My Bloody Valentine: A Rare Steak Experience

The Perfect Sandwich

Okay, I’ll start by saying I know that eating beef is bad for the world. In fact, the Chef stopped cooking beef in our house (almost) entirely several years ago. According to an article in The Guardian, research shows “meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.”

So, even though I recognized this fact—beef is really bad—I felt the loss keenly at first. Whenever the Chef was out of town, I would take the kids to Shake Shack or Five Guys, both now in our neighborhood. But as time went on, I didn’t crave hamburgers anymore. In fact, they disgust me now. The same, however, does not apply to my cravings for a nice bloody, and bloody good, steak, a craving to which even the Chef has admitted. So on the two nights of the year when most couples go out and we stay in: New Years Eve and Valentines Day, the Chef cooks me steak. Well, let’s just say, he cooks me “the meal of my choice.” That choice, however, predictably is steak. We also have been known to eat steak when going to our favorite French restaurant, Tournesol in Long Island City, which works magic with hanger steak.

Anyway, this year my bloody valentine was a New York strip steak the Chef had procured from Whole Foods (i.e., Amazon Prime). So that, you, too, can indulge in a sexy sinful steak at least once a year, here are the Chef’s tips for cooking it to perfection:

  1. Heat cast iron pan (not enameled!) over high heat until your fire alarm is about to go off.

  2. Spread s little Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) over steak and put in pan.  

  3. Cook a few minutes until bottom is crusty and brown. Maybe about four minutes. Turn over and salt.  Cook til other side is brown. 

  4. Remove and let rest.  Cover with black pepper and pour EVOO over and salt if needed.  

Simple, right? But fear of a little blood keeps many a cook from producing a truly rare steak. The way the Chef does it, the middle is edging from rare to raw—what he likes—and the ends are a bright pink medium rare, what I like. And best of all, the next day I have enough to make a perfect steak sandwich. In fact, the perfect sandwich can sometimes eclipse the pleasure of the hot steak! I do heat up the slabs of steak in the microwave just for 15 seconds, so they are not ice cold. Put on Italian ciabatta, top with some perky arugula leaves, a little drizzle of EVOO, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and a slathering of mayo on the underside of the top of the ciabatta. Drool. Slice. Eat.

I just want to say that even a stalwart, vehement vegan like our friend and scientist Dr. Gidon Eshel, upon whose research the Guardian article was based (and whose work you can hear about in this video), cooks big slabs of beef for his teenage son. Sure, it’s bad for the environment, but I can’t helping see it as an act of parental love, just as the Chef’s bloody valentine is a profession of his love for me. If we keep that unprincipled love for RARE occasions, our beloved planet should not suffer (too much).