Thursday, July 1, 2010

If You Make Enough Changes To A Recipe, Does It Become An Original?

Welcome back to Out Of The Culinary! Tonight's blog title says it all. When I set out to pick my Thursday recipe, I wanted to find something that was simple to make - yet complex in flavor. I wanted to use ingredients I was familiar with, but use them in a way I had never done before. After some searching, I found the recipe I was looking for - however, things began to go off track with this recipe right away...and what I ended up with was nothing close to the recipe (but still very good!)

The Recipe: Butterflied Steak Sarnie
Original Recipe From: Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals

(Yes, the link works again! However, it looks like it wasn't due to a shortage of the book - but rather Amazon's outage on Tuesday)

What You'll Need:

2 Large Portobello Mushrooms*
2 X 7 Oz. Fillet Mignon Steaks
Sea Salt & Black Pepper

(Yup, that's it!)

* Quick note on the portobello mushrooms. First, some people call them portabellA mushrooms, others portobellO. I've always heard them called portabella, and when I saw the recipe call for portobello - I decided to do some digging on the difference between the two. It turns out, there is none. Whether you call it portobello or portabella seems to be a result of 1) your region and 2) what commercial / advertisement you've just seen. It seems the only difference between the A and the O is marketing fluff. Marketers refer to the mushroom in one way in one region of the US, another in a different region (all based on their scientific charts of what will sell best where I guess...) So, which is the 'correct' version? Neither.

Two, large portobello mushrooms

It turns out that portobello mushrooms are actually brown crimini mushrooms, just undersized. Does your head hurt yet? I know mine does. For the purposes of the blog tonight, I'm calling them portobello mushrooms. Enough about mushrooms...moving on-

Begin by slicing your portobello mushrooms. Slice off the stem and then trim the bottom edge so the entire mushroom is flat across the bottom (if you sit it on a countertop, it shouldn't 'wobble'). Place your grill pan on medium heat and while the pan is warming up, toss your mushrooms on - bottom down. Press them into the pan while it is heating up. Once the underside is nice and charred (after about 2 minutes or so) flip the mushroom over and grill the top side for another minute. Once charred to satisfaction - set the mushrooms aside.

Give the mushrooms a good press, to achieve the charred result 

Next, turn your attention to your steaks. Now, here is where my experience and the recipe's direction begin to separate. Jamie's recipe calls for fillet mignon. We were not able to obtain fillet mignon this week (I.E. not in the budget!) so we went with a very high quality ribeye instead. I assumed "steak is steak and a quality cut of one should be as good as a quality cut of another"...wrong.

You are supposed to butterfly the steak by taking a sharp knife and slowly slicing back and forth across the middle section of the meat. Once you get to the end, pull the meat back and open it like a book. According to Mr. Oliver, this is incredibly simple and should only take a few moments. Well...I didn't have such luck. I'm not sure if it was the wrong cut of meat, our knives weren't sharp enough or if something else entirely was getting in the way, but I could not - absolutely could NOT slice through that bugger. All I ended up making was a nice meat 'pouch' in one of the steaks.

Attempting to butterfly my didn't go well 

Taking a step back, I surveyed the situation. We picked up a very thin ribeye to begin with - this, I decided, would be good enough for our purposes. Since the ribeye was already thin, it was essentially the same effect as butterflying it. So, I decided against butterflying the steak - mainly because I wasn't able to. (Everything else in this recipe does not change wether you managed to butterfly your steak or not, so feel free to continue following along.)

Next, season your steaks with rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper. Simply sprinkle some of the seasoning on your cutting board and push each steak into the seasonings. This works them into the meat and really cooks in the flavor.

Rosemary, basil, salt & pepper - right on the cutting board 

I had to improvise here (yet again). As I turned to our spice rack to grab the rosemary, I noticed something was missing...mainly, rosemary. It turns our, we had run ourselves out of rosemary and had yet to pick any more up. Thinking on the fly, I substituted the rosemary with another strong herb - basil.

Once your steaks are seasoned, drizzle each with a little bit of olive oil and place them in your grill pan. (Still on medium heat). If you managed to butterfly your steak, you should only need to cook them for about 4 minutes in total - flipping every minute. This will give you a medium-rare steak. Longer time (obviously) will yield a slightly more cooked steak. Since our ribeye was a little thicker, I had to cook them for about 7 minutes, still rotating every minute.


Halfway home!

Once the steaks are done, simply top them with your grilled mushrooms and serve. Since we still had some italian bread left from Maggie's recipe yesterday, I threw that on the grill pan for about 30 seconds to toast it and added it as a side as well. Jamie recommends serving up the steak with a side of dijon mustard. Since we're not British - we opted for a side of good ol' American steak sauce instead. All that's left is to enjoy!

Slicing up the last minute addition to the recipe 

The Results:


All in all, the end result was still delicious. Even though my version of butterflied steak sarnie wasn't exactly butterflied...or fillet mignon...or seasoned with rosemary, it was still a very tasty dish! As I hinted at yesterday, tonight was the first time I had ever eaten a mushroom. (Setting all sorts of firsts this week - first a return to peas, now mushrooms!). I have to say, they are not as bad as I always thought they were. When you cook a portobello mushroom on a grill, it gives it a 'nutty' flavor. A slice of mushroom on top of a slice of steak produced a very flavorful result. The basil was a nice last minute substitute for rosemary and really enhanced the steak's meaty flavor.

That being said, I don't know if I'll use mushrooms again like I did tonight. Slicing them up and adding them to a dish does seem to have its merits, however, using a giant portobello mushroom as a topper to a slice of meat seemed a little overbearing. When combining a bite of steak with an equal size bite of mushroom, the mushroom's flavor overpowered and all you ended up with was a nutty tasting mouthful. Small bites of mushroom balanced this issue out, but that left a lot of leftover mushroom long after the steak was gone.

Live and learn, that's our motto - and we certainly did that tonight. I don't think this one will make our big book of repeat recipes, although the steak seasoned with basil will (It was really good!) The recipe is still enjoyable and I would recommend you give it a try. The only changes I would make is to reduce the number of mushrooms to one. That way you can slice it in half and share it between the two steaks. That will result in a better balance of flavor, and a lot less mushroom leftovers.

That's all we have for you tonight! Thank you once again for stopping by and sharing our cooking experiences with us. We're off tomorrow and don't have a major post planned for Saturday (that doesn't mean we wont post a 'quick hit' about something interesting in the culinary world...stop in Saturday to see what we're up to) We will have a post on Sunday, we're going to be cooking up another breakfast recipe - be sure to stop in then to see what we've got cooking. Until then,


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