My husband and I definitely enjoy going out and for a meal every once in a while. I have to tell you though, with a little effort, you can save a ton of money, avoid getting dressed up, and have the security of knowing exactly what is on your plate if you have your date night at home. The weather here right now isn’t exactly beautiful. This Saturday evening we found ourselves wanting something yummy, but we were in no mood to wait for a table or spend a week’s grocery money on one meal.
At the risk of sounding like I am bragging, I have to tell you that when I sat this down on the table, I wondered why I ever pay for a steak and potatoes style meal out. I was pretty proud of my little self. I made this entire menu for around $28.00. That’s less than $15 a person for a meal that I can confirm costs about $25.00 a person at my favorite restaurant.
Organic Grass Fed Sirloin Filets
Parmesan Potato Gratin
Oven Roasted Asparagus
2- 6 oz. grass fed sirloin filets ( I love organic grass fed beef, because I like a lean yet tender steak. This cost a fraction of filet mignon, but has similiar tender and lean characteristics. If that’s not your thing, choose the steak you love the most.)
3- Butter or Yukon Gold Potatoes (These terms are used interchangeably. I just want you to get the right thing, because the type of potato really matters here.)
1/2 pint of heavy cream
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (This needs to be good parmesan reggiano. The stuff in the bag has other ingredients that cause a separation between the cheese and cream and don’t get me started on the stuff in the can. It’s not cheese. It’s salt. Use it on your popcorn.)
1- asparagus bunch
You are going to want to make your potatoes first. While the prep is easy, they take about 1 hour to cook. So, this is the kind of thing you can toss together and then go finish up that magazine you’ve been trying to get through. You’ll start by peeling your potatoes and then slicing them very thin. I mean thin here as in about an 1/8 of an inch. If you have a mandolin slicer, that is the best kitchen tool for this job. I don’t have one simply because I don’t trust myself with it. I am very lucky that I am sitting here typing this with all 10 fingers right now.
After you have your potatoes thinly sliced, you will make one layer in the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. You don’t want to pile the potatoes on top of one another or they’ll never cook properly. Just gently layer them in a single layer. Next, drizzle the cream over the potatoes. You just want a nice little puddle over top of them. Don’t drown them. You should do about 4 layers and at the end your little 1/2 pint of cream will be gone. Next, sprinkle a thin layer of parmesan, salt and pepper. Repeat this four or five times until you’re out of potatoes. Put the dish into a 375 degree oven for 1 hour. To test whether your potatoes are done, put a fork through the middle. They should be super creamy.
About half way through your potatoes cooking, take your steaks from the refrigerator. Before you cook any steak, you want to take the chill off. Cold meat on a hot pan means uneven cooking and chewier than you’d like. Place your steaks on a plate and rub the outside with course black pepper and salt. This is a good cut of beef. Don’t ever ruin it with some concoction of a marinade.
After about 15 minutes, you are going to drizzle some olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, into the bottom of a heavy skillet (cast iron is good here if you have it). Let the skillet get super hot. The oil should be at a slight ripple. Drop your beef onto the pan, and then read this next part carefully. DON’T TOUCH IT. I had to do that in all caps to be sure you’d see it. If you don’t let those steaks make good contact with a hot pan you’ll just have mangled beef and none of that lovely crust that’s about to form.
Before your steak hits the pan toss your asparagus on a sheet pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Send those to the oven alongside your potatoes. Easy enough? The asparagus take about 10 minutes.
The steaks will cook about 4 minutes on each side. Depending on the thickness of your steak and how you like it done, you may need to transfer it to the oven alongside your potatoes and asparagus for a bit. You’ll want 130 degrees for rare and around 155 degrees for medium well. I recommend about 145 degrees for medium. Well done is the equivalent of beef jerky to me, but I won’t judge you if you just can’t take that little strip of pink. I will recommend however that you close your eyes once and try it. You’ll like it.
Pull your potatoes and meat off the heat and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. The meat needs to rest so the juices can redistribute and the potatoes are best when the cream has set up a bit and soaked into the cooked potatoes. Your asparagus can be kept warm by just placing a foil tent over it.
When you serve it, you’ll be impressed with the plate…
Now pour a glass of red wine (I love a Merlot with beef) and enjoy a cozy evening in with the one you love. Ladies, now would be a good time to ask for [insert anything here].