Tuesday, July 30, 2013

surf and turf

Did you know that every 4 years, February 29th marks National Surf and Turf Day? And that the first surf/turf meal served was in the Seattle Space Needle’s restaurant, Sky City, during the 1962 World’s Fair. The dish came to be known as a symbol of conspicuous consumption - the 'hedonistic extravagance' of the two most expensive food items on a single plate. How American is that. Go big or go home.

Surf and turf, traditionally, is lobster tail and filet mignon. But we can be creative with the shellfish (prawns, scallops, abalone, clams, all kinds of fish) and choice of protein. Whatever your pleasure. Having said that, lobster was on sale at the grocery store, and I had a dinosaur bone broken down, so screw creativity. Lobster and rib steak baby, on charcoal burning bright and red.

The lobster

You give the lobster a good, Christian death before cutting it up. There's a cross on the head, just behind the crown. Point your knife where the cross meets and in one swift motion, put the knife through the head. Cut the lobster lengthwise, and over very hot coals, lay the meat side down first for no more than 30 seconds to slightly char it. Then cook the rest on the shell, drizzling some olive oil on. It will bubble, it will hiss, and it will smell divine. Season with sea salt and dig the meat out of the tail for the most amazingly savoury, tender, smoky lobster.

The rib steak

For the rib steak, I wanted to try something different, owing to the high quality of the Canada Prime beef we had for the night. Season well beforehand - a few hours at least, to let the salt draw out the moisture from the beef and reintegrate back into the steak, seasoning it all the way through. That part is key. I also rubbed in a bit of olive oil, peperoncino, and thyme. On a low charcoal burn, place the meat off the heat first, flipping regularly. You don't want to colour the meat - just cook it until it's above rare.

Then, start fanning the charcoal until it burns red hot and sear the beef really hard until you develop a crust. Make sure you keep checking to make sure it doesn't over cook - it's so easy to do so when your grill is spewing hell flames. As soon as it hits past rare, take it off and rest it on a rack. Residual heat will cook it to a perfect pink.

As is always the case, the simple things give the greatest pleasure. Lobster and beef, as hideously self-indulgent as it is, is just so damn good. 


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