A mouthwatering cowboy steak

January 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Try a mouthwatering cowboy steak or oven chili roasted squid salad.

Nick Smith was on the Embarcadero in San Francisco at a hip, new restaurant. There was a big celebration for the grand opening of this Epic Roasthouse and Water Bar.


Oyster Ham Hock Stew
Yields: Stew for 12 bowls

    Oysters rank up there in my 10 most sexy things to cook and eat. This stew is one that embodies a special occasion. It is a luxurious soup often made at New Years and sometimes at Thanksgiving. There is an old myth in the south about eating oysters only in the months that have an "R" in them. The other months, May/ June/ July/ August generally are months of brutal heat and humidity. Maybe this is because during these Non "R" months the oysters tend to spawn and are generally harder to handle for freshness, or maybe it is too warm during these hot months to promote the kind of freshness that is associated with people after eating oysters.

    1 Large Smoked Ham Hock to shin. (If only knuckles are available use 2) have the butcher cut them in half on the saw.
    1/2 gallon Light Chicken Stock
    3 Tbsp. Olive oil
    3 Tbsp. Butter
    2-3 cloves Garlic smashed
    1 large Onion coarsely chopped
    ½ Jalapeno seeded
    1 small Yukon Gold Potato peeled and coarsely chopped
    1 bulb Fennel, coarsely chopped
    2 blades Celery coarsely chopped
    1 ea. Leek , use white only and clean carefully of sand
    1 Bay Leaf
    1 tsp. Kosher Salt
    ½ tsp. Toasted and Ground Cumin Seed
    ¼ tsp. Toasted and ground Coriander seed
    ½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
    ½ tsp. Ground White pepper
    2 cups White Wine
    5 cups Fish Fumet

    2 Tbs. Olive oil
    1 Small onion Peeled and finely diced
    2 Carrot peeled and finely diced
    ½ bulb Fennel finely diced
    30 Small oysters shucked and stored in their natural liquor
    2 tsp. Lemon juice
    1 bunch Chives sliced thin
    1 tsp. Chili oil

    Sauté the garnish vegetables in a small amount of olive oil. Place the ham hock into a sauce pot with the light chicken stock. Cover it and simmer until tender over low heat, approximately 1-1/2 hours. Add water as necessary to keep the hocks mostly covered with liquid. Turn the hocks occasionally to promote even cooking. The meat should be falling off of the bone when done. Cool the hocks reserve for later and reserve the delicious resulting liquid. When hocks are cool, pull the meat off of the bones and cut them into bite size garnish pieces. Reserve for later.

    In a hot 6 quart soup pot heat the oil then add the butter and allow it to bubble until the bubbling stops, add the cloves of garlic and allow it to soften until beginning to brown on the edges. Add the onions, and Jalapeno and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the potato, fennel, leek and celery. Cook gently until all veggies are softening.

    Add Bay leaf, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne and white pepper. Cook for 1 minute to release the oils from the spices. Add the white wine and cook it until nearly dry. Add the fish fumet and allow to reduce by about half. Add the Ham hock stock in now. Allow to simmer until all is tasting delicious. Remove the bay leaf and carefully puree the entire soup in a high speed blender. (A food processor will not do this job, use a blender). All of this work can be done in advance.

    Return the soup to a fresh soup pot, add the ham hock meat and return to gentle simmer. The stew wants to be slightly thick but what makes it especially sexy is that it not be too thick. If necessary add a small amount of stock too thin it.

    Just before you are ready to serve the stew. Remove it from the fire add the oysters with their liquor and allow them a minute or so, stirring occasionally, to cook just until they begin to curl. Divide the vegetable garnish amongst 12 hot bowls or one large soup terrine and pour the hot soup over it. Sprinkle the top chives and drizzle very small amounts of chili oil on top of the stew.

Cowboy Steak
Crushed Olive Oil Potatoes, Garlic Spinach and Tomatoes
Serves 2 people Generously

    1 ea. Bone - In Rib Eye Steak (approx, 36 oz.) - Frenched

    Spice Mix:
    1 Tbsp.Coarse Sea Salt
    1 tsp.Coarse ground Coriander Seed
    1 tsp. Coarse Ground Coffee Beans
    1 tsp.Coarse Ground Black Pepper Corns

    2 oz. Ex. Virgin Olive oil
    1.5 oz. Butter

    6 cups Loose packed fresh spinach
    1 head Garlic
    6-8 Creamer Yukon Gold Potatoes
    1 Bunch Chives cut small and even
    1 basket Asst.
    Toy box baby tomatoes (sw.100's, pear tomatoes, plum tomatoes...)
    2 med. Shallots finely diced
    1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
    ½ Jalapeno finely diced (no seeds)
    1 tsp.Chopped parsley
    1 tsp. Chopped Cilantro
    To taste salt and pepper

    Mix the spice mix together. Reserve. Rub the rib with 1 Tbs. Olive oil. Rub the spice mix on to the steak. Reserve.

    Toss the head of garlic in 1 Tbs. Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic in a foil bag. Place the garlic into a 300 degree oven for about 20 -30 minutes, until the garlic is softened. Chill in Refrigerator ½ hour. Carefully remove the garlic cloves from the skin trying to leave them in whole cloves. Place a 4 quart pot on the stove half full of salted water. (1 Tbs. salt / cup of water) Add the potatoes and cook in simmering water until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from water, discard water and reserve potatoes. Clean the stems from the tomatoes and cut the larger ones in half. In a Stainless steel bowl combine the tomatoes, shallots Vinegar, Jalapeno, 1 Tbs. Olive oil and Salt and pepper. Reserve in Refrigerator.
    All of the above preparation can be done as much as 6 hours prior to dining.

    Remove the steak from refrigeration 1 hour before cooking.

    In a large Cast Iron Skillet or Sauté pan heat 1 Tbs. Olive oil. When smoking hot sear the steak on all sides and move to 450 degree oven. Allow the steak to roast until its internal temperature is 100- 105 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove it from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Place the par cooked potatoes in the remaining fat of the steak pan and add 1 Tbs. Butter and 1 Tbs. Olive oil. Smash the potatoes with a fork just until broken up. Return the pan to the oven and roast the potatoes until golden brown turning them occasionally for about 10-15 minutes. Season them with Sea salt and several grinds of pepper. Push the potatoes all to one side in the pan and add 1 tbs. butter to the pan and all of the spinach, season the spinach with Salt and a few grinds of pepper. Turn the spinach in the pan so as to coat it with the fat. Add the garlic cloves to the spinach and place the steak back into the pan and return the pan to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until the meat just cooked to the temperature and color you like.

    Remove all from the oven. Return the steak to the cooling rack to rest. Keep the potatoes and spinach in a warm place. Allow the steak to rest on the rack for 10 minutes.

    Finishing and Plating:
    Add the chives to the potatoes and spoon them on to the 12 o'clock position of a hot platter. Spoon the spinach to nest against the potatoes. Remove the steak to a cutting board and slice 4-5 slices out of the eye of the Ribeye leaving some meat on the bone. Place the bone on to the spinach and lay the slices against the bone. Spoon the Tomato relish over the top of the steak where the bone meets the slices. Set the table with share plates at each place and place the feast in the center of the table with sharing utensils for all to enjoy family style.

    Great with Medium to heavy red wine or with a medium to intense beer.

Oven Chili Roasted Squid Salad
appetizer for 6

    1 lb. Cleaned Squid Tubes and Tentacles
    4 Tbsp. Olive oil
    1/2 ea. Jalapeno, sliced in rounds
    1/3 of 1 Habanera chili, minced fine
    4 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
    1 lemons Just the zest in 1/2 " julienne
    3 ea. Belgian Endive
    1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
    1 Tbsp. Honey
    1/2 Tbsp. Virgin Olive oil
    2 Tbsp. Butter
    3 oz. Lemon vinaigrette (see recipe)
    3 bu. Watercress trimmed of large stems
    1 head Frisee trimmed to the blanched center
    1 cup Cooked Beans
    ¾ cup Calamata and Picholine olives pitted and mixed

    Marinade the squid in the 2 Tbsp. of the Olive oil, chilies, garlic, lemon zest for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut the endives in half lengthwise. Place the cut up pieces of endive and the watercress in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Dress the endive halves in the red wine vinegar, honey and virgin oil. Allow to marinate for one hour. On a griddle or a saute pan over medium heat, caramelize the endive halves cut side down until they become very brown and sticky. Cook them at a high enough temperature that they color on the surface but stay rather raw inside. Refrigerate. Cut the cores out and slice them into 1-1/2" pieces.

    Place the greens in two batches evenly in 2 large stainless steel mixing bowls. Break the squid into two batched. Now bring a 14-18" saute pan up to heat add the remaining 1-1/2 TBS. of olive oil allow it to become smoking hot over high heat. Add one Tbs. butter and Carefully add the squid to the hot pan. Allow it to cook on one side until it is brown about 2-3 minutes. Toss the squid in the pan to cook it quickly on the other side another 2 minutes. Do not over cook. Remove from the heat and add about 1 cup of the beans, half of the olives and 3 Tbs. lemon vinaigrette to the hot squid in the pan. Quickly pour the squid over the watercress mixture in one of the mixing bowls, wilting the greens slightly. Scrape anything that sticks to the pan over the greens. Repeat quickly. Divide onto 6 warm plates and serve immediately.

Salmon Cakes

    6 cups Cream
    12 tsp Cayene
    1 tsp Tabasco
    3-4 Seeded Jalapeno
    1 brunoise red pepper
    1 brunoise Poblano Pepper
    1 brunoise Red Pepper
    1 brunoise Small Red onion
    1 tsp chopped garlic
    4 beaten eggs
    3 bunches Chopped chives
    1 bunch Chopped flat parsley
    ½ bunch Chopped Thyme
    2 bunches Chopped Tarragon
    4 teaspoons Kosher salt.
    Taste as you go as the salt in the salmon meat effects the outcome. Adjust to taste.
    1 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 3 cups Fresh white bread crumbs (if you use other kinds of crumbs use judgement. Even with fresh add as you go. Add half mix and allow to marry for 15 minutes as the the crumbs Bloom. Then add if needed. YOU DO NOT want the cakes to be too stiff. Neither do you want them to fall apart.

    Combine the cream, cayenne, Tabasco and jalapenos and reduce over low to med heat until reduced by half to 3 cups. Strain and Chill. Reserve.

    Quickly sweat the brunoise of veg. Leave them crispy. Mix all ingredients except the cream and bread crumbs. Mix gently with large rubber spat so as not to break up the salmon too much. Add the cream in parts to bind and slightly loosen the mixture. Use only as much as it takes to accomplish this. You can always add more. You can not take it out. Add the Crumbs half first and allow it to bloom for 15 minutes. Now adjust the cream and bread crumbs to get a sturdy but not dry mixture.

    Form cakes about 2.5 oz each. Dust in seasoned flour, then in Eggwash (whole eggs with a bit of milk) then dust in seasoned bread crumbs.

    Seasoned flour:
    8 cups AP flour
    ½ cup Kosher salt
    3 Tbs. Ground pepper
    1 tsp. Ground Cumin
    1 tsp. ground Coriander
    2 Tbs. Paprika

    Seasoned Bread crumbs:
    8 cups bread crumbs
    ¼ cup Kosher salt
    ¼ cup Ground pepper