Taking orders for a living — that is, food and beverage orders — I recently realized that orders for a glass of cabernet sauvignon have been overshadowed by the ever so famous Merlot, not to mention the highly popular Pinot Noir (thanks to Hollywood), and the Land from Down Under has dominated the Shiraz market. But are they chosen due to marketing by the wine industry or simply because they have more to offer than what I think is the king of grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon?
Years in the industry have allowed me to taste many wonderful cabs (they are especially tasty if the bottle has had time to age peacefully in a cool good cellar). And many collectors have trusted me to complement their “jewels” with dishes that would allow their wine to settle best on the palette.
Cabernet Sauvignon, matched with high quality meat, game or cheese, offers great pleasure and is often an exquisite partner on the table. Because of the complexity of the varietal, especially if it has been allowed to age for a while, it helps to match the wine to dishes with “focused” flavors such as those suggested in recipes to follow. These recipes let the food showcase the wine, permitting it to be the star that it can be.
I urge you to put on an apron, open a good bottle of Cabernet sauvignon, start slicing and dicing, and take a sip or two. But, more importantly, let the bottle breathe while you cook.
NEW YORK STRIP STEAKS
(off the grill, cooked medium) with Gorgonzola & walnut butter.
4 New York strip steaks (14 oz. each)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs fresh chopped rosemary
Fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients and marinate the steaks for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator. Remove steaks from marinade and set aside in room temperature.
GORGONZOLA & WALNUT BUTTER
8 oz. Gorgonzola cut into small chunks
1 tbs white wine Worcestershire
2 tbs pickled green peppercorns
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnut halves
1 1/2 tbs minced chives
6 drops of Tabasco
Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process for about a minute until mixed thoroughly (can be made ahead, but serve at room temperature).
Preheat garden grill at high temperature; season grill with olive oil rub down. Place steaks on hottest spot (do not touch them) and sear for 2 minutes; with metal spatula, lift steaks and rotate 90 degrees clockwise and (do not touch them) let them sear once again for 2 minutes. With spatula, flip steaks and repeat procedure on other sides. Once seared on both sides (Guinness beer brown), move steaks to a lesser temperature on grill and flip them every 2 minutes back and forth for another 6-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Flip again to the plate and serve immediately with generous dollop of Gorgonzola & walnut butter on top.
GRILLED VEAL CHOPS
with Roasted Eggplant and Cherry
4 Center cut veal Chops (16 oz each)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs chopped shallots
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
Fresh cracked black pepper
Combine ingredients and marinate in refrigerator for 4-5 hours. Remove chops from marinade and set aside at room temperature.
ROASTED EGGPLANT & CHERRY TOMATO RAGOUT
2 medium globe eggplants (peeled) and
cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 lb. whole cherry tomatoes
2 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tbs toasted fennel seeds and cracked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt; place on baking sheet and roast in oven for 1/2 hour; next cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In sauté pan, add remaining olive oil along with onions and garlic, sauté 3 minutes until translucent, add tomatoes, herbs, fennel seeds and eggplant and cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Season to taste, keep warm.
Preheat garden grill at high temperature, season grill with olive oil rub down. Place veal chops on hottest spot (do not touch them) and let them sear for about 2 minutes; with metal spatula, lift chops and rotate 90 degrees clockwise and (do not touch them) let them sear once again for 2 minutes.
With the spatula, flip chops and repeat procedure on other side.
Once seared on both sides (dark amber brown), move the chops to a lesser temperature on the grill and continue cooking them for another 8-10 minutes, flipping them every 2-3 minutes. Chops should cook through, staying juicy and not well done and dry. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place chops on serving plate or platter, flipping them once again; ladle eggplant ragout on top and serve immediately.
Trick of the trade: Flipping chops back and forth once browned or seared allows juices to run back and forth, leaving steak or chop juicy and cooked to perfection.
FLIPPED OUT GORGONZOLA SOUFFLE
with a splash of cognac
1 stick of butter
1 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
10 egg yolks
10 egg whites
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
8 6 oz ramekins generously buttered and dusted in finely ground graham cracker crumbs
Bring milk to a boil and set aside. In medium size sauce pot, melt butter, add flour and mix until a smooth paste (Roux); cook while stirring for 30 seconds, add the hot milk; mix and toast on the burner while stirring for another 30 second. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool a little, add egg yolks one by one (an electric mixer is best used); add Gorgonzola, season with cayenne pepper and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peak; by hand, fold 1/3 of egg whites into Gorgonzola mixture until fully mixed, then gently fold in remaining egg whites. Divide mixture into pre buttered and crumbed ramekins, bake @ 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Once done, flip soufflé onto serving plate, serve immediately and generously drizzle cognac on top.
Jan Jorgensen is the owner-chef of Two Chefs Restaurant, located at 8287 So. Dixie Hwy., Miami. For more information, call 305-663-2100 or visit online at www.twochefsrestaurant.com
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