Oenophile (\ˈē-nə-ˌfī(-ə)l\): a lover or connoisseur of wine
Am I a lover of wine? Absolutely. Would I consider myself a connoisseur? Absolutely not.
Maybe that’s why I hung onto a bottle of 2001 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that was so graciously gifted to me by my friend Annie when she came to visit Dr. O and me in Dallas in 2008. It was way nicer than anything we’d typically buy for ourselves (I’m an $8 – $15 bottle kind of gal), so I figured we’d save it for a special occasion. Somehow, though, after many special occasions and two moves, the bottle was still sitting on a wine rack in my basement.
Since one of my goals for 2012 is focus more on the present (I’m a compulsive planner!), I figured there was no better reason to enjoy the wine than to have a date night dinner at the house with Dr. O. Good red wine requires steak, though, right? After scanning several recipes on Martha Stewart’s website, I found my winner: Balsamic Skirt Steak with Polenta and Roasted Tomatoes. The end result was absolutely wine worthy and something I plan to make again and again.
Balsamic Skirt Steak with Polenta and Roasted Tomatoes
Prep time: 35 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes
2 pints grape tomatoes
6 scallions, white and green parts separated and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (cut into 2 or more pieces, if necessary, to fit in skillet)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, set 4 cups water to boil. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes with scallion whites and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are tender and some skins have split, 12 to 15 minutes; toss with scallion greens.
Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon salt to boiling water; gradually whisk in cornmeal. Simmer very gently over low heat, whisking occasionally, until polenta is thickened and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Whisk in butter and Parmesan, and keep warm over very low heat (whisk in some water just before serving if polenta becomes too thick).
Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high. Season steak with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest, 5 to 10 minutes (reserve skillet).
Add vinegar to skillet, and boil over high until reduced to 1/2 cup, 5 to 7 minutes; stir in any juices from resting steak. Slice steak, and serve with vinegar sauce, polenta, and tomatoes.
Source: Everyday Food, March 2008
- I used flank steak instead of skirt steak.
- I cooked my steak for 6 minutes on each side (12 minutes total) for medium meat.
- I checked my balsamic 3 minutes into the reduction process, and it was already way too reduced. Keep an eye on it and take it off when it has a syrupy consistency.
Honestly, this is the best meal I’ve made in ages. (I couldn’t help but compliment myself repeatedly as we were eating… Ridiculous, I know, but I deserved the praise!) The flavors and the cooking methods were so simple, but I think that’s why everything was so amazing. Roasting really brought out the sweetness in the tomatoes, the scallions had some bite to them, and the steak had a wonderfully seasoned crust from cooking over high heat. The polenta was creamy and absolutely heavenly when the vegetable and steak juices were mixed in.
Great food + fantastic wine + the company of someone you love = an unbeatable evening. Happy New Year, everyone!