I know... radio silence. It's been a remarkably busy couple of weeks! First, I came down with a case of the flu. Achy, feverish, exhausted, limited appetite - everyone knows the symptoms. I used to think the only downside of being a freelancer was having to manage a complicated and ever-changing schedule. But I quickly learned the other downside: you're sick? You don't work. And there is no such thing as a 'sick day.'
But fortunately I'm feeling like my old self this week (I think these smoky and sweet baby back ribs on Sunday night helped)! And before that, I was working every day for one of my private chef clients, in addition to teaching 6 - 7 children's cooking classes a week and working for another client. It was a runaround pace - but it felt good.
Now I'm back to more reasonable hours and have a delicious Table for One recipe. On Monday, one of my clients asked for a last-minute outdoor barbecue surprise as a result of the beautiful and unseasonably warm weather. I love all surprises including food and was excited to start cooking. Someone else manned the grill, but I made a homemade chocolate frosted cake, Caprese salad, another one of my favorite salads, baked beans and guacamole - in addition to a hefty fruit platter. It was all so casual, so pleasant and so gorgeous out, that I knew I had to make myself something special once I got home.
On the way, I stopped at Citarella's and was taken in by a big, rosy filet mignon steak. I'll admit - 8 oz is too much for one person, but I wasn't feeling super reasonable and I was so thrilled to have my appetite back! I bought a bunch of crunchy green asparagus (wistfully imagining it was spring) and some baby Yukon gold potatoes.
Once home, I trimmed the asparagus and scrubbed the potatoes. I set the oven to 425 degrees and chopped up the potatoes into small pieces (the only way they'll roast quickly without parboiling). I tossed the asparagus and potatoes with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet. The potatoes got a sprinkling of freshly chopped rosemary. In the oven they went for 40 minutes, to be flipped half-way through baking.
I used some briney sea salt to sprinkle on top of my filet and some freshly cracked black pepper - and then let it sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes. I melted 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted and very hot, I added the steak (make sure there's a big sizzle - if not, immediately take it out of the skillet and let the oil/butter mixture become hotter). I seared the steak on one side for 4 minutes and then flipped it with tongs for another 4 minutes. I carefully drained out most of the butter/oil mixture into a separate bowl (you don't want the excess fat spraying all over your oven) and placed the skillet and steak in the oven with the potatoes and asparagus. I left the steak in the oven to finish cooking for 10 minutes.
While the steak was roasting, I made a quick steak sauce out of some condiments I had in the fridge. I whisked together 1 T sour cream, 1/2 T Dijon mustard and 1/2 T horseradish with a little pepper. The steak (cooked to medium - roast it longer if you want it more done) and vegetables were ready to come out at the same time. Remember! Don't reach for the skillet with bare hands - make sure you use a pot holder (this comes from someone who has made this mistake before). Let the steak rest 5 minutes and squeeze some lemon on the asparagus.
This meal was reminiscent of a steak house dinner. Juicy, satisfying and (almost) unbelievably easy. It takes a bit of time, but is worth it when you have some time to spare. It felt luxurious to treat myself to something beyond a typical dinner of leftovers or snack food (yogurt, banana). Happily, I created my own barbecue surprise.