I first came up with this idea about a month ago. Ben and I stalk the meat sale bin at the grocery store. When you are really lucky you will find a great cut of steak for very inexpensive. For example: tonight’s dinner is 2 New York strips that were reduced to about $4.50 each instead of the original $9 each. I was very proud of Ben for that find. But when you get older steaks some times they can taste like it. The trick is to balance a nice flavor with still getting the essential beefy flavor of the meat. I believe that my recipe does that very well, both Ben and I agreed that we liked it better than the steaks we had at a fancy steakhouse the week before. Another beauty of this recipe is that it is very versitile. I will give you the basic recipe, and then you can add what ever the heck other spices that you like in it. For example, tonight is a lot of smoked paprika, some cayenne, some cumin and coriander. But you can do whatever you want in it to make it your own.
You are probably wondering about the name “rubenade”. It is something that I came up with to describe the texture and composition of the seasoning. There is a big debate out there, particularly among rib aficionados, about whether a wet marinade or a dry rub is better. The same goes for any other meat as well. Each type of flavoring gives a different texture and permeation to the meat. I have usually wet marinaded my steaks, but as my tastes become more sophisticated I have decided that I prefer to accent the flavor of the meat instead of overwhelm it with other flavors. So this is a combination of a rub and a marinade. The paste texture means that the flavors do not penetrate as deeply as the a liquid marinade would, and so it leaves space for the meat flavor. But the paste also means that the flavors permeate better than just a rub that sits on top of the meat, so you get a richer and more defined flavor.
This paste like marinade was inspired by the recipe for tandoori chicken in 1000 Indian Recipes. Tandoori marinades are a paste like this recipe. The first time I made tandoori I was surprised at the marinade and how it worked. But as we all know, it works great.
Since this recipe is very heavy on the onion (it is the base of the paste), today’s educational section is about onions. If you have never tried to grow them in your garden you should give it a shot. They don’t’ take up that much space, and are great for cooking. It’s also a ton of fun to pull them out of the ground. The big bulb on the end gives you a sense of accomplishment, even though it’s not very hard. They are also very easy to store. You just dry them in a sunny spot and then you can hang them until you need them.
The origin of the onion is debated. Some believe that wild varieties were found on every continent and were domesticated and cultivated by groups all over the world. Others believe that they originated (like so many other great foods) in Central Asia near Iran. Regardless, the ease of farming and storing these plants meant that they were used widely everywhere. There is hardly a culture that does not use onion it their dishes. As you know, another fine quality is that you can use it in so many ways. They can be cooked, raw, caramelized, powdered, dried, huge, small, red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in our sight (ok, maybe not black). Onions were so important to ancient Egyptians that archeologists have found gold sculptures of the plant. Their spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternity. The Greeks also used onions extensively, and when the Romans took over they imported the onion too. (That is more important than the gods, I think). Some say that gladiators rubbed themselves with onion juice to firm their muscles.
Onions are believed to have many medical properties along with being delicious. There are studies showing (to a greater or lesser extent) it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-cholesterol properties. As a general rule, the more pungent the onion, the better it is for you. The most pungent variety tested, the Western Yellow, successfully killed both kidney and liver cancer cells in tests. The only exception to the rule is shallots. These little onion relatives contain six times more health nutrients than a vadalia onion. So eat your onions and shallots, even if it makes you cry!
Easy Steak Rubenade (this is for 2 steaks, increase as necessary)
- 1/2 a large onion
- 5-6 large cloves of garlic, whole, but paper removed.
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- Cut your half an onion into quarters. Toss the onion in a food processor along with the garlic cloves and salt. Process until it is a paste texture. Take out the blade and mix in the sauces.
- Rub on both sides of the steak and let sit at least 1 hour, I usually do 2.
- Grill and enjoy!
You can add whatever seasonings you like to this to give it a different flavor each time. The easiest way to do it would be to cut out the salt above and add in a good amount of your favorite steak rub, like Montreal Steak Seasoning. You can also add other spices, I recommend the following (but maybe not all at the same time):
- Paprika (smoked is best)
- Chili Powder
- Lime juice
- Ground coffee beans
- Roughly cracked pepper
- Cayenne powder (or any other spicy powder)
- Curry powder
- Chinese 5 spice
- Whatever looks good