot, minced
1 small onion, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup ruby port
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
In the same skillet that the steaks were seared in, add the shallot, onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the ruby port, stirring to loosen any browned bits. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and gently swirl into the sauce until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetables back into the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in till slightly thickened about 1 to 2 minutes more. Off the heat, add in the fresh thyme and gently mix. Serve the sauce on the side with the steaks.
The steaks were cooked perfectly and have great flavor to them even though the only spices I added were salt-and-pepper. I actually cooked them for about 2 minutes longer so they were closer to medium, but you want to make them to your own personal preference. The pan sauce was just right for the steaks. I love the taste that the port wine adds to the sauce on it blended well with the shallots, onion and mushrooms. It also tasted great on the mashed potatoes that I made to go along on the side.
And the other dish that I made to go along with the meal was a very simple bacon wrapped shrimp. This doesn’t have to be a messy project or a big production; there are really only three ingredients to the entire recipe and most of the work goes into the preparation and not the cooking itself.
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
24 large uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
6 slices bacon, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak seasoning
Preheat the oven to 450°. Cover the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Insert a wire rack into the baking sheet. Spray the baking sheet with nonstick vegetable spray. Wrap each shrimp in a 1/4 slice of bacon, being sure to wrap the bacon tightly. Secure the bacon with toothpicks if necessary. Place the shrimp on the wire rack in the baking sheet. Sprinkle the shrimp with the steak seasoning on both sides.
When the oven has come up to temperature, place the baking sheet inside the oven and bake the shrimp until opaque and the bacon has begun to crisp, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
It doesn’t get much easier than this one. There are a couple of notes to take into mind when making this for yourself. First, make sure that you using large shrimp for this particular recipe. The size of the shrimp will take just about as long to roast in the oven as the bacon will to crisp so you won’t end up with any rubbery shrimp. If you are using smaller shrimp such as a medium-sized shrimp, you may want to think about cooking the bacon slightly before you wrap the shrimp to make sure that the bacon will be crisp at the same time the shrimp is done. You don’t have to use the steak seasoning if you don’t want to, although I think it added a nice flavor to the shrimp and the bacon. You could also use a barbecue sauce instead of the seasoning if you wanted to try something a little different. Having the shrimp up on the wire rack in the pan allows the air to get underneath and the heat to get underneath so that the bacon and the shrimp both cook on both sides. You could also put the shrimp on a skewer if you didn’t want to use toothpicks, or if you wrap the bacon tight enough, as I tried to do, you don’t really need any toothpicks at all.
I also served a side dish of roasted asparagus for the vegetable. Overall, I think it was a pretty good meal and we all seem to enjoy it. There were some leftovers of course but will be able to re-purpose them for another meal.
That’s all there is for today. Check back next time this see the recipes I use for dinner tonight. I’m hoping to get to the Ethiopian stir-fry tonight; I’m curious as to how well that one will turn out. Check back and see how it goes. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!