How in the world did I come across a coulotte steak? Why didn’t I just buy a nice rib-eye and be done with it?
Well, the older I get the more of a chore I find shopping to be. Even grocery shopping. I used to love the grocery store. I’d make a list, cut the coupons, look for all the extra-special “double-deals” and make an afternoon of it.
However these days just the thought of gathering up all those re-usable bags makes my stomach churn in knots. Forget making a list– that’s gotten way too depressing.
But I’ve gotta eat, right? I’ve even got to eat steak every now and again, right? That means I’ve gotta shop for food, and steak. But I honestly hate it, so I developed a few tricks to help make the job less of a drudge. The first is the Farmers Market. I still enjoy walking down the hill to the Hollywood Farmers Market. Fresh food. Seasonal energy. Celebrity sightings. The Farmers Market is a once a week foodie excursion that never bores me.
Still, I live a fast-paced, big city life. There are a lot of staples that we in the big city need that aren’t available from a local farmer. A lot! You know things like ChapStick, compact florescent light-bulbs and Kit Kat bars. You can’t live a fast-paced, big city life without Kit Kat bars, and they don’t grow on trees so farmers can’t grow them and they’re not really kats, so hunters can’t shoot them.
All this means that I need to stop by some sort of grocery store once in a while. So, rather than resist, I now do just the opposite. I go to the store EVERY DAY. It just takes a few minutes to grab the few things I need for dinner (or score something for this blog) on a case by case basis. I know that seems odd. How can going to the store MORE help me deal with my shopping phobia?
Well. Partly because I fool myself just a bit. By not planning to go to the market, and by not making much more than a mental list, I can be 80% finished with the job before I remember how much I hate it. Besides it’s more of an “in the moment” exercise. Meaning my inner psyche can connect with the zen side of grocery shopping much more directly. And, it doesn’t take 4 hours.
Although I wonder sometimes if I pay more for what I buy. I never cut coupons or look for deals. I tend to go to specialty markets too, which are pricier. But the other side of the coin is this: when I go more often, I buy less. Which (I think) means that I waste less food. It seems there are fewer and fewer shocking alien sightings in the veg drawer, because my veg drawer is never so full that the carrots have time to grow black hairs and morph into aliens in the first place.
My last little trick is this: I try to buy things with which I’m unfamiliar. Instead of ALWAYS reaching for brands I know, or vegetables we love I force myself to try new things. In fact today’s Coulotte Steaks with Wine Braised Onion & Horseradish Breadcrumbs came about because I came across an unusual cut of steak at my Latin market recently. A coulotte. It’s a very small part of the sirloin. That’s why you don’t see it that often. I bought it because I thought coulotte was just another name for hangar steak– another small cut that is little seen in the big name grocery stores. But once I got it home I found out that was just not the case. Here’s what Coulotte Steak is:
Common names in it whole form:
- Sirloin Top Butt Cap
- Knuckle Cap
Common names in it steak form:
- Strip Steak
- A very versatile cut that can be prepared grilled as a cut steak, or roasted whole and carved. Has a rich, beefy flavor. Can be cubed for kabobs.
… and here’s what I did with it. GREG
- 1/2 c soft breadcrumbs made from day-old bread
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 3 T bottled horseradish, drained
- 2 t dijon mustard
- 1 pn each kosher salt & black pepper
- 2 one-and-a-half-inch-thick coulotte steaks (or hanger tenderloin, filet mignon, or new york strip steaks), 7 to 8 ounces each
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 t minced garlic
- 3/4 c red wine
Place the oven rack in the center position. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake until dry and toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a small, heavy skillet set over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs, horseradish, and mustard. Stir until the crumbs are well coated and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Season the steaks generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet or rimmed grill pan large enough to hold the steaks without crowding, heat the oil over high heat. When very hot but not yet smoking, add the steaks and brown them for 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more per side for rare to medium rare (internal temperature of 120 to 135 degrees). Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover them loosely with foil.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet or grill pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the liquid is reduced and syrupy and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the onion mixture around the steaks on the platter, sprinkle the steaks with the breadcrumbs and serve.
Adapted from ”The Complete Meat Cookbook”