What I came up with rocked the evening. Thinly sliced potatoes prepared in a unique and tasty way, topped with a simple arugula salad with lemon and olive oil and finally a marinated then charcoal fired skirt steak cut into perfect strips. You could serve this to 6 guests and spend maybe 25 bucks. That seems like a recession proof meal to me.
I arranged the potatoes into circles on the bottom of a pan, seasoned, added a touch of garlic and olive oil and topped with a few small dollops of bacon fat (don't throw your bacon drippings away people!). If you plan on living longer that I do, you can certainly omit the bacon fat I guess. Into a hot oven for about 12 minutes and what comes out has a crisp outer edge, like a well seasoned chip, and a soft buttery center. For the salad, I drizzled just a touch of lemon and olive oil on the arugula and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper and that's it. No fuss. Peppery Arugula with the acidic bite of the lemon gave a nice balance to the very mild and delicate flavor of the potato.
The steak marinated in an Asian bath of soy, sesame oil and honey for a couple of hours then met its fate on a hot grill. Adequately seared and subsequently rested, I cut this into strips and served it atop the arugula and potatoes. The juices of the steak were so perfectly preserved in the searing process that you'd have thought I dipped the strips in butter before plating. Rich and tasty, there was no hint of the toughness that could be found in an undermarinated piece of skirt steak. While I used a grill outdoors, pan searing would also make a nice steak.
Seriously, your friends will think you spent far more on this meal than you did.
Check out this and other recipes at http://louislovesfood.blogspot.com
Grilled Asian Skirt Steak with Arugula Salad and Garlic Potato Rounds
For the steak
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 lbs skirt steak
Place ALL ingredients in a plastic zip bag and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Allow 30 minutes at room temperature before grilling. Sear meat on a hot grill for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness of the meat) for medium rare. Remove and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Slice meat on a bias against the grain just before serving.
For the potatoes
On my blog, I detail in photos how to prepare the potatoes
2-3 Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
1-2 tbsp bacon fat at room temperature or lard (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
To thinly slice, I use a mandolin. On a baking sheet arrange the potatoes into a circle overlapping the edges. Make 6-8 of these (one per person). Season with the salt and pepper and arrange a few thin slices of garlic onto the potatoes. Drizzle with a bit of the olive oil. Arrange another circle of potatoes atop 1st layer. Place a few of the dollops of bacon fat or lard atop. Place in a 375 degree oven for 12-13 minutes or until edges become golden brown.
For the Salad
2-3 cups arugula
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Gently toss all ingredients together.
To serve, place one of the potato rounds on the bottom of each plate, top with about 1/3 cup of the arugula salad then arrange the sliced meat on the salad.