The weather had different plans. Beginning in the late morning and continuing until the present time, a string of rainshowers and thunderstorms came thumping through town. Grilling was out.
Tamara and I had our mouths set for steaks. I'd bought a couple of nice filet mignons already. I thought about the cast-iron grill pan, but it's tricky to clean and I have no shortage of housework.
So... We had bacon, the good, applewood-smoked stuff. I had some fresh Portobello mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus, which is the most common mushroom sold) and Tam had picked up a bag of dried chantrelles. I got the steaks out and salted and peppered them and left them on the back of the stove to come to room temperature.
Started the bacon in a good steel skillet, copper-bottomed Revere Ware that Mom gave me when she was no longer cooking, and let a couple of slices cook while the chantrelles were simmering in chicken broth in a small saucepan. I sliced the fresh mushrooms, fished out the bacon when it was nice and crunchy, put in one more slice and the fresh mushooms, and let it cook and build up some lovely stuff in the pan. That's important -- lacking smoky coals, you need to do something to add an extra layer to the flavor, and I don't mean shake another spice over the meat.
The timing worked out nicely -- when the fresh mushrooms were done enough to set on paper toweling with the bacon, the chantrelles in broth were about reconstituted and I used a a few tablespoons of the broth to deglaze the pan and dropped in my steak, butterflied, and slid it around in the pan juices. Over medium-low heat, it got five minutes to a side and a little more, and then I added Tam's steak, giving it two minutes each per four sides (it was a big block of steak!). That put hers at very rare and mine at medium rare; I set her steak on a plate in the oven over the pilot light to rest and added the fresh mushrooms back to the skillet, snipping the bacon and drained chantrelles into small pieces and stirring it all around.
Meanwhile, the broth got poured through a coffee filter to clarify it. Once I was happy with my steak (on the rare side of medium), I put it on a plate next to Tam's, poured the mushroom-chicken broth into the pan with the mushroom-bacon mixture, and deglazed and let it reduce a little.
Served by spooning the mushroom-bacon stuff over the steaks, and they really needed nothing else. Mine was a good a steak as I have ever made indoors, wonderfully tender and flavorful.
|TAMARA KEEL PHOTO|