Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sumac Steak, Or Why I Don't Eat Out Much

This plate makes me happy. Meat, starch and vegetables in equal proportions. Nothing that looks like a side of brontosaurus. No puddles of gravy/grease/glop. You can eat it all and still have dessert. Why can't you order this? Why do American, sit-down restaurants insist that a meal consists of a pound of meat, french fries and two ounces of vegetables? I know they must be serving what people want, but it grosses me out.

Did I mention that most of my date nights involve Chipotle and Netflix?

Sumac is not gross at all - it's fabulous! Are you thinking of poison sumac? Same genus, different species. Sumac is a red berry which is dried and ground into a powdered spice that shows up in lots of different Middle Eastern foods. The flavor is similar to lemon, but milder and more savory. You can find it in any Middle Eastern market, or some larger grocery stores. It works when you need an acidic solid, as in this spice rub.

(Stay Home For) Sumac Steak
1 1/2-2 lb sirloin or flank steak
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground sumac

In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of salt, cumin and sumac. Set your oven to 400 and put a heavy skillet on a high burner. While you are waiting for them to heat up, blot the meat dry with paper towels and sprinkle the remaining salt on both sides.

For flank steak, you may want to add half a teaspoon of oil first, but a sirloin has sufficient fat to be added to the pan dry. Sear the meat in the skillet to brown the crust, about five minutes per side. Massage a liberal coating of the spice mix all over the steak. There will probably be some left, but not too much.
Either return the steak to your skillet, or put it on a foil-lined pan and cook it in the oven for about ten minutes more, depending on the thickness and how done you like it. Rest for seven or eight minutes, then slice thinly across the grain.
Steak dinner for four, no Lipitor or second mortgage required.

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