I'm a bit sick today but decided I was going to be a regular Typhoid Mary and pull off dinner anyhow. Tonight: strip steaks, broccolini, roasted fingerling potatoes, and rolls.
Everything came out pretty good. It's hard for me to judge the quality of the steaks since I have to make them well done and can't use any pepper (because of the pregnant wife), but I think it came out about as good as I'm going to get. I used a grill pan with those for the first time and the duh moment of the evening was when I put a slab of butter between my two steaks...which immediately got stuck between the two steaks because of the raised parts of the grill pan. So, I had to lift the steaks to get butter under them.
The potatoes came out better than the last time and I think my initial intuitions about the recipe were more or less on. I used a smaller pan, crushed the garlic, and let the herbs sit in the oil for a bit to give it a little more flavor. Next time, I'll probably go ahead and chop the herbs (or at least crush/bruise/tear them a bit). I'm also considering halving the potatoes (both lengthwise and in quanitity because "a whole bag" makes twice as many as we eat right now).
But, the big accomplishment was the slightly overcooked broccolini. All I did is blanche them correctly and they came out wonderful. Here's more or less what correctly seems to mean (minus the cooking time which I mildly missed):
- Get a good rolling boil in a lot of water in a large pot.
- Salt the heck out of the water. Good old Thomas Keller recommended about a cup of salt per gallon of water. I just eyeballed what I thought was appropriate.
- Put the vegetables into the water a handful at a time. Ideally, you'd do small batches. I don't have time for that, so I just add them slowly. The idea is that you don't want to drop the temperature of the water too quickly.
- After a few minutes of cooking, depending on the vegetable, pull one out and taste it. Start a litte before you think it'll be ready. When they're ready, kill the heat and put them into an ice bath.
- Only leave them in the ice bath long enough to cool off. You're just trying to abruptly stop the cooking process. Transfer them to a drying rack with some paper towels underneath.
The biggest thing I got right was the salt. It made an incredible difference in the flavor.