A recent conversation with Chef Matt Arnold of WebsterHouse was just fun because I got him to talk about making something I’m pretty sure even I can do: skillet steak with sautéed garlic spinach. I’m going to talk you through this, just about the way he told me.
Get rib-eye, because the fat keeps it moist. One to 1½ inches thick, at room temperature (say at least ½ hour out of the refrigerator). Salt and pepper it – Chef Matt uses a rough grind on that pepper so it has lots of chunks. Olive oil to coat the cast iron skillet, heated to just before smoking. Sear the steak on one side, enough to create a crust, then flip it. He takes it out at medium rare, about 3-4 minutes per side – high heat the whole time.
In a separate fry pan over medium heat, more olive oil into which, once heated, you dump 2 or 3 decent sized garlic gloves, sliced as thinly as you can. Don’t let the garlic burn; you’re looking for golden here; throw in a nice pinch of chili flakes. Also, if you’d like to experiment a bit, add some butter and a cut up anchovy stirred until it basically dissolves. Throw in a couple handfuls of spinach, flash sauté it – the darker green it gets, the more you’ve cooked it – so don’t let it get too dark green. It needs to retain its crunch and heft.
When he’s tired, hungry and really doesn’t want to cook for himself, this is what he enjoys at home. And of course, he pairs it with a glass of Spanish or Italian very red. Sure beats a TV dinner!
P.S. On an entirely different note, Matt and I started out talking about grits and how he likes to make those – and they serve a fabulous shrimp and grits at Webster House. He says to buy them from Anson Mills, on-line at http://www.ansonmills.com/, because the quality is so discernably different from other brands. I’ve already ordered pencil cob grits, among others, despite not knowing what that means.
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