Herb-Rubbed Steak with Peperonata

Dsc01612 We have another winner!  I served this recipe for dinner last night, and Eric told me that it was really good about 4 or 5 times.  If you’ve read some of my previous posts, then you’ll know that Eric’s standard food assessment terminology is "pretty good", whether he kind-of likes it or likes it quite a bit, so this usually leaves me a little lost.  The really good rating only happens when he absolutely loves something, as in last night’s meal.  So, this post might be another one for you to print out and hang on the refrigerator, place in your recipe file, etc., seeing as it has officially won the "ESOA" (that of course would be the coveted Eric Seal of Approval).

I think that this recipe went over so well because the seasonings are really pronounced and the flavors really pop.  The steak is coated in herbs and then marinated for several hours, allowing the seasonings to sink into the steak and tenderize it. The peperonata (pronounced pep-uh-roh-NAH-tah), is an Italian mixture of sweet onions and peppers slowly cooked in olive oil.  This version included some crushed red pepper for extra heat, and briny capers for a hint of tangy flavoring.  In addition to being served as a condiment, as in this recipe, peperonata can also be part of an antipasto platter or a great addition to am Italian sandwich.  Here are some tips for preparing sensational or "really good" steak:

  • The peperonata can be prepared two days in advance.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • I prepared this using top sirloin, however this recipe would be great with other types of steak, such as: flank, rib-eye, or tenderloin.  You can also pair the peperonata and spice rub with chicken, pork, or fish.
  • If you don’t have fresh oregano and thyme, then replace the 1 tablespoon amounts with 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.  The rule of thumb is always a 1:3 ration, dried vs. fresh.
  • The coarse salt really stands out in this recipe, but if you don’t have any, then replace it with regular kosher salt.  I recommend keeping a container of both coarse and fine salts in your pantry for when recipes call for them.
  • For a different presentation, wrap the steaks and the peperonata up in a tortilla, fajita style, with a dollop of sour cream.

Herb-Rubbed Steak with Peperonata

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Steak

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon course black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 top sirloin steak, about 3 pounds and 1 1/2-2 inches thick

Olive oil

Peperonata

3 tablespoons olive oilDsc01608

2 red onions, halved and sliced crosswise

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers in brine, drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Prepare spice rub:  Mix the thyme, oregano, pepper, and salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the spice rub evenly over both sides of the steak and pat to adhere.  Place the steak on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour prior to grilling.

Prepare peperonata:  Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix in the bell peppers and the crushed red pepper and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the peppers are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Stir in the red wine vinegar, capers, thyme, and oregano.  Increase the heat to medium and stir uncovered for 3-4 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.

Prepare a barbecue or grill pan over medium-high heat.  Drizzle both sides of the steak lightly with olive oil.  Grill steak to desired degree of doneness, about 8-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices and arrange on a platter with peperonata.

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