Every so often, I like to treat myself to a steak. During the week, I often settle for a cold sandwich of almond-butter and jelly, chicken salad, or sliced turkey. Lunch is unabashedly dull. If I have the energy, I try to make something more exciting for dinner: fish, perhaps, or even arepas, the Venezuelan corn cakes that I recently discovered.
Fish and arepas are appealing because they are quick and easy to cook. But so is steak and so is couscous (provided I don’t make it more complicated than necessary). And unlike a broiling fish, there’s a certain pleasure in hearing the sizzle of the steak, as the hot iron meets the cool, raw side of the meat. After a quick flip and a few minutes in the oven, the steak is cooked, leaving you five minutes of eager anticipation, as the steak cools and cooks under its foil tent.
If you remember to marinate the sirloin the night before, you can have a great steak dinner in less than thirty minutes. The Israeli couscous makes a nice pairing, because it’s equally quick to make, and adds a nice lightness to the meal. Even if it’s just an ordinary weekday, this meal makes it feel like a special occasion.
sirloin steak with israeli couscous
DOWN TIME: Overnight marinating suggested
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
YIELD: Serves two
WHAT TO GRAB:
One 1-pound sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
2 cups water or broth
2 tablespoons currants
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 heaping cup grape tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. The night before, prepare the marinade. Combine the wine, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well. Place the steak in a ziploc bag, pour the marinade over the steak, press the air out, and seal well. Marinate for at least four hours or overnight, turning once. (If you don’t have the time, you can marinate for 30 minutes in a pinch).
2. The next day, remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plan to cook it ( and 60 minutes for a larger steak).
3. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Bring 2 cups of broth to a boil in a medium saute pan. Pour in the couscous and reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let it stand, covered, for another 5 minutes. Stir in the currants, shallots, pine nuts, lemon zest, and grape tomatoes, and fluff. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush a heavy cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Heat over high-heat until just smoking (this will only take about 5 minutes). Pat the steaks with a paper towel until they are dry. You want the steaks dry so they are being seared and not steamed. Also, do not salt the steak before cooking it.
5. Add the steaks to the skillet, and cook until nicely browned on each side, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer the steaks to the oven, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes (I go a little less than four minutes), or until a meat thermometer reads the proper degree of doneness (Rare is 120°F; Medium Rare is 125°F; Medium is 130ºF).
6. When the steaks are done, remove the skillet from the oven, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time the meat will continue to cook and the internal temperature will generally rise about five to ten degrees.
7. Serve whole or slice thin, at a 45-degree angle, and fan onto a bed of Israeli couscous.