Bright orange with black flecks, this purée puts the sweet, smoky taste of roasted pepper right on your rib eye steak. The cilantro and pine nuts add complexity and texture, but the secret ingredient here is a mild but flavorful hot sauce, such as Marie Sharp’s. I like some fingerling potatoes and a cold beer with my steak. The steaks can be grilled or panfried, your choice.–Cree LeFavour
Rib Eye Steak with Bell Pepper Purée and Pine Nuts
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Using your hands, coat the bell pepper halves with some of the olive oil.
Place both halves, skin side up, under your broiler or, if you’re grilling, skin side to the fire on the grill. Once it’s at least partly blackened, slice it up and put it in a food processor along with the remaining oil, the hot sauce, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Prepare the steaks by salting them, then let them come to room temperature. Rub with olive oil before cooking.
To grill, your coals should be so hot that you can comfortably keep your hand 2 inches above the grate for only 3 seconds — just! (For gas grills, this means 450°F [230°C].)
Put the oiled steaks on the hottest part of the grill and sear for 3 to 5 minutes on each side before you begin to fuss over them. That means moving the steaks to a cooler part of the grill and cooking for an additional 8 to 12 minutes over moderate heat, flipping, poking, and watching as you work toward crispy-brown perfection.
To pan fry, heat the peanut oil in a heavy pan until it’s very hot — almost smoking. Sear the steaks for 3 minutes on each side over high heat before turning down the burner. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, turning the steaks every few minutes as they slowly brown. For steaks more than 2 inches thick, you may want to finish cooking them by putting them, pan and all, in a 400°F (200°C) oven.
Check for doneness often, using an instant-read thermometer (120°F to 130°F [49°C to 54°C]) for rare to medium-rare), or the nick-and-peek method — i.e. make a small cut in the meat and take a look. Generously salt and pepper each steak before resting them in a warming oven (170°F/76°C) or on a warm plate under a loose tent of foil for 5 minutes.
Chop the cilantro leaves and toast the nuts in a small cast-iron pan or in the oven. They should be just beginning to color and become fragrant. Put the steaks on warm plates with some of the vivid orange purée on top. The cilantro leaves can be casually strewn about along with a generous pinch of pine nuts. A few potatoes and the plate is ready.
Rib Eye Steak with Bell Pepper Purée and Pine Nuts Recipe © 2008 Cree LeFavour. Photo © 2008 Penny De Los Santos. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.