Friday, October 23, 2009

Steak and Onion Rings

The cool thing about being a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher is that you get to participate in their Tastemaker program. In other words, they will send you samples of food, gadgets, etc. for you to try out and write about on your blog. Imagine my delight when I got my very first package--a box with Emeril's Steak Rub, Essence of Emeril and Beef Stock.

I decided that my first entry would be a recipe (well, two actually) that I had been dying to try since I first started my blog. On a rare Saturday off last fall, I was lounging on the couch channel-surfing and stumbled upon Barefoot Contessa. I had never watched Ina Garten before, but I was instantly intrigued by her show. That day, she was making Steakhouse Steaks with Cornmeal Onion Rings and Sauted Wild Mushrooms. Love at first sight.

I decided to take her steak and onion ring recipes and tweak them a bit, adding Emeril's steak rub and Essence of Emeril seasoning. They turned out pretty good--considering that I have never cooked steak or onion rings before. The steaks were definitely too salty, but still good. I'm sure that adding the steak rub added some salt. However, I absolutely LOVED the addition of Essence of Emeril to the onion rings. It gave them a nice little kick that was just delish!

Steakhouse Steaks
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
Episode: Steaks and Sides


2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon fleur de sel

1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon Emeril's Steak Rub
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, optional


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. Combine the fleur de sel, cracked pepper and Emeril's Steak Rub on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

When the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

Top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, if using, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer. (To test the steaks, insert the thermometer sideways to be sure you're actually testing the middle of the steak.)

Remove the steaks to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings

adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
Episode: Steaks and Sides


2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
2 cups buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Essence of Emeril, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
1 quart vegetable oil

Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon Essence of Emeril in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon Essence of Emeril. Set aside.

When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot will help you maintain the proper temperature). Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remain crisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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