Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad! (Filets with Salsa Verde and Garlicy Grilled Potato Wedges)

Today is my dad's birthday. And while he wasn't quite the culinary influence in my life that my mom was, I give him due credit in fulfilling another part of my foodie development. The man LOVES food - particularly meat and potatoes - but surprisingly enough has an appreciation for the more sophisticated side of food. I recall a time in college when he dropped by me and my girlfriends' house with a basket of goodies from Central Market (the other Whole Foods of Austin, TX.)

That basket was filled with a high quality balsamic vinegar and other epicurean goodies that I had absolutely no appreciation for at the time. I remember thinking - what the hell am I going to do with this? Well, a good ten years later, I now know what to do, and am dually and belatedly, appreciative. And now, when I find myself lost in a grocery store or a gourmet market in Manhattan, completely seduced by the plethora of options and possibilities around me, I know who to blame.

Happy Birthday Dad!!! I love you!!!

(ps - the pic above is my hubby - not my dad:)

Filets with Salsa Verde and Garlicy Grilled Potato Wedges
Serves 4.

4 fillet mignon, or NY Strip steaks
salt and pepper

Salsa Verde:
large handful fresh, washed cilantro
8-10 fresh mint leaves
small handful fresh washed flat leaf parsley
zest of 1/2 lemon
good pinch salt
small pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

Potato wedges:
3 Russet Potatoes, cut in half, length-wise, then each half cut into quarters length wise (so you have 8 'wedges' per potato)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 scant teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

lots of aluminum foil

1. Prepare the salsa verde by putting all of the ingredients into a blender or processor and pulsing until the herbs are set aside. Taste for salt and pepper, adjusting if necessary. Transfer to a small serving bowl with a spoon and have ready, standing by.

2. Grease the grates of your grill with peanut oil or vegetable oil (you can use a paper towel doused with oil to wipe down the grates.) Preheat the grill to medium high heat - about 400. Meanwhile, place the potato wedges into a large bowl and add the seasonings - the garlic cloves through the red pepper flakes.

3. Prepare the potato 'tray' overlapping two long sheets of aluminum foil by about 3 inches on the overlap. Dump the potatoes onto the center, making sure they all lay flat and do not overlap with one another and also that you leave an even border around them of at least 2 inches. Add a top layer of foil directly over the center, then fold over the edges to crimp and seal.

3. Transfer the potatoes to the center of the grill and shut the top for 15 minutes.

4. After the potatoes have been cooking 15 minutes, open the grill and flip them carefully and quickly. Immediately season the steaks on both side with salt and pepper, and grill about 5-6 minutes per side for medium/well for thinner steaks or 7-8 for thicker steaks (obviously less time if you like rarer and maybe more for well.)

5. At this point you can check the potatoes by removing them carefully with tongs and using the tongs or mitts to open a side and check them for doneness. (They should cook for a total of about 40 minutes.) If they're still pale - they'll need more time, and if they're a little blackened - that's okay, though ideally they'll be a deep golden brown on both sides.

6. As soon as the steaks come off the grill, anoint them with a couple spoonfuls of salsa verde, and serve.

No comments: