Saturday, October 07, 2006


Posh Guy Food

Sometimes my angelheart Eric and I just want a nice slab of steak. Well, Eric would be happy with a slab of meat every other day providing he also has seafood on the alternate days - since I do not take well to all forms of seafood and because I object to consuming too much red meat, Eric gets his slab of meat once a week (keep your minds clean, people!). Okay, perhaps not a slab of meat, but a nice New York cut suits us just fine.

This time, we took our cue for the marinade and salad dressing from Kate Fay and Jeremy Turner's Cibo: Food with Attitude, in which the recipes are taken from their repertoire of predominantly fusion dishes (New Zealand fare interlacing sauces and rubs from Asia and the Middle East) served at Cibo in Auckland, New Zealand.

We marinated the steak overnight in Fay and Turner's Sumac Crust, to which we added soy sauce and honey. Because sumac is distinctively smoky and citrusy (augmented by the herbs used), we wanted to round it out so as not to compete with the dressing for our salad. Do not get me wrong, the sumac crust is outstanding, and it is only because we were concerned with pairing flavours that we turned it into a marinade.

Speaking of the dressing, we had neither sunflower oil nor mirin, so we focused on highlighting the simultanous sweetness and tartness of the pomegranate molasses. We also substituted the call for white wine vinegar with dry vermouth, mostly because we find it slightly less acidic and, consequently, less overpowering. This dressing works superbly as a counterbalance to the arugula's pepperiness, which is mellowed out by the nuttiness of bean sprouts. A more-than-fabulous combination.

Before getting on to the ingredients and methods of preparation, I have to meantion the ease of pressing out the juice of a pomegranate and of picking out the seeds. I have often heard that it is difficult to do both, but I find it to be reasonably easy. To exact the pomegranate's juice, lightly squeeze all around the pomegrante before simply inserting the blade of a paring knife 1"/2.5cm into the pomegranate. Hold the pomegranate such that the incision mark is held over a bowl, and then squeeze the fruit. The juice should be fairly free-flowing with tight squeezes. To extract the seeds, insert the blade of a paring knife into the top of the pomegranate and abruptly crank it. The pomegranate should gently open, and you can then tear across its naturally occurring segements (designated by the pith). Once deconstructed, you can then pick out or gently flick the seeds into the vessel of your choice.

The following quantites are enough for two, or at least for us :-p

New York Steak with Sumac Marinade
(Adapted from Kate Fay and Jeremy Turner's Cibo: Food with Attitude)

4 tablespoons sumac
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic puree
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey (we use Pohutakawa honey from New Zealand)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil

1) Combine above ingredients together, using the olive oil last as a binding agent.
2) Coat New York steaks and marinade for at least 4 hours.
3) Pat steaks dry before pan-frying in a heavy-bottomed skillet to your satisfaction (we prefer our beef rare).

Arugula and Bean Sprout Salad with Pomegranate and Honey Dressing
(Adapted from Kate Fay and Jeremy Turner's Cibo: Food with Attitude)

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vermouth or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sumac
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
seeds of 1/2 fresh pomegranate
arugula, enough for two
bean sprouts, enough for two

1) Combine above ingredients bar the pomegranate seeds, arugula, and bean sprouts.
2) When combined well, toss in the arugula and gently fold in most of the pomegranate seeds, leaving some to sprinkle once the salad has been constructed.
3) To construct salad: Make a bed of arugula, then add bean sprouts, and top this off with the reserved pomegranate seeds. Posted by Picasa

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This sounds really tasty, unfortunately I don't have a bunch of those ingredients, (I've never used sumac)... I'll have to experiment with what I can substitute.
There's nothing wrong with a nice steak every so often, especially one such as this.

My fave cut is a simple T-Bone, which seems to have the best flavour and texture combination. Definately mans' food.
Brilynn - Yes, it is indeed very tasty. If you cannot get your hands on sumac (readily available in Middle Eastern stores, if you have one that is handy to you), I would suggest a combination of paprika and ground cardamom. The paprika will give you smoky sweetness while the cardamom will impart a light citrus note. There may be other spices that work well, but this combination would get you pretty close to achieving what sumac does.

Scott - I can never quite finish a T-bone. The New York steak just about kills me as it is. How do you like to tart up your steak?
Hi Shaun - I'll be borrowing that sumac-marinade recipe, as I've bought some sumac recently and would like to try something new with it. Thanks!
This sounds good. I've come across sumac in other recipes, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen any of it over here...I must add it to my list of things to find :)

Pille and Jasmine - Trust me, once you start using sumac, you will start thinking of all sorts of ways to add it. I was not sure at first that I liked the idea of a citrusy spice (though I love citrus fruit), but this marinade is really outstanding. Eric is the biggest convert...he cannot stop praising its complex flavours. Enjoy!
Shaun, it sounds absolutely amazing. And I'm with Eric - slab of meat alternated with seafood! Heaven on a plate!

Thanks for sharing.
Ruth - Without blowing our own trumpets, Eric and I think that the sumac marinade is really outstanding. In fact, we made it again last night. Sumac is really worth tracking down, and I'm sure that in your area of Toronto it won't be too difficult.
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