T-Bone Steak With Virgin Sunflower Oil & Heirloom Potatoes
by Alan Bergo, The Salt Cellar, St. Paul, Minnesota
For the first five years of my professional cooking career, I worked under three different chefs from Italy, so Italian technique has deeply influenced my food. A large T-bone steak always reminds of the gigantic, three-fingers-thick, Tuscan bistecca Florentina, which is usually grilled and simply doused with olive oil. Here at the restaurant I serve it with an herb-infused virgin sunflower oil, which I consider to be the olive oil of the Midwest.
- 1 Certified Piedmontese T-bone steak
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon high-heat oil, like grapeseed
- Sunflower sprouts, to garnish (optional)
- Wedges of fresh lemon, for serving
- 1 cup virgin sunflower oil, such as Smude’s
- 1 (1-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
For the infused oil: Gently heat the oil, herbs, and garlic in a small saucepot until simmering. When the oil comes to a simmer, immediately remove it from the heat, add the crushed red pepper, and chill to infuse (preferably overnight) then strain.
For the steak: Heat a grill (preferably charcoal) until the embers are glowing. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper, then rub lightly with the teaspoon of the oil. Grill the steak until medium-rare, flipping only once. Allow the steak to rest in a warm place (such as a preheated oven) for 5 to 7 minutes.
To serve the T-bone steak: Remove the tenderloin and strip loin portions of the steak from the bone with a sharp carving knife, then slice on the bias and put back next to the bone on a preheated dinner plate. Drizzle ¼ cup of the oil over the steak, garnish with the sunflower sprouts, and serve with the Heirloom Potatoes (recipe follows) and lemon wedges on the side.
- ½ pound heirloom potatoes (or substitute baby potatoes)
- Kosher salt, as needed
- 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons rendered beef fat
- *Heirloom potatoes (like other heirloom fruits and vegetables) are grown from seeds that have been passed down for generations. They often boast unique colors and textures. Look for them in the produce aisle.
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Add the potatoes whole to the water and simmer until just tender. Remove the potatoes and cool, then cut into even 2-inch wedges or quarters.
Heat the rendered beef fat in a pan until lightly smoking. Add the potatoes, cut side down, and sear until golden on each side, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. When the potatoes are caramelized and hot throughout, add the thyme, butter, and garlic clove to the pan and cook for two minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon to avoid excess fat. Serve immediately.