There are few things in life that get much better than this. At the same time, there are few folks that really can pull off a perfect steak and salad meal. I will be the first to admit that I have made a mistake on occasion in the past. I do very well nowdays with this, however. The ironic thing about this dinner is that it is very easy to put together. The secret is in knowing how to cook your steak to the level of "done" that you desire. I am going to show you how to make this dish exactly as you like it and when finished, you will know how simple it was to do. By the way, this recipe is for two people. Additionally, remember to have all the ingredients together and ready to use. Prepping is very important.
Let's start by spraying your frying pan with Pam so that we don't have a lot of sticking going on. Set your heat to high to start, heat pan a bit, and add about 3 tablespoons of your olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Allow oil to heat until you begin to see it smoke. The secret in getting your meat nice and caramelized is in getting your oil nice and hot before frying.
Now that the oil is nice and hot, add your meat and make sure that it is UNSEASONED. Salt added to raw meat will draw out the moisture and your finished steak may end up dryer than otherwise. Since cooking time plays a role in this, you may not notice a measureable difference, but play it safe and wait on the salt. Pepper will simply burn and lose its character, so wait on the pepper also. In this dish, you will be salting and peppering the sauce that we will make after the steak has been cooked. Allow 2 minutes on each side for rare, 3 minutes for medium to medium rare. I am doing 2 minutes each side.
While cooking, if your pan is getting too hot, you may turn your heat to medium high. You don't want a charred pan bottom. Once your meat is cooked to your liking, it should have a nice caramelized outer layer. Remove from pan and set on a plate uncovered. Now remove half the oil from the pan and turn your heat to medium, add your garlic, then the wine, and with a spatula, rub the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing. Stir and add your butter. Cook about a minute or two to reduce liquid and allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Sauce should begin changing from red to a deeper reddish brown. Now add the parsley, salt, and pepper, stir, and give it a little taste for proper seasoning. Then for the final 30 seconds, add your steak back in along with any juices left in the plate. Take the steak out, slice into a few thick pieces, and spoon sauce over the top.
Hand cut your Romaine lettuce and toss with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Serve on a separate dish. Enjoy your meal with a nice Merlot, Pinot, or Bordeaux. And don't forget that nice crusty French bread so that you can soak up all that sauce. Yum! (photos by D Roche)