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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New York Strip with Whisky Herb Butter inspired by Moonstruck

Pan-Seared New York Strip with Whisky Herb Compound Butter inspired by Moonstruck for Food 'n Flix
This month's Food 'n Flix pick is an oldie, but a goodie. Moonstruck is another one of those movies that, at first glance, may not be considered a foodie flick. But go back and watch it a second time. The movie centers around an Italian family, and opens to the strains of That's Amore (which can't help but conjur up images of pizza pie and pasta "fazool"). Pay attention to the way the family gathers in the kitchen, and the way food is used as a way to show love and comfort.

One of my favorite lines comes when Loretta comes home late one evening and says to (her) pop "I got news". His reply? "All right, let's go to the kitchen."

So, our main character, Loretta, is a widow in her late-30's who becomes engaged to Johnny  after a salad and Manicotti at the Grand Ticino restaurant.

Rose (Loretta's mom) makes eggs in a nest with some roasted red peppers alongside the morning after Loretta gets engaged. I guarantee you'll wish you had a plate in front of you.

There's good old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast. There's sparkling wine (Prosecco?) with sugar cubes to toast an engagement "A la familia!". There's family tables set with pasta and veggies and wine. There's her uncle's Italian deli with salami hanging from the rafters and cheese in the display case.

There's also (and if you know me, you know I love this) the Cammareri Bros. Bakery with loaf after loaf of gorgeous golden bread lining the shelves and a basement with old-school woodburning stoves. This just so happens to be where Loretta meets Ronny, Johnny's angry-at-life-and-especially-Johnny little brother.
Pan-Seared New York Strip with Whisky Herb Compound Butter inspired by Moonstruck for Food 'n Flix
"What's life? They say bread is life. And I bake bread, bread, bread... Where's my life!?"

Now, obviously I'm leaving most of the movie out. The story follows not only Loretta, but the rest of her family, as well. She agrees to marry Johnny, and then proceeds to fall in love with Ronny. It's a believable comedy about love, family, and food, and they eccentricities and disfunction that come with them.

So, where did I get the inspiration for my dish? Well, from what is probably one of my favorite scenes. After Loretta listens to Ronny's boo-hoo rant in the bakery, she goes with him to his apartment so they can talk. Ronny fiddles with opera on the record player as Loretta brings him a cup of espresso. As she walks back into the kitchen...

Ronny: What's that smell?
Loretta: I'm making you a steak.
Ronny: I don't want it.
Loretta: You'll eat it.
Ronny: I like it well-done.
Loretta: You'll eat this one bloody to feed your blood.
scene from Moonstruck that inspired Pan-Seared New York Strip with Whisky Herb Compound Butter for Food 'n Flix
So Ronnie sits down to a steak cooked in a cast-iron skillet alongside some pasta. As he eats, he nods and says "this is good". They start talking about their losses, about luck, about their lives since they lost their significant others. Loretta asks Ronny if he thinks he's the only one who's ever shed a tear. He asks what she's talking about. Her reply...

You got any whisky? How 'bout you give me a glass of whisky.

So, steak, whisky, and sparks flying. What better scene to be inspired by? I decided that I wanted the steak and the whisky to come together the way Loretta and Ronny did, so after pan-searing a steak in a hot cast-iron skillet, I added a good pat of butter. Compound butter that has the whisky beaten right into it. As it sits on the steak, the heat melts it and it releases a wonderful smell under your nose and adds fat and flavor to the meat itself.

It's like love on a plate. That's amore.

Pan-Seared New York Strip w/ Whisky Herb Compound Butter
Simple pan-seared New York Strip served with a whisky herb butter on top.
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New York Strip with Whisky Herb Butter
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes (active), 30 minutes (inactive)
Cook Time: 6-8 minutes
Keywords: entree condiment soy-free sugar-free butter beef herbs whisk(e)y

Ingredients (serves 2, with extra butter)
    for the Whisky Herb Compound Butter:
    • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1.5 ounces Whisky
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 3-4 heaping tablespoons of freshly chopped herbs (tarragon, thyme, chives, parsley)
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 ground white pepper
    for the steaks:
    • 2 (8 ounce each) New York Strips
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • olive oil
    • Whisky Herb Compound Butter, to taste
    making the Whisky Herb Compound Butter:
    Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper.

    Beat all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well-combined. Scrape the butter into the center of the parchment paper, then use the paper to form the butter into a log. Twist the ends of the parchment paper together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm.

    making the steak:
    Let the steaks sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

    Set a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is smoking hot. While the skillet is heating, sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, then use your fingers to rub in the oil.

    Set the steaks into the smoking hot skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes on the other side. For steaks that are about an inch thick, I like to cook for 6 minutes total (rare to medium-rare); adjust to suit your tastes.

    Remove to a plate or tray and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

    Serve right away (after the 5 minute resting period) with a slice of the Whisky Herb Butter set on top of the steak.

    This makes a large log of compound butter (~8 ounces), but you can re-wrap it in parchment, then slide it into a zippered baggie, and store it in the fridge or freezer. Use to top not only steak, but veggies, potatoes, noodles, rice, or anything else you think it might taste good on!
    Pan-Seared New York Strip with Whisky Herb Compound Butter inspired by Moonstruck for Food 'n Flix
    Food 'n Flix club logo
    This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats with her pick, Moonstruck. Submissions are due by June 27, so you still have a couple of days to watch it, head into the kitchen and cook something inspired by it, and join us - the more the merrier!

    Speaking of joining us, grab your copy of Like Water For Chocolate now and be prepared for next month's pick hosted by Elizabeth at The Law Student's Cookbook!