Friday, February 19, 2010
Southwestern Filet Mignon over Coriander Futuccini Alfredo
As promised - my Valentine's Day dinner - a little late...
This meal is a knockout. Filet Mignon is a treat and what I was going for on Valentine's Day but this marinade would probably be even better with a skirt or flank steak.
These two dishes - the steak and pasta - are wonderfully compatible in that they cook at the same time. Just have the pasta water boiling and ready, then wait to add the pasta to it when you put the steaks in the oven. Even if the steaks need longer than the time the pasta takes to cook, you can drain the pasta once al dente, saving a little pasta water to revive it later, and return it to the same pot mixing in the butter and parmesan to melt. Put the lid on while you wait for the steak and all will be forgiven.
I had never eaten steak over pasta before, finding the idea up until now somewhat disloyal both to steakhouses and Italians, but this is a perfect example of why rules are made to be broken.
One last nerdy tidbit - did you know that coriander and cilantro are the same thing? I'd like to say I had always known this, but truth be told, I only learned this about five years ago. Cilantro are actually the leaves of the coriander plant while 'coriander' is what the seeds or fruit are referred to as in the spice aisle (either as whole seeds or ground.)
The funny thing is that when I was little, I used to get so mad when my mom would put cilantro in her guacamole or salsa (my older siblings loved it!) Well who could blame them? Looking back I can't imagine having any emotions towards this hypnotic herb besides love and affection. See why I included it on Valentine's Day? You can keep your caviar and lobster, thank you.
Southwestern Steak Marinade Recipe and Instructions:
2 nice sized Filet Mignon OR a 1 1/2 pounds flank or skirt steak or steak of your preference
2 obese garlic cloves, chopped, or 4 small
2 tablespoon chipotle puree
large handful of cilantro - stalks and all - chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
zest of 1 small lime
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
3 tablespoons orange juice
fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots
Mix the marinade together. Place fillets inside a large ziploc. Pour the marinade over and smush around to make sure all sides are coated. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, removing at least a half hour before cooking.
To cook, heat your oven to 375. Grease a stovetop grill and place it over medium heat, letting heat up for a few minutes or until it feels hot when you hold your hand within a couple inches from it. Remove the steaks from the marinade, scraping off any big bits of garlic/cilantro/shallot/etc. Season both sides WELL with kosher or sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add the steaks to the grill, cooking about 3 minutes per side or just until you get really nice marks and the steak pulls away easily from the grill with tongs.
Transfer to a small, greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until cooked medium. If your steaks are particularly large, you may need to keep them in for 15-18 minutes to reach medium. And of course - if they're small, try putting them in for less to begin - you can always return them to the oven but once they're cooked - they're cooked.
Remove the steaks and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Slice on the bias and serve in a fan over your pasta. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro and the spiced pine nuts, recipe below.
Coriander Futuccini Alfredo with Spiced Pine Nuts
1/2 pound fettucini or linguini
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, or up to 1/2 teaspoon if you really want that punch
good grating fresh cracked pepper - at least 1/3 teaspoon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
splash pasta water
handful freshly chopped cilantro
Heat a medium lidded pot of water over high heat. Let reach a boil - it will bubble away until you're ready to add the pasta. Once ready, add a small handful of kosher or sea salt. Let return to a boil then add the pasta, cooking for just 7 minutes or until al dente. Syphon off 1/3 cup of pasta water for later, then drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot and immediately stir in the coriander , pepper, butter, and Parmesan. If serving right away, add in a small bit of salt, a splash of the reserved pasta water and fresh cilantro. If not serving right away, cover with the lid and hold off adding these last ingredients until just before serving.
Spiced Pine Nuts:
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted at 350 for 5 minutes or JUST until golden brown. As soon as removed from the oven, toss with 1/4 a teaspoon olive oil, tiny pinch salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon coriander. Set aside until you're ready for them.