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What do collard greens and carne asada have in common?

November 25, 2009

We are off to San Francisco for the Thanksgiving holiday.  San Francisco is where I fell in love with my wife, got married and had our children. It is also the city that holds all the greatest food memories for me. We do this trip every year. I look so forward to having the kids trapped in the car for six hours each way so that we can enjoy some quality time together talking about which restaurants we will go to and what friends we are going to see.  Lots of laughs.

We want to clean out the refrigerator before we leave. I open it up and I have some collard greens from the farmers market and a small piece of beautiful, thick skirt steak (classic carne asada meat but this one was thick) I can taste the full mouth-watering, slightly chewy, beef flavor of this cut just by looking at it. I have a lemon and a few cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter. Steak salad it is. Collard greens are full bodied “headless” cabbages that almost eat like steak themselves. Although often times boiled for hours I love the full flavor and texture they have when sautéed.  I wanted to tame them as to not intimate the proud steak. I decided to do a one pan wilted steak salad. Large sauté pan, high heat. I sautéed the steak on one side of the pan while wilting the greens on the other side. The timing was perfect. It took three batches to finish the greens (as to not overcrowd the pan and create steam for the steak). I sautéed the tomatoes briefly when the greens were done. The steak had a thick, deep brown crust. I flipped it over and cooked it for just a minute more. I like to cook one side of anything longer than the other side. This way you get a thick crust and great color without overcooking the meat/fish.

The oil from the sautéing plus the fresh squeeze of lemon over the top was a natural dressing. I shaved some slices of Parmesan over the top and sliced the steak on the bias. (After letting it rest for ten minutes, crucial to achieve tender, juicy meat).

It was so rewarding to taste in the first bite what I “mind-tasted” when cooking it. I got the rich, chewy flavor of the meat. Crispy on the outside and tender, juicy on the inside. The collard greens still had great body and that lovely rustic, earthy flavor but had wilted into submission under the heat. The fresh lemon juice brought the perfect balance and the Parmesan provided the liaison of salt and nuttiness for the next bite. Simple, hearty and tasty. Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving to you! Check back on Monday for a re-cap of the holiday food fest!

Eat Well, Enjoy life, Be happy

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