It’s Friday and my boyfriend and I wanted to do something a little more fun than a usual weeknight, we had a stay-in steak date night. We live in a Jersey City, a foodie’s paradise, but when we go out for food like steak we often find ourselves thinking that we could do it cheaper and better (in that we can cook and season things exactly how we like them) at home. This is especially true with steak since the acquisition of our immersion circulator, which lets us employ the same technique that many restaurants use, where you sous vide the steak to the temperature you want and then quickly finish it with heat to get a crust. My cast iron pan handed down from G. Mom (my grandmother) doesn’t produce quite the same crust that a restaurant’s salamander broiler would, but it still turns out a delicious steak. Dinner tonight was a team effort – James cooked the protein and I made the side. For the protein, James vacuum sealed a porterhouse steak, then used our immersion circulator to sous vide it for about an hour at 125F degrees. Once my side dish was almost done cooking, he seasoned it with some kosher salt and briefly seared it off in a blazing hot cast iron pan with a little corn oil, just until brown on each side.
For the side dish, I made a steakhouse creamed spinach-inspired creamed rainbow chard and spinach. I used:
- Two very thick pieces of diced slab pancetta (I was able to get some amazing slices from the deli section at Eataly on my way home, but you it would be fine to use slies of rolled kind, the already diced kind from the store, or even just thick bacon)
- One large shallot, minced
- Two cloves of garlic, pressed (minced would be fine too)
- Two bunches of rainbow chard, chopped and stems and thick spines separated from the leaves
- About a pound of fresh baby spinach
- About a cup of heavy cream
- Two tablespoons of butter
- About half a cup (maybe more) of grated grana padano cheese (this was just what I had leftover in the fridge, parmesan would be good too)
This made more than enough for two people – probably four servings, or even more if you are serving other sides.
I started by cooking the diced pancetta in a large sauté pan until crispy, then added the shallot and cooked for a few minutes, until soft. I stirred in the garlic for a minute or two, then added the chopped stems and spines of the rainbow chard, to give them a head start on the leaves, which cook faster. I cooked for two or three minutes, then added the rainbow chard leaves. I stirred everything around and gave that two or three more minutes, then added the spinach. Once all the leaves were wilted, I added the cream, butter, and cheese. I let everything melt together, come to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken up before serving. There was still a lot of liquid left in the pan, so I just used tongs to pull the greens out; you could let it cook down even more if you wanted, and serve in a bowl if you want a little more of the sauce with the greens.